GAME NIGHT FROM DALLAS:
Bulls (13-23, 6-10 on the road) at Dallas (22-13, 10-8 at home)
TV: NBCSC: Neil Funk and Stacey King. 7:30
RADIO: 670 The Score. Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, and David Schuster. 7:15 CT pre.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 23 ppg. Dallas: Doncic: 29ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Carter: 10 per. Dallas: Doncic: 9 per
LEADING ASSISTS: Satoransky: 5 per. Dallas: Doncic: Nearly 9 per.
PREVIEW: The Bulls hit the road for two quick contests in a three-day span as they travel to Dallas and New Orleans respectively.
The Bulls have dropped three straight and four of their last five games. The inability to close out games has been an Achilles all season long. The Bulls have struggled as well in the third quarter.
Lauri Markkanen is listed as "doubtful" on the NBA injury report after suffering a left ankle sprain on Saturday. Kristaps Porzingis is out for Dallas.
Kris Dunn continues to have a tremendous defensive presence as a lockdown defender. He gets after it every night. That's right, EVERY night. It doesn't matter if it's against a journeyman guard or All-Star caliber players. Dunn will get in a players' "grill" and make life miserable. He takes a great deal of pride in his profession and truly loves the competition. I expect him to match up with budding superstar Luka Doncic.
Doncic has arrived. He is a big-time star. He is a generational talent. He's Magic Johnson 2.0. High praise but it's true. He is a truly remarkable talent as he leads the Mavs in scoring, rebounding, and assists. He's third in the NBA in scoring at 29 points per game and is third in the Association in assists averaging nearly nine per game. His ten triple-doubles already this season is a new franchise record for most in a single season. After the first week of fan balloting for the All-Star Game in Chicago, Doncic leads Giannis Antetokounmpo by 599 votes for the top spot. His Head Coach Rick Carlisle is concerned about Doncic's durability because of overly aggressive defenders. A subtle message to NBA officials, of course. Carlisle is an intelligent man who is headed to the Hall of Fame one day. He's planting the "seed" via the media to the NBA protecting his player.
More on Doncic:
At age 20, he is the youngest player in NBA history to record multiple 30-point/15-assist games in a season. The previous youngest was Michael Jordan in 1984-85: Jordan was 21 years old for his first such game and 22 years old for his second.
This is a great opportunity for the Bulls as they meet a Mavs team that will be in a testy mood after falling at home to the Hornets in OT on Saturday. The Bulls just need a win. Period.
24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES:
Los Angeles Lakers 106, Detroit 99: Ready for this stat, CCI fans? The Lakers blocked 20 shots, eight by Anthony Davis. 20. The mark was the highest of any team since March 2001. For you trivia fans, the Lakers franchise record in a game is 21. Talk about protecting the paint! The Pistons have lost nine of 11.
Miami 122, Portland 111: Goran Dragic drilled seven three-pointers. Bam Adebayo went 9 of 10 from the field. Miami improved to 17-1 at home.
Los Angeles Clippers 135, New York 132: After surrendering 140 points in a loss to Memphis, LAC gave up 132 to the Knicks, yet won the game. Montrezl Harrell scored 34 points. Marcus Morris had 38 for the Knicks.
Minnesota 118, Cleveland 103: Minnesota blew a 25 point lead but had enough to beat the Cavs who played without Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. Cavs rookie Kevin Porter Jr. suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury. Karl-Anthony Towns missed his 10th straight game with a sprained left knee.
Memphis 121, Phoenix 114: Another sensational scoring night for the Suns' Devin Booker who poured in 40. Memphis improved to 4-2 on the second night of a back to back. The Grizzlies are 10-9 since December 1. A shout out to my guy Frank Kaminsky who will miss at least the next four weeks with a knee injury.
Always a pleasure.