Benny and Lauri Markkanen's pregame handshake.

Chuck's Daily Check In 1.30.18

Chuck Checks In On The Bulls, And Previews The Upcoming Three-Game Road Trip

BULLS UPDATE: After lackluster starts against the Lakers and Bucks respectively, the Bulls went through a Monday afternoon practice with the goal of regaining its competitive passion on defense and the intent of generating the pace, space and shot selection. Coach Hoiberg continues to encourage his ball club to run in transition when fast break opportunities exist, and not kill the clock when quick but accurate passes are needed to throw defenses off. Coach Hoiberg says Kris Dunn has been cleared to work out on an exercise bike, and will travel with the team for upcoming road games in Portland, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

On the radar very much for the Bulls, but under the radar by many, has been the play of Bobby Portis, David Nwaba, and Denzel Valentine. Their contributions have been outstanding.

GAMES THIS WEEK:

Wednesday at Portland: The Blazers play tonight against the Clippers in Los Angeles. Portland is five games over .500. The Blazers have won seven-straight at home. Portland beat the Bulls in OT on January 1st.

Saturday in Los Angeles against the Clippers: Nothing really going on in Clipper Nation, is there? The Clippers on the outside looking in for a playoff spot, as they have been hit hard with injuries the first half of the season. The Clippers currently stand a game over .500. Lou Williams has recorded four 40-point games this seasons; the leader is James Harden with six. The only other Clipper with a 40 point and 10 assists game was Chris Paul, now with Houston.

Monday at Sacramento: The Kings post the third-worst record in the NBA. No one was predicting an NBA title; no one was predicting the 2017-18 season to be this bad either. De’Aaron Fox, though, is going to be sensational.

NBA NEWS AND NOTES

ESPN is reporting a blockbuster trade: Willie Reed, Brice Johnson and oh yea, Blake Griffin are headed to Motown for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic and a first and second round pick. Pretty safe to assume this is just the beginning for LAC. Lou Williams and DeAndre Jordan (expected to invoke the player opt-out clause) are free agents at the end of the season, and one or both could be gone by the February 8 deadline. LAC is looking at the pattern of other clubs in a rebuilding mode and could be headed down that path.

In the off-season, Griffin signed a 5-year, 171 million dollar contract but did not receive a no trade clause. This is a risk/reward for the Pistons boss Stan Van Gundy. The risk is Griffin’s health. He simply can’t stay on the floor. The reward is Detroit is getting a star in the prime of his career. It’s ton of money to take on for the Pistons, but Van Gundy knows he needs to get his franchise turned around in a hurry. No rebuild here. The combination of Griffin, Andre Drummond, and Reggie Jackson will earn a combined 75 million next season. CCI says the winner is (drumroll please)——short term: Detroit. Long term:LAC. I’m going with the Clippers.

Jaylen Brown with a corner three on a draw and kick from Al Horford lifted Boston past Denver 111-110.

The Hawks beat Minnesota, as Kent Bazemore poured in 22 in a 105-100 win.

The Hornets fell to nine games under .500, losing at Indiana 105-96.

An impressive back-to-back for the Bucks. After taking care of business in Chicago, the Bucks entertained and beat the 76ers 107-95. Joel Embiid sat this one out, but Giannis took control with a 31-18-6 game. Milwaukee now 4-0 under interim Head Coach Joe Prunty.

Phoenix lost its fifth-straight, as Memphis wins 120-109.

The Heat are now five games over .500 on the road. 95-88 winners over Dallas. Mavs fall to 16-35.

Washington’s John Wall is headed to Cleveland, not in a trade but to have a doctor check on his knee.

Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker has been cleared to resume playing Friday, after suffering his second ACL injury nearly a year ago.

Thanks for reading CCI. Email me at cswirsky@bulls.com or Twitter: @ctsbulls.

Always a pleasure!

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