Bulls

A game of missed chances for the Bears

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A game of missed chances for the Bears

Going for it on fourth down instead of kicking the field goal, which likely wouldve been good considering Robbie Goulds prowess. Coach Lovie Smith made that choice early in the second quarter, when the Bears were up 7-0.

In hindsight, Smith admits he shouldve chosen the latter.

The Bears couldnt convert that fourth-and-1 early in the game, and a dropped pass by a wide-open Earl Bennett later also proved costly in the Bears 23-17 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. If youre into playing the woulda, coulda, shoulda game, the Bears coulda had a decent lead at the half. Instead they were down 10-7.

And it could have started with that field-goal attempt the Bears didnt take.

We should have taken the field goal, Smith said. It felt like we had momentum. (I) wanted to really try to knock them out and get them on their heels a little bit. That was a big play in the game.

It was, and it was one that the Seahawks didnt let the Bears get. Seattles defense stopped Michael Bush at the 15-yard line, inches short of the first down. It wouldve been a 32-yard field goal attempt for Gould, who is 72-of-79 (91.1 percent) in the 30- to 39-yard range for his career.

Still, Smith also believed the Bears shouldve picked up those scant few inches on fourth down.

If youre going to win and be able to get in the playoffs and play good football at this time in the season, youve got to be able to pick it (up) and pick up a forth-and-short like that, he said. Every time a decision doesnt work out, I look at it and think that. Would I do it again? Probably so. Again, youve got to be able to get those fourth-and-shorts.

Bears center Roberto Garza said that fell to his group.

Obviously on that fourth-and-short, it is on the offensive line. We have to be able to convert that, Garza said. Its unacceptable. We get that, we get points and its a different story. We definitely left opportunities on the field and we have to do a better job.

The Bears had another chance to get points later, when a wide-open Bennett couldnt hold onto Jay Cutlers deep pass to him. Cutler said, I spun (Bennett) around a little bit and it was tough to catch. Hes going to say that he should have had it.

Bennett was flipped up and around on his touchdown catch early in the game. That play also may have led to the concussion that kept him out the second half.

The missed opportunities left the Bears scrambling for a late field goal to send the game to overtime. But one long Seahawks drive against a tired Bears defense later, the squandered chances really loomed large.

We shouldnt have been in that position, Cutler said. We had a fourth down early in the game, Earl Bennett dropped one and in the four-minute drive I fumbled the ball; things like that. In a game like this with two really good defenses going at it, one plan can swing the game. Offensively, we shouldve done a better job and not put ourselves in that position.

11 Bulls - including Cameron Payne - received a player vote to start in the All-Star Game

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USA TODAY

11 Bulls - including Cameron Payne - received a player vote to start in the All-Star Game

Maybe the rest of the NBA has really taken notice of the Bulls' recent play. After all, they're 13-8 since a putrid 3-20 start and are within shouting distance (if you yell really loudly) of the No. 8 spot in the East.

So maybe that's why 11 different Bulls - including the infamous Cameron Payne - received at least one vote to start in the NBA All-Star Game in February. That, or the players could not care less about the voting process and made a mockery of it for a second straight year.

This could become a get-off-my-lawn story, and we could go on for hours about why the NBA should really reconsider giving players 25 percent of the vote on starters. Then again, as a whole they seemed to get it right in the East, with Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan in the backcourt, and LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid in the frontcourt. 

But instead of complaining, let's just get to the hilarious results and show you how the Bulls fared in both the player and fan voting (no Bulls received any media votes, because they shouldn't have).

Fun fact: The Bulls combined received 170,669 fan votes. That's about 5,000 less than Rockets center Clint Capela received. Their 31 combined player votes were two more than Carmelo Anthony received, so yeah.

High School Lites features several teams with long winning streaks

High School Lites features several teams with long winning streaks

High School Lites is focused on the small schools this week as the show sticks with Class 1A and Class 2A teams that you need to get familiar with before the state tournament. The show has some long winning streaks to keep an eye on as teams with 15, 14, 13 and 12-game winning streaks will all be featured on Friday night.

