by Chuck Swirsky
NBA SEASON OPENER:
THE BOTTOM LINE: Raptors 117-101.
The Bulls registered 22 assists but committed 19 turnovers leading to 27 Toronto points.
TURNING POINT: Raptors outscored the Bulls 33-14 in 2nd quarter. C.J. Miles scored 11 of his 22 points in the period.
THE QUOTE: Denzel Valentine came off the bench and scored 12 points on the night, going 4 of 7 from 3 point range:
“We started the game off pretty well; the second unit came on and I don’t think we did a good job of maintaining the energy level we needed to win the game.”
MARKKANEN HITS THE MARK: The Bulls 20 year old rookie was impressive in his NBA debut. He started, played just over 33 minutes scoring 17 points, pulling down 8 rebounds.
“There is a lot to improve. If I had any nerves for the first game they’re behind me now.”
On his 8 point burst in the 3rd quarter:
“I let the game come to me and not forcing anything. That was pretty much it.”
I asked Lauri if he was thinking about the game during the course of the day.
“Not really, just relaxing in the hotel and sleeping, it’s all good.”
Markkanen was all good, too. He’s got enough pressure on his shoulders, so let him develop and work through the journey of a long NBA season but there is no doubt in my mind this young man is the real deal.
PONDEXTER RETURNS: Great to see Quincy Pondexter back on the floor after missing two seasons with a knee injury which nearly cost him his life due to complications. 12 min: 8pts 2reb.
BULLS DEBUT: In addition to Markkanen, newcomer Kay Felder played 15 plus minutes scoring 6 points (2-9 FG) dishing out 6 assists. Ryan Arcidiacono played 5 first half minutes. David Nwaba, 4 points and 4 rebounds. Antonio Blakeney, 1 minute and made his only field goal attempt.
UP NEXT: Saturday 7pm CT vs San Antonio
NBA NEWS and NOTES:
Is it possible a season opener can be a statement game? The new look Clippers beat the Lakers as DeAndre Jordan pulled down 24 rebounds. Blake Griffin scored 29 points. The Lakers’ Lonzo Ball‘s first game: 3 points 9 rebounds 4 assists.
At OKC, Carmelo Anthony had a 22-1-1 stat line as the Thunder beat his old ball club, NY 105-84. The combination of Anthony, George and Westbrook scored a combined 71 points. For the first time in Anthony’s fifteen year career, he’s option 2A or 2B. The Thunder don’t need him to score 25-32 points a game for them to win. After the game, Anthony told ESPN, “No more Knicks talk.” Well, until the Thunder visit MSG.
Portland signed former Vanderbilt standout Wade Baldwin IV to a two way contract. Memphis gave up on him despite drafting him 17th overall last season. He played in 33 games last year along with a stint in the G-League.
In all likelihood, Jeremy Lin’s season is over after suffering a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee during the Nets opener against Indiana. Lin played in only 36 games last year. Remember, the Cavs hold the rights to the Nets unprotected first round pick via Boston in the Kyrie Irving trade.
ONE FINAL THOUGHT……
Despite losing the NLCS, congratulations to the Chicago Cubs on another outstanding season.
Thanks for reading CCI. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @ctsbulls
Always a pleasure