Bulls

On The Farm: McNutt Keeps Daytona Close To First

On The Farm: McNutt Keeps Daytona Close To First

Thursday Aug. 19, 2010
Posted: 8:45 a.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
CUBS Daytona A
The Cubs blew by host Dunedin Wednesday night, 9-3, picking up a game on first place Tampa in the FSL North Division in the process. Tampa lost at home to Clearwater and now leads Daytona by a game.

Trey McNutt 4-0 was the dominant force for Daytona, pitching six shutout innings while allowing only one hit. He fanned six to improve to 10-0 on the year after starting out by going 6-0 at Peoria. McNutt has pitched shutout ball in three of his last four starts.

Casey Lambert added two scoreless innings of relief before the Jays touched up Oswaldo Martinez for three ninth-inning runs.

Ryan Flaherty had four hits, including a homer, and three RBIs while Rebel Ridling added four hits. D.J. LeMahieu had three hits.

Boise Short-Season A
The Hawks went deep three times in a 4-1 victory over visiting Everett at Memorial Stadium. The outburst marked the first time since July 15, 2007 that Boise hit more than two homers in a game.

Richard Jones gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the third inning but broke out the big lumber in the fourth as Ryan Cuneo and Jeff Vigurs each hit solo homers. For Vigurs, it was the first of his career. Jones added a solo homer in the fifth.

Austin Kirk allowed a run on four hits over five innings to pick up his fourth win of the year,
Peoria A
The Chiefs stretched their winning streak to four games Wednesday night, topping Burlington, 5-2, at OBrien Field.

Peoria scored three times in the seventh inning to break open what had been a close game. Anthony Giansanti and Logan Watkins had RBI singles in the inning. Nick Struck picked up his eight victory and is 6-0 in his last seven appearances after allowing two runs in five innings. Justin Bour drew his seventh intentional walk of the year, tying him for fourth all-time on the Chiefs single-season list with several players, including Albert Pujols. Daric Barton holds the franchise record with 10.
In other action, Eric Duncans RBI single in the 10th inning gave Mississippi a 7-6 victory over Tennessee at Smokies Park. The Braves had scored four eight-inning runs, tying the score at 6-6. Brandon Guyer had a pair of hits, including a homer and two RBIs, to extend his hitting streak to 18 games. Hes batting .471 33-for-70 with five homers and 24 RBIs during the streak. Iowa dropped its second straight at Sacramento, losing a 4-2 decision at Raley Field. Austin Bibens-Dirkx had his first Triple-A setback, giving up four runs on 10 hits in six innings to take the loss. Brad Snyder drove in his 88th run, extending his career high. The AZL Cubs dropped an 8-1 decision to the Padres.
WHITE SOXWinston-Salem A
Rain wrecked havoc with the Dash again on Wednesday but they did manage to finish one game, earning a victory in the process. Winston-Salem topped Salem, 4-3, in 14 innings, which was the completion of a Tuesday night washout.

The second and regularly scheduled game was stopped in the fourth inning because of the weather with the Red Sox leading, 1-0. That game will be finished on Thursday followed by a seven-inning affair.

Ozzie Lewis drew a one-out walk in the 14th and then went to third on a Logan Johnson single. Andrew Garcias sacrifice fly then brought Lewis home to end the marathon. Hector Santiago pitched 1 13 scoreless innings for the win.
In other action, Durham handled Charlotte, 5-1, at Knights Stadium, stretching the hosts losing streak to five games. The Bulls magic number for clinching a division title is four. Carlos Torres allowed four runs on eight hits over 5 23 innings. Brent Morel went 2-for-4 and is hitting .421 over his last nine games 16-for-38. Birmingham reached new lows in an already dismal season, dropping a 17-4 decision to visiting Huntsville. The 17 runs and 22 hits allowed were season highs while the 13-run loss was the worst of the year for the Barons. Josh Phegley was 2-for-5 in his Birmingham debut. Orem exploded for eight runs in the eighth inning Wednesday night to stun visiting Great Falls, 12-3. Mike Blanke was 3-for-4 and is hitting .412 over his last nine games. Mother Nature and Hickory got the best of Kannapolis as the Crawdads earned a 7-4 victory at Fieldcrest Canon Stadium. The game, which lasted more than three hours, also included a lengthy rain delay. Ryan Buch suffered his first Sally League loss after giving up four runs on seven hits in four innings. Tyler Saladino had a solo homer for the Intimidators.

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

It's Bobby's World in Bulls' lottery-improving loss to 76ers

It's Bobby's World in Bulls' lottery-improving loss to 76ers

The final 25 games was supposed to be all about the development of the Bulls’ recent acquisitions and securing a record worthy of one of the last three envelopes at the NBA Draft Lottery.

Only Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn seemed to matter, with Cameron Payne and Cristiano Felicio being the perfect window dressing for development as opposed to just saying a team is tanking.

But Bobby Portis is making a case that he isn’t to be forgotten in the big picture, that his worth is more than just being a punchline to the jokes that followed his incident with Nikola Mirotic.

The only thing Portis didn’t do right in the Bulls’ 116-115 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers was missing a point blank shot that would’ve given the Bulls an improbable and unwanted win, and it would’ve given him 40 points.

Instead he had to settle for a career-high 38 as Joel Embiid was bearing down on Portis when he caught a diagonal pass from Dunn with 1.1 seconds left, having the shorter T.J. McConnell on him and taking a power dribble to gather himself.

