Bulls

Lions are a messand they know it

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Lions are a messand they know it

DETROIT -- The Bears held on to defeat the Lions 26-24 at Ford Field, but didnt get the help they needed from the Packers -- who lost to the Vikings -- and will not make the playoffs. While the city of Chicago searches for answers, the people of Detroit also are left wondering how the Lions went from a 10-6 playoff team in 2011 to a 4-12 mess just a year later.
Its tough, Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. You feel like you were turning the corner as a franchise and for the people and for the city and the fans. Its frustrating to let down the guys in the locker room, but for me its more frustrating to let down the fans.
Lions guard Rob Sims couldnt wrap his head around his team's eight-game losing streak.
It does blow my mind, Sims told CSNChicago.com. Matthew Stafford was missing a lot of his weapons for a good part of that time. We couldnt fix it.
It seemed like the pile of Detroit losses was just starting to sink in for defensive end Cliff Avril.
Thats crazy, Avril said. To not have a won a game in two months is tough."
In Week 9, both the Lions and Bears had their biggest blowout wins of the year. Chicago crushed Tennessee by 31 to move to 7-1, while Detroit throttled Jacksonville by 17 , pushing their record to 4-4. The Bears would lose five of their next six games before getting things back on track with back-to-back wins to close out the regular season. The Lions, on the other hand, lost eight straight to finish a dismal 4-12.
In the end the Lions and the Bears just werent good enough this season. Whether a 10-win team that failed to make the playoffs or a four-win team that failed to make the playoffs, you are still on the outside looking in.
Is Schwartz the right fit in Detroit?
My opinion, Jim Schwartz is a real good mixture of being a smart coach and an emotional coach, Vanden Bosch said. I think he understands what players need and this year, for whatever reason, as a group we didnt respond the way we needed to.
There were conflicting job security reports on Schwartz prior to Sundays loss to the Bears, but afterwards his players seemed to still believe he was the right guy to lead them out of their recent slumber.
I think hes a great coach, Sims said. Hes an improving coach, I think well all band together. Once in a while you can hit a bump in the road.
Lions wide receiver Brian Robiskie, who had two catches for 30 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, summed everything up.
Last year we were in it, this year