Preps Talk

Fire travel to Houston Tuesday


Fire travel to Houston Tuesday

The Fire thought it had cleared up Sebastian Grazzinis playing status last week, but maybe not.
Grazzini missed three days of practice last week, then was left off the travel roster for Fridays 1-0 win at Sporting Kansas City. Coach Frank Klopas said the lack of practice time kept Grazzini from playing against SKC.
Though Grazzini trained with the team in Bridgeview on Monday, he also didnt make the trip to Houston, where the Fire (8-5-3) visit the Dynamo (6-5-5) on Tuesday night. A club spokesman said Grazzini is staying home to tend to "personal matters in Chicago.
The club also has made it known that, contrary to the Major League Soccer Players Union website, Grazzini is not among the Fires lowest-paid players. The accuracy of the Players Union salary figures was discredited as they pertained to non-U.S. players.
Even without the Argentine midfielder, the Fire has been cruising. Klopas club will seek its fourth straight win against the Dynamo and also bid to be the first MLS team to win at the new BBVA Compass Stadium, the Houstons team home since May 12. The Dynamo is 4-0-2 there, and the Fire will get its first look at the facility on Tuesday.
Not since the 2005 season has the Fire won four straight. That year the Fire built a winning streak of the same size in late June and early July.
Tuesdays meeting comes in the middle game of a three-games-in-10-days stretch. The busy period concludes when the defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy, struggling with a 6-9-2 mark now, visit Toyota Park on Sunday. Los Angeles visit ends a streak of six straight Fire matches against Eastern Conference rivals.
In addition to Grazzini, the Fire will be without midfielder Rafael Robayo (shoulder injury) at Houston and striker Federico Puppo and goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi wont be available for the second straight game because of ankle injuries. Puppo, though, went through training on Monday.
Veteran defender Arne Friedrich, who left the Sporting Kansas City match with cramps after 72 minutes, and striker Chris Rolfe, who finished that one hobbling on a sore ankle, were deemed available to face the Dynamo and defender Gonzalo Segares returns after sitting out a one-game red card suspension.
In addition to visiting a new stadium the Fire will be challenged by a new star. Honduran international Boniek Garcia, Houstons newly-signed Designated Player, made his debut with the Dynamo in Sundays 2-1 home win against the Philadelphia Union. He looked good in that match, and Houston was rolling even before he arrived. The Dynamo was 4-0-1 in MLS play in June.

High School Lites Football Semifinals Roundup

High School Lites Football Semifinals Roundup

High School Lites has plenty of great IHSA football playoff action from the semifinals on Saturday as NBC Sports Chicago has highlights of many of the area's top matchups. 

Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights. 

DRIVE: Prairie RidgeEpisode 14

This Week's Scores

Class 8A

Loyola Academy 17, Edwardsville 10

Lincoln-Way East 24, Maine South 14

Class 7A

Lake Zurich 14, Mount Carmel 7

Batavia 23, Benet Academy 13

Class 6A

Prairie Ridge 42, Hoffman Estates 21

Nazareth Academy 24, Providence Catholic 7

Class 5A

Phillips 27, Sterling 14

Dunlap 21, Washington 0

Class 4A

Morris 43, Raby 8

Rochester 31, Highland 14

Class 3A

IC Catholic 7, Byron 0

Pleasant Plains 41, Anna-Jonesboro 2

Class 2A

Gibson City 14, Newman Central Catholic 8

Maroa-Forsyth 25, Shelbyville 14

Class 1A

Tuscola 21, Athens 14

Lena-Winslow 12, Forreston 8


Three Things to Watch: Bulls take on Suns


Three Things to Watch: Bulls take on Suns

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

1. Something's got to give

What's the opposite of an unstoppable force vs. an immovable object? That's what we'll be looking at when the Bulls have the ball in their hands. Chicago ranks dead last in offensive efficiency, while the Suns have the 2nd worst defensive efficiency in the NBA. That means the Bulls, after scoring a season-high 123 points against the Hornets, can build on that momentum against a Suns defense that allowed 90 points in the FIRST HALF to the Rockets on Thursday.

2. Kris Dunn for real?

Fresh off the best game of his young career - he scored 22 points in a win over the Hornets on Friday - Kris Dunn continues to look like the best point guard on the Bulls roster. He's going through a really solid stretch right now, averaging 13.2 points on 47 percent shooting, 4.2 assists and 2.6 steals over his last four games. With Eric Bledsoe out of Phoenix, Dunn could be in line for another big game going up against Mike James and Tyler Ulis, regardless of whether or not he starts over Jerian Grant.

3. Watch out for Devin Booker

We'll try to get an opponent in here once for every tune-in, and Devin Booker certainly fits the bill. Much like Dunn is doing, Booker is on quite a roll these days. Over his last four games Booker is averaging 30.5 points on 51 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists. The Bulls will need to keep their eyes on Booker at all times, especially after allowing Kemba Walker to go off for 47 points on Friday.