“If I could go back I would’ve just went up the first time off the glass like I always do,” Portis said. “We just have to try to close out games better.”

Embiid showed he’s worth all the trouble with his health problems, scoring 30 with 13 rebounds and five rebounds while Ben Simmons put up 32 with 11 assists and seven rebounds as the 76ers improved to 31-25, good enough for seventh place in the East.

In a game that featured remarkable resolve from a purposely undermanned Bulls team as they sat Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday, they put themselves in position to win after trailing by 18 early. After leading by five courtesy of a LaVine walk-down triple with 1:02 left, they made a couple critical errors that allowed the 76ers to steal a game the Bulls won’t mind them taking at the end of 82.

Denzel Valentine’s inbounds pass with 5.9 seconds left was intended for LaVine, but Embiid stepped in front for a steal as they were in position to make it a free-throw game the rest of the way.

Similar to the Bulls’ unlikely win over the Orlando Magic before the All-Star break, they returned the favor as 76ers rookie Ben Simmons made free throws after the steal to give the visitors a one-point lead, setting the stage for the final play.

If learning lessons is what the last 100 quarters of basketball is supposed to be about, the Bulls got a big-time lesson in a game that ultimately means nothing.

“These are learning opportunities for our team,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “I couldn’t be happier, the way we went out and competed. We dug ourselves an 18-point hold and (fought) our way back—have complete control of the game.”

Control was wrestled from the 76ers by Portis’ able and quick hands. Taking more of a scoring posture since Mirotic’s departure, Portis has never been shy about being aggressive.

But now he’s being encouraged in that department, playing a big part in the Bulls’ tying their franchise record of 18 triples with six of his own, scoring 21 in the first half and not backing down one step from the massive Embiid.

“I kind of struggled from (three) in the last six, seven games,” said Portis, who didn’t take much time off during the All-Star break. “I think I’ve shown this entire year, trying to stay consistent and be a spark off the bench.”

Counting the last two games before the break, Portis has been on the best scoring binge of his career—cementing his place in the league when just a few months ago, many were questioning if the Bulls should’ve actually picked up his player option following the Mirotic incident.

His 25.0 points in the last three, along with scoring in double figures for seven straight games are career-bests. With every flex, every energetic plea to the crowd and resourceful score underneath the rim, Portis is becoming a player the Bulls can’t afford to plan without.

The stage was set for a Portis breakout shortly after the incident, when he was serving his suspension to start the season. When the Bulls traveled to Miami and Orlando, he flew on his own to Orlando for dinner with his mentor, former NBA veteran and Magic assistant coach Corliss Williamson.

Williamson, a player who was not to be trifled with during his career, told Portis essentially, “this too shall pass”.

“Just play your game,” Williamson told NBCSportsChicago.com recently. “Don’t put any pressure on yourself about what’s gonna happen after this year. What’s got him here is hard work, how hard he plays in the game. He continues to do that, he’ll be successful.”

Portis recalled the dinner where he was finally able to confide and unleash after weeks of frustration. Calling Williamson a father figure dating back to their Arkansas roots, where Portis played on Williamson’s AAU teams in middle school, Portis put his trust in him and came back reinvigorated.

“We talked for hours about the whole situation,” Portis told NBCSportsChicago.com “He told me when I come back to come 10 times harder. When people play this game and play the right way, they forget about the other stuff. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Scoring 38 tends to remake a narrative.

“Bobby just continues to improve,” Hoiberg said. “He’s a confident kid that goes out and plays with a ton of swagger and toughness. You need that, to go out and play with that type of effort. He’s tenacious on the glass. He’s getting the crowd into the game.”

When speaking of Portis, Hoiberg’s face went from flush to beaming, knowing how far Portis has come in his three years—being a player who wouldn’t take 3-pointers with confidence to now unleashing them whenever a defender’s feet shows the slightest hint of leaning back.

No hesitation.

“Regardless if I’m making shots, I try to leave it all out on the floor,” Portis said. “It felt good making shots, being able to help the team. I wanted the win tonight.”

Portis helped make up for the Bulls not getting their usual production from Dunn, who struggled guarding the bigger Simmons and Lauri Markkanen, who missed all five of his 3-pointers and made just one field goal in 32 minutes.

“You can put he and Lauri together,” Hoiberg said. “It gives you two guys that can stretch the floor and space it, two guys that can rebound, two that can put it on the floor. It’s exciting to think about when Kris gets his rhythm back.”

And now, Williamson’s words have proven to be prophetic for his pupil, because if the Bulls aren’t seeing Portis as a key part of their future, there’s about 25 other teams who’ll be lining up for his services this summer.

“I told him don’t even worry about it,” Williamson said. “Let your game speak for itself. People who really know you, know what type of person you are. You start producing people will forget about it and love you for what you do on the court.”

His game is talking, even if the Bulls’ loss was one they’d rather have taken in silence.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Projecting the Bulls’ future

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Projecting the Bulls’ future

In the latest edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski, Will Perdue and Kendall Gill recap the Bulls’ 116-115 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, look at the continued growth of Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn, and discuss if Bobby Portis is part of the Bulls’ long term future.

They also check in on LeBron James and the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers, discuss whether or not the Golden State Warriors can make another title run and the latest on the status of San Antonio Spurs guard Kawhi Leonard. The guys also discuss how Oklahoma guard Trae Young could look in a Bulls uniform if he’s available for them in the draft.

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.