GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER:
Denver (38-33, 11-23 on the road) at Bulls (24-46, 15-20 at home).
TV: NBC Sports Chicago: Neil Funk and Stacey King. 7PM CT tipoff.
RADIO: 670 The Score: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, Steve Kashul. 6:45 CT pre.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 16ppg. Denver: Harris: 17ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 7. Denver: Jokic: 10.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 6. Denver: Jokic 6.
LAST MEETING: November 30, 2017 in Denver. Nuggets 111 Bulls 110. Will Barton went off scoring a career-high 37 stepping up his game when Nikola Jokic left with a sprained ankle. Barton’s lay up with 3.2 seconds left crushed the will and spirit of the Bulls who fought for a full 48 minutes.
CCI 24 SECONDS COMMENTARY: Meet the NBA’s most underrated player: Nikola Jokic. 6-10, third year player from Serbia. He’s averaging career-highs in points (17) and rebounds (10). He has 31 double-doubles and 8 triple-doubles. He’s a gifted passer and has 49 blocks on the season. I am huge fan and enjoy watching him play. He brings joy and passion to the sport and as you know I love those qualities in a player, especially a really good player who doesn’t showcase “fake” hustle. His defense could improve but you can say that about 90 percent of players.
I’m a big fan of guard Jamal Murray. This kid, and he is a kid at 21, is going to be a very special player. Will Barton can score in bunches. Gary Harris who is really coming in to his own as a top NBA player is sidelined with a knee issue. Paul Millsap playing though pain after returning 11 games ago from wrist surgery.
Will Denver make the playoffs? The Western Conference is up for grabs. The seeding changes nightly. The Nuggets are currently the ninth seed with 33 losses. The fourth seeded OKC Thunder have 30 losses. If you have a great week you can move up in a hurry. If the elevator ride takes you the other way, good luck to you.
I have absolutely no problem with the Bulls playing their inexperienced players at all. Like zero. This isn’t a pre season game. Management and the coaching staff need to find out what they have and how they handle the nightly grind of NBA ball. The Bulls have 12 games left and to EVERY player regardless if they’re a seasoned veteran or a two way talent, you must make the most of your opportunity. Kris Dunn will be sidelined once again with a toe issue. We will get an update on other players after the team’s shoot around. I will post on my Twitter account @ctsbulls.
NBA NEWS AND NOTES:
James Harden will win the MVP. Book it. Captain Obvious agrees! Harden with 42 points as the Rockets on the road improve to a league best 57-14, snapping Portland’s 13 game win streak 115-111.
The Hawks stunned the Jazz in SLC 99-94 ending Utah’s nine game win streak. Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 41, 17 in the 4th quarter.
Boston 100 OKC 99. Melo misses free throws. Marcus Morris nails a 3 with 1.2 seconds left. Westbrook’s game winning attempt is short and the Celtics without Kyrie win. Jayon Tatum recorded his first 20-10 game. (23-11) Irving hasn’t played since March 11. He will seek a second opinion on his knee and will not accompany the Celtics on their upcoming road trip.
Minnesota 123 LAC 109. The Clippers have dropped four straight. KAT with a 30/10 game. My guy, Jamal Crawford scored 20 points on his birthday. Derrick Rose listed day to day with an ankle issue.
NOLA 115 Dallas 108. Anthony Davis with another A.D. game: 37-8-2 game but Rajon Rondo crushed the Mavs with a ridiculous line of 19 points, 9 rebounds and 14 assists.
Toronto 93 Orlando 86. The Magic shot 3 of 19 in the 4th quarter. Not good. Another win for the Raps. Another loss for the Magic. Toronto sets a franchise record winning its ninth straight on the road.
Detroit 115 Phoenix 88. The Suns ninth straight loss.
Always a pleasure!