Bulls

On The Farm: Iowa Loses To Memphis, Eliminated From Playoff Picture

On The Farm: Iowa Loses To Memphis, Eliminated From Playoff Picture

Monday Sept. 6, 2010
6:30 PM
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

CUBS Iowa AAA
Mark Hamiltons two-out homer in the top of the ninth inning Monday afternoon lifted Memphis to a 7-6 victory at Principal Park, clinching a division title for the Redbirds and denying Iowa a berth in the Pacific Coast League playoffs.

The I-Cubs and Redbird finished tied for first place in the American North Division but Memphis owned the tiebreaker and will advance into the post-season. Iowa owned or shared a piece of first place for the final 51 days of the season but was denied a playoff spot because Memphis owned a better head-to-head record.

Iowa held a 6-3 lead going into the seventh inning before Memphis scored three times to set the stage for Hamiltons dramatic blow of Hung-Wen Chen in the ninth inning. Jason Dubois ended the season on a 13-game hitting streak after hitting a pair of solo homers. Robinson Chirinos was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, finishing with a .364 average in 15 PCL games after hitting .318 at Tennessee.

In other action, playoff-bound Tennessee finished out the regular season with a 3-2 victory at Carolina. Brandon Gyer was 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs to finish second in the Southern League with a .344 average. Brett Jackson had a pair of hits while Craig Muschko allowed a run in five innings for his ninth win. Peoria ended its Midwest League season with a 9-4 victory at Quad Cities. Jae-Hoon Ha had a hit, two RBIs and finished with a .317 average. Matt Cerda had a double and three RBIs, giving him 80 for the year. Yohan Gonzalez went two scoreless innings for the win.

WHITE SOXWinston-Salem A
The Dash won the Carolina Leagues Southern Division second-half championship with a 10-5 victory over Salem at BB&T Ballpark on Monday, completing a sweep of divisional crowns. Winston-Salem also won the first-half title and will face Kinston in the opening round of the playoffs, which begin on Wednesday.

Winston-Salem finished with the best overall record in the league as well as posting the best first- and second-half records. The two Divisional titles marked the first time in franchise history that Winston-Salem has finished first in four consecutive halves. It also marks the first time a Carolina League team has won four consecutive halves since Wilmington turned the trick in 2001-02.

Seth Loman went 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs while Johnson went 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. Greg Paiml had three hits and three RBIs while Taylor Thompson picked up the victory in relief.
In other action, Kannapolis dropped its South Atlantic League finale, 3-2, at Lakewood. Tyler Saladino had two hits and an RBI. Justin Collop allowed three runs in seven innings to take the loss. Mississippi ended Birminghams Southern League season on a sour note with a 2-1 victory. The Barons managed only five hits. Brian Omogrosso allowed a run in his inning of work to take the loss. Charlotte also ended its International League season with a loss, dropping a 7-0 decision to Gwinnett at Knights Stadium. Jeremy Reed had two of the Knights six hits. Jeff Marquez 8-9 took the loss to finish 0-5 in his last nine starts. His last victory came on July 16 at Durham.

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.