Be sure to catch an all-new edition of High School Lites on Friday on 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago.

Thursday

Fenger at Corliss, 6:30 p.m. -- We head to the Public League White-South for this one as Corliss hosts Fenger. Corliss (16-2, 7-0) is riding a 14-game winning streak as they've only lost to one Illinois opponent this season. Senior big man George Conditt is a major All-Area threat as the Iowa State commit is putting up massive numbers. Fenger (8-7, 2-5) has dropped three straight games as they try to earn a win over a rival to get back in the conference mix.

Friday

Aurora Christian at Mooseheart, 7:30 p.m. -- Undefeated Aurora Christian heads to Northeastern Athletic rival Mooseheart in this one. The Eagles (15-0, 5-0) are the only unbeaten team left in the area as they feature senior guard Jake Wolfe, an All-Area candidate and Lipscomb commit. Mooseheart (8-2, 4-1) is also in the midst of a solid season as they had an easy win over Alden-Hebron in their last game. 

Alden-Hebron at Westminster Christian, 7:30 p.m. -- Staying in the Northeastern Athletic, Westminster Christian hosts Alden-Hebron. The Warriors (13-3, 5-0) have won three straight games, including an important win over Mooseheart that helped keep them tied for first place with Aurora Christian. Alden-Hebron (2-13, 1-4) wil try to earn its first win in over a month.

Burlington Central at Marengo, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the better teams in the Kishwaukee Valley play here. Marengo (10-5, 1-1) is coming off a 10-day layoff after beating Genoa-Kingston on the road. Burlington Central (16-2, 3-0) has won 13 straight games as they won the Plano Christmas Classic and their own Martin Luther King event. 

Crane at Collins, 5:00 p.m. -- Two unbeatens collide in the Public League White-South in this one. Collins (11-5, 7-0) has won three of its last four as they held off Jones for a win earlier this week. Crane (11-8, 7-0) is also hot as they've won three straight games heading into this one, as they also got a win earlier this week over Clemente. 

Momence at Watseka, 7:30 p.m. -- A matchup of unbeatens teams in the Sangamon Valley in this one. Watseka (13-5, 2-0) has won four straight games as they look to take the lead in the conference. Momence (14-2, 3-0) had an 11-game winning streak snapped when they lost to Herscher on the road. 

Northridge at Latin, 6:00 p.m. -- The Independent School League's top two teams do battle in this one. Latin (12-6, 5-1) is trying to catch up with Northridge for the conference lead as they just had a major test against Niles North in a non-conference loss. Northridge (12-5, 6-0) is coming off a win earlier this week against Morgan Park Academy as they 

Beecher at St. Anne, 7:00 p.m. -- The River Valley is one of the most hotly-contested conference races in the area, as four teams sit within one game of first place. St. Anne (8-8, 5-1) currently leads the league over three other teams as they've won four of the their last five games. Beecher (9-11, 4-2) gave St. Anne its only conference loss with a 52-44 win on Nov. 30 at home. Now the Bobcats see if they can pick up the season sweep on the road.  

Christ The King at Hope Academy, 7:30 p.m. -- A Chicago Prep Red conference game in this one. Hope Academy (15-4, 1-0) has won seven of its last eight as they're one of the better small schools in the city. Christ the King (10-7, 1-1) is coming off a win over Eisenhower earlier this week as they try to gain a game on Hope Academy in the league standings. 

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

Ellison at Northtown, 6:30 p.m. -- Our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week heads to the Chicago Prep Black as two conference unbeatens play. Northtown (13-4, 1-0) has won 12 straight games since a 1-4 start as they haven't lost since Nov. 30. Ellison (9-10, 2-0) has won two straight games as they try to take the conference lead. These two teams also play a second conference game at Ellison later this season on Feb. 5.