Chuck's Daily Check In 2.12.18

Chuck Checks In On The Bulls, And Previews Tonight's Game Against the Magic

GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER: Orlando (18-37, 7-22 on the road) at Bulls (19-36, 12-15 at home) 7PM tipoff.

TV: WGN TV: Neil Funk and Stacey King: 7PM CT tipoff.
RADIO: 670 The Score: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington and Steve Kashul. 6:45CT pre.

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 17ppg. Orlando: Gordon: 18ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 7. Orlando: Vucevic: 9.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 6. Orlando: Mack: 3.

SEASON SERIES: Bulls 2-0 lead.

November 3 at Orlando: Bulls 105 Magic 83. The Bulls trailed at intermission, but exploded for 61 second-half points. Seven double-figure scorers for the Bulls. Robin Lopez with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

December 20 at the United Center: Bulls 112 Orlando 94. Denzel Valentine with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Bulls led by as many as 30 points in the fourth quarter.

CCI 24 SECONDS COMMENTARY: Orlando is headed back to the lottery. Magic fans were hoping 2017-18 would be a season of just that, "hope," and perhaps squeeze their way in the playoffs, but after a nice 8-4 start, the wheels came off. The well- respected front office of Jeff Weltman and John Hammond, along with veteran Coach Frank Vogel, have a lot of heavy lifting to do in the off season.

The Magic saw their mini three-game win streak end on Saturday by losing to the Bucks. Orlando has been decimated with injuries to key players such as Vucevic, Isaac, Ross and Gordon. Fournier has missed eight games this season. Orlando’s patience was tested with Elfrid Payton, and the new brass decided they’ve seen enough of the former lottery pick, who struggled with his shot and spotty defense. He was sent packing to Phoenix for a second-round pick. Former Bull, D.J. Augustin has the keys to the car and is expected to be the starting point guard for the rest of the season.

Zach LaVine is expected to return to the floor tonight after sitting out the Washington game on Saturday. He’s averaging 26 points over the last four games. Kris Dunn will miss the ballgame. Cam Payne continues to prepare himself for NBA action by playing in the G League.

The Bulls need to remain focused with two games left prior to the All Star break.

NBA NEWS AND NOTES

Paul Pierce sat comfortably on the baseline with fellow former Celtics’ Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, but the current Celtics could have used him on the floor, not seeing him hoist his #34 jersey in the rafters. The new-look Cavs, playing with energy, enthusiasm and effort, whipped the slumping Celtics, 121-99. Boston has lost three out of its last four games. This is a small sample size, but the Cavaliers have become more athletic and amped. The EC is wide open with the Raps, Cavs and Boston, although I still have my doubts with the Celtics.

Victor Oladipo is having a remarkable year, and he is doing it all for the Pacers. On Sunday against the Knicks, digest these numbers over your eggs and bacon (turkey bacon of course): 30 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, and 6 steals. Indiana 121 NY 113.

Congratulations to the very classy Dwane Casey, who reached 300 wins as head coach of the Raps. The Raptors have the mojo going as they demolished Charlotte 123-103. Great stat from Josh Lewenberg: Raptors average margin of victory during their 5-game win streak - +21.0 points. Number of 4th quarter minutes Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas have totaled in those games - ZERO.

Blake Griffin with 23-7-6, but went 7 of 21 from the field (3-10 3-pointers) and was a -21 on the floor, as the Pistons lost in Atlanta, 118-115. Atlanta’s Dewayne Dedmon, making only his second start in his last 18 games, scored a career high 20 points.

Who wins Rookie of the Year? Donovan Mitchell or Ben Simmons? Mitchell and the Jazz extended their win streak to nine games, snapping Portland’s nine-game home win streak, 115-96.

Houston won its eighth straight, 104-97 over Dallas.

Minnesota won its 13th straight home game, holding off the Kings, 111-106.

No Westbrook, no Anthony (ankle injuries to both), no problem. OKC 110 Memphis 92. George with 33.

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

Always a pleasure!

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