CHUCK'S DAILY CHECK IN 11.08.17

Raptors 119 Bulls 114. Raptors lead series 2-0.

Bulls 2-7 (1-4 road). Raptors 6-4 (3-1 home)

LEADING SCORERS:
Bulls: Portis 21 points, Lopez 20 points.
Raptors: DeRozan 24 points, Valanciunas 21 points.

LEADING REBOUNDERS:
Bulls: Portis 13
Raptors: Valanciunas 10

LEADING ASSISTS:
Bulls: Grant: 5
Raptors: Lowry: 6

PORTIS RETURNS: Bobby Portis back on the floor after serving an eight game suspension and he was outstanding. 24 plus minutes. 21 points 13 rebounds 4 assists and 2 steals.

Portis was just happy to be back on the floor:

“I let the game come to me. I had great support from my teammates and coaching staff and my family throughout the whole entire process. It’s been a long time since I played the game of basketball. I’m not going to stop being myself. I was ready during warmups. I didn’t even sleep last night. I put a lot of work in during the summer. I respect the game of basketball. It felt like my first college game at Arkansas where I had all my friends and family there.”

KEYS TO THE GAME: For the second time in the series, the Bulls sustained a second quarter meltdown as the Raps outscored the Bulls 36-19. However in the fourth quarter, the Bulls came within three points but DeMar DeRozan hit a tough mid range jumper and then sealed it with two free throws. The Bulls wake up call came too late. Robin Lopez was outstanding in the post, hitting 10 of 11 shots. Denzel Valentine was on the floor at crunch time, as was Kris Dunn who finished with 10 points 6 rebounds 4 assists 4 steals in 26 minutes.

CCI 24SEC COMMENTARY: Had the Bulls played with fourth quarter effort in the second period they would have won this game…no question in my mind. Bobby Portis was a huge asset for the Bulls. Lauri Markkanen took only seven shots and finished with 12 points, 6 coming in the final three quarters. Whether it was the play of Serge Ibaka or the Bulls not looking for him…Markkanen needs to get 15-20 shots a game for the Bulls to win.

UP NEXT: Indiana at the United Center Friday night.

NEWS AND NOTES IN THE NBA:

After beating the Bulls on Saturday, the Pelicans took care of business at Indiana. The combination of Cousins and Davis did it again. The two went off scoring a combined 69 points and pulling down 27 rebounds. NOLA is 5-2 on the road.

I know it’s November 8 but write it down now..Kristaps Porzingis is headed to the All Star Game. He is the face of the Knicks and loving it. 28 points 5 rebounds and 3 blocks as NY goes to 6-4 scoring 35 in the 4th quarter to trim the Hornets.

The Spurs knocked down 15-3s…collected 12 steals and polished off LAC. The Clippers now at 5-5 are off to their worst 10 game start since 2010.

Denver doesn’t get a lot of national publicity..(hint, you have to make the playoffs first, ..that would help) but Nikola Jokic can flat out play. Big time performance in Denver’s win over the Nets. He is the first Nugget with at least 40 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in a game since Michael Adams in 1991.

Great stat from @ClevisMurray: The 76ers Ben Simmons is the first rookie with at least 175 points and 100 rebounds through their team’s first 10 games since Shaw in 92-93. Simmons can ball. This isn’t a fluke. He’s a legit first overall pick. Let’s hope he stays healthy. Philly topped the Jazz.

I am in love with this rookie class….incredible talent. Dennis Smith of the Mavs put on a show in DC, 22-8-8- as the Mavs blasted the Wizards. Harrison Barnes with 31. John Wall took 18 free throws (13-18.)

Bottom line on the Bucks…..the good news…they get a proven scorer in Eric Bledsoe. (Suns trade with Greg Monroe headed to Phoenix with lottery protected first round pick) the bad news..they dropped their fourth in a row losing to the Cavaliers. Confession time…when I check out NBA box scores I immediately rush to the Bucks’ results to glimpse at Giannis’ numbers. His line against the Cavs: 40 points (a crazy mind blowing 16-21fgs) 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 8 turnovers and 6 fouls in 40 minutes.

The Kings won for only the second time this season with a home court win over OKC.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I was not a close personal friend of Roy Halladay but he did appear from time to time on my talk show that I hosted in Toronto back in the day. He also enjoyed catching Raptors games. He never sought the spotlight. He loved baseball but more importantly, adored and cherished his family. I am shocked, stunned and deeply moved over his sudden death. My prayers and sincere condolences to his family and friends and the baseball world. RIP.

Many thanks to the WGN TV crew and Stacey King for their assistance on the TV call last night. Neil Funk will return Friday vs the Pacers. Also many thanks to Jason Benetti for calling his first NBA game. Jason is a tremendous broadcaster and even a better person.

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

Always a pleasure!

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