Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets goes to the basket against the Chicago Bulls on February 28, 2017 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Chuck's Daily Check In 11.30.17

Chuck previews tonight's game and provides snippets of what's going on across the league.

GAME NIGHT FROM DENVER

Bulls (3-16, 1-10 on the road) at Nuggets (11-9, 8-2 at home).

LAST GAME: Suns 104 Bulls 99. Utah 106 Denver 77.

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Holiday - 14ppg. Denver: Jokic: 15ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 8. Denver: Jokic: 11.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Grant: 4. Denver: Jokic: 4.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The head coach of the Nuggets, Michael Malone will have his team ready for the Bulls after the Nuggets recorded a season low 77 points in a blow out road loss in Utah. I guarantee you Malone's message of accountability following their loss to the Jazz will resonate to every player. With the loss of Paul Milsap to wrist surgery, Denver will change up it's offensive schemes now that Kenneth Faried is a starter. Faried is fearless on the glass and while he's not Milsap, he can certainly get after it with toughness and energy. The Bulls will have deal with the mental/physical element of a higher altitude but if the Bulls can avoid turnovers and make three point shots they'll be in a position to steal a game. Looking forward to the matchups tonight in the backcourt with Dunn and Holiday against Harris and Murray.

BEST KEPT SECRET IN THE NBA RESIDES IN DENVER: His name is Nikola Jokic. A big man at 6-10, 250 pounds who can play with his back to the basket and shoot three point shots. He's averaging 15 points, 11 rebounds. He leads Denver in points, rebounds and assists. Showing absolutely no disrespect to the Nuggets, Denver has been a no show in the playoffs and they're not exactly a national brand, therefore Jokic gets very little coverage. If Denver makes the playoffs things will change. He's been challenged by Malone and he's responded to his coaching. I love Malone's coaching ideology and it would be great if the Nuggets somehow can survive the absence of Milsap and make the post season....this franchise needs a boost.

MIROTIC READY TO FOCUS ON THE FUTURE NOT THE PAST: Niko Mirotic told reporters that he's looking ahead and not the past as he hopes to return in the near future after suffering a facial injury in an altercation with teammate Bobby Portis in practice in pre season.. Mirotic says he feels support from his teammates, management and front office. Mirotic also said he accepted Portis' apology.

NBA NEWS AND NOTES

After beating the Bulls Tuesday night, Phoenix had nothing left in the tank as the Pistons scored 131 points and easily beat the Suns.

A bizarre game with the 76ers and Wizards. Ben Simmons entered last night's game shooting only 56% from the foul line...the Wizards made a furious fourth quarter rally...a quarter that saw them score 48 points—they employed the "Hack a Shaq/Simmons" component to get back in the game...Simmons went 15 of 29 from the line (24 attempts in the 4th quarter) making 6 of his last 8. Simmons finished with 31 points and 18 rebounds. Philly won for the sixth time in their last eight games.

Aaron Gordon had a monster game of 40 points and 15 rebounds as the Magic ended a nine game slide beating slumping OKC. The Thunder have dropped five out of their last six. Panic time in OKC? Not yet—-but close.

NY got a huge scare last night and fortunately it appears that's all it was. Kristaps Porzingis suffered a right ankle sprain in the first half of the Knicks-Heat game. NY wins by 29.

Kyle Lowry scored a season high 36 – the Raps put 126 points on the board and blasted the Hornets.

Two nights ago it was LeBron James ... last night it was Anthony Davis. The Chicago product ejected for the first time of his career as the Pelicans lost to Minnesota.

New coach-same results-Spurs got 41 from LaMarcus Aldridge as the Spurs handed Memphis its ninth straight loss.

The Warriors beat the Lakers in OT and the Nets handed Dallas its 17th loss.

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

Always a pleasure.

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