Bulls

On The Farm: Dashing Towards The Playoffs

On The Farm: Dashing Towards The Playoffs

Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010
Posted: 9:45 p.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
WHITE SOXWinston-Salem A
The Dash continued their quest to make a clean sweep of the Carolina Leagues Southern Division on Thursday afternoon by topping Lynchburg, 11-0, at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem, which has won seven consecutive games, improved its lead to 1 games over Kinston, which was scheduled to play Thursday night.

A trio of Dash pitchers allowed only five hits. Joe Serafin 3-4 picked up his second consecutive victory and 10th overall this season after scattering three hits over six innings. Ryan Kussmaul and Charlis Burdie each allowed a hit over the final three innings to preserve the victory.

Winston-Salem scored five times in the first inning, providing Serafin and Co. all they would need. Jon Gilmore had the third of three consecutive singles to lead off the inning, a liner to right that brought in the games first run. Nick Ciolli continued his tear since coming up from Kannapolis by rocking a two-run double to right before Luis Sierra added a two-run double of his own.

Ciolli finished 3-for-5 and has hit safely in all five games .478 in which he has played for the Dash. Winston-Salem finished with 15 hits and has outscored the Hillcats, 27-2, through the first three games of the series. ... Joe McEwing was named carolina League manager of the year on Thursday. Eduardo Escobar, Jon Gilmore, Brandon Short and Justin Greene were all named to the post-season All-Star team.
Kannapolis A
Andre Rienzo put quite the exclamation point on what was a marvelous season Thursday night in Kannapolis 8-5 victory at Delmarva.

Rienzo 8-4 improved to 8-0 in his last 11 starts dating back to July 7. He posted a 1.95 ERA over the 64 innings in that 11-game stretch. He allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last 10 starts.

Ryan Lee was 3-for-6 with an RBI while Kevin Dubler had two hits, two walks and drove in three.
In other action, Mike Aubreysthree-run homer in the bottom of the 13th gave Norfolk a 4-1 victoryover Charlotte. Carlos Torres started and allowed a run in seveninnings. Dayan Viciedo was 1-for-5. ... Birmingham blanked visiting Carolina, 8-0. Ricky Brooks scattered four hits and struck out eight over five innings to pick up the victory. Josh Phegley hit his first Double-A homer and drew a pair of walks while Chris Marrero had two hits and two RBIs.
CUBSDaytona A
The Cubs remained in the Florida State League playoff hunt Thursday night but are on the verge of elimination despite defeating Clearwater, 5-4, at Bright House Field. Daytona remains two games behind Tampa, which defeated Brevard County, with three games left in the regular season.

Rebel Ridling had a homer and three RBIs to pace the Cubs while DJ LeMahieu added a homer and two RBIs of his own. Nick Struck allowed three runs over 5 13 innings to pick up his first FSL victory. The Cubs close out the season with three games at Lakeland while Tampa will host Dunedin in a three-game set.
In other action, Tennessee dropped a 6-2 decision at Jacksonville. The Smokies managed only three hits. Rafael Dolis allowed four runs in 5 23 innings to take the loss. Tennessee manager Bill Dancy was named Southern League manager of the year on Thursday.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Zach LaVine's conditioning at '70 percent' but still on schedule

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USA TODAY

Zach LaVine's conditioning at '70 percent' but still on schedule

Everybody saw the play, that awkward instance where Zach LaVine looked ready for his second dunk of the season but was fouled from behind by Atlanta’s Taurean Prince.

It looked as if LaVine was ready for liftoff but one of his jets misfired, sparking at least the thought of his recovery from his ACL injury being a bit off—but he laughed at the thought.

“I don’t know why everybody keeps talking about it,” LaVine said Sunday at New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center, where the Bulls held practice. “The dude stepped on the back of my foot, so I couldn’t get off the ground. Everybody’s wondering if I’m okay, yeah. I just missed a fouled layup.”

The adrenaline from his first two games have worn off a bit, and he missed his first four shots from the field Saturday before hitting a couple in the start of the third quarter in the Bulls’ 113-97 win over the Hawks.

He looked winded a few times during his stint and admitted his conditioning isn’t where it should be—as expected given he’s missed 11 months of real basketball. He said his conditioning is at about “70 percent”, and you can certainly see it in his jump shot not being as fluid as it was last season in Minnesota.

“It was feeling good in practice but in games it’s seventy,” LaVine said. “Playing defense, getting back, running the break, just getting used to it.”

Add to it, the Bulls cover the most halfcourt ground of any team in the NBA with their set offense and Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has long said he’s not slowing down his offense while LaVine is in.

The shooting guard will have to catch up to the pace, and it’ll probably be better for him in the long run.

“I think it’s just ‘okay’ and rightfully so,” said Hoiberg about LaVine’s conditioning. “It’s impossible to simulate game action in practices when you’re doing individual workouts. Every time he plays that conditioning will ramp up. As he plays, it’ll get better and better. And he’s such a good and natural athlete, it’ll come back quickly.”

Hoiberg isn’t concerned about the variances in LaVine’s performances. He came out the gate with such force and adrenaline in his debut against Detroit and two days later against Miami, but it’s tailed off against Golden State and then Atlanta.

“I think Zach’s doing great,” Hoiberg said. “You look around the league where players have come back from significant injuries, he’s gonna be up and down. His first two games he’s been unbelievable. A couple games he hasn’t shot the ball great. He played unselfish basketball last night.”

LaVine’s minutes has been extended to 24 from 20, and he’ll still practice in the off-days as the Bulls want to keep his rehab on schedule as opposed to having him play heavy minutes initially.

He’ll be re-evaluated after Wednesday’s game in Philadelphia and could see his minutes rise before the Bulls host the Lakers Friday at the United Center.

“I should just get used to it,” LaVine said. “Just getting used to the swing of things. It takes a second for your body to get adjusted to it.”

Three Things to Watch: Bulls visit Pelicans

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls visit Pelicans

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Bulls take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Pregame Live.

1. Anthony Davis

The five-time All-Star just continues to improve. While he's not averaging career-highs in any major category, no one's going to scoff at his 26.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.1 blocks in 36 minutes per game. He's shooting nearly 56 percent from the field and is on pace for a career-best in 3-pointers made, which is a pretty impressive statistic. Lauri Markkanen will have his hands full, and it may be in the Bulls' best interest to get Nikola Mirotic some early minutes to try and get physical with Davis. There's no real way to slow him down.

2. DeMarcus Cousins

And if the Bulls should so happen to get lucky and slow down Davis, there's another All-Star starter waiting alongside him. Boogie Cousins has been every bit as good as Davis this season, averaging 25.3 points, 12.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 36 minutes. He's certainly not as efficient as Davis (47 percent from the field, 5.0 turnovers) but is deadly inside. He's shooting a career-best 52.8 percent on 2-pointers this season, and his 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks make him a serviceable defender (although the Bulls could certainly stretch their offense to make him work more).

3. Rajon Rondo

Rondo hasn't been great in his first season with the Pellies, but perhaps he's turning things around. Beginning with his absurd 25-assist game just after Christmas, Rondo is averaging 7.4 points, 8.2 assists and 1.0 steal per game. He's allowed Jrue Holiday to play more off the ball, and while his defense is nothing to write home about he's logging solid minutes for a Pelicans team woefully short in the backcourt.