Bulls

Konerko, Beckham power White Sox to Crosstown victory

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Konerko, Beckham power White Sox to Crosstown victory

Gordon Beckham hit a tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning Friday and the Chicago White Sox overcame the loss of star Paul Konerko to beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 in what was the final major league game for Cubs reliever Kerry Wood.Beckham's solo shot and a two-run blast from Konerko in the first were the only runs allowed by Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (4-2).Konerko suffered a laceration above his left eye and swelling when he was hit by a Samardizja pitch in the third inning and had to leave the game. He was to have more tests to determine the extent of the injury.Wood's retirement dominated the pre-game conversations as the right-hander shagged batting practice balls in the outfield with his son. After struggling with injuries over the better part of a decade and again early this season, Wood was expected to retire after one more appearance with the Cubs and he made that in the eighth after Samardzija walked Adam Dunn.Wood, who began his major league career with the Cubs in 1998 and struck out 20 Houston Astros batters in his fifth major league start, took the mound to rousing cheers. When Wood struck out Dayan Viciedo with three pitches - the only batter he faced - he was taken out as teammates congratulated him on the mound and Dunn doffed his batting helmet and clapped from first base.Wood left to a rousing standing ovation and was hugged by his son as he reached the dugout. Moments later, Wood emerged for a curtain call, waving his cap to the fans at Wrigley Field as James Russell threw warmup pitches. He played slightly more than 13 seasons, most of them in Chicago."It's time," Wood said afterward. "We all get to this point.'Konerko's 19th career homer in 66 games against the Cubs came one out after a first-inning single by Beckham and made it 2-0.

But the Cubs responded right away against Phil Humber. David DeJesus led off with a fly ball double into the ivy in left field and Tony Campana had a bunt single when Humber slipped down trying to field it. Campana then stole second before Starlin Castro's long sacrifice fly made it 2-1 and sent Campana to third. Humber then struck out Bryan LaHair and got Alfonso Soriano to fly out.Samardizja hit Konerko with a high tight pitch in the third, sending him sprawling into the dirt and eventually out of the game holding a towel to his face. The next inning, Humber threw a pitch high and behind Cubs cleanup hitter Bryan LaHair in the fourth and home plate umpire Tim Timmons issued a warning to both teams.The Cubs tied the game in the seventh when Ian Stewart led off with a single and one out later Darwin Barney doubled into the left field corner to finish Humber after just 66 pitches. Matt Thornton (2-3) came in and Samardzija promptly bounced his first pitch through the left side for an RBI single to tie the game and put runners at first and third. DeJesus popped out and so did Campana on a bunt attempt, ending the inning.Samardzija allowed six hits and three runs in 7 1-3 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.Humber allowed five hits and the two runs in 6 1-3 innings and is now 0-2 with three no-decisions since pitching a perfect game against Seattle on April 21. Addison Reed got his fourth save in as many chances with a scoreless ninth that included a double by Barney when White Sox right fielder Alex Rios lost his two-out fly ball in the sun.Cubs manager Dale Sveum was ejected in the fifth inning after arguing a call at second base with umpire Marty Foster, who was covering second on the play. DeJesus had hit a ball to left center and appeared to be safe at second but when Beckham went to make a tag he knocked DeJesus off the bag and Foster called him out.Notes: White Sox 3B Brent Morel was a late scratch with a sore back that has bothered him off and on this season. He was replaced by Eduardo Escobar ... Cubs C Geovany Soto will have surgery on a torn meniscus in his left knee and will miss three to four weeks ... The Cubs called up catcher Blake Lalli and optioned out struggling right-hander Chris Volstad, who had an 0-6 record.
Box scoreCopyright2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

Is there any better way to break in your new Black Friday television than Bulls-Warriors tonight? We think not. Coverage starts at 9 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live, and the game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports app

Here are three things to keep your eye on: 

1. Not the score. Let's be honest: the Bulls probably won't sneak out a win at the Oracle. In fact, ESPN's matchup predictor only gives Fred Hoiberg's young squad a 2.9 percent chance to come up victorious. UIC has three times better odds against juggernaut Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Sunday, in case you needed some context.  

With the talent gap in mind, though, it will be important for the Bulls to come out with high energy. The Warriors will likely take the contest lightly in the first half, so starting off strong reflects well on the coaching staff and starters. Stay within 10 points by the half, and that's considered a massive triumph. 

2. Lauri Markkanen vs. Draymond Green? Assuming the Dubs start out with Green on Markkanen, this will be rookie's biggest test of the season. Green is an elite defender, capable of wrecking gameplans from the tip. He's physical, quick and athletic. 

Markkanen is coming off two duds on the West Coast trip, but his aggressiveness hasn't wavered. It'll be important for him to continue to attack even with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year hounding him. 

3. Steph, KD and Klay doin' work. The Bulls offense hasn't exactly been a thing of beauty through the first 16 games. Their offensive rating is a brutal 94.4, ranked last in the NBA. Golden State, on the other hand, sits at the top with a rating of 113.1. 

Take some time to admire the skills of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson because when it comes to working cohesively on offense, they've set the gold standard. 

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

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USA TODAY

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.

Mitchapalooza

If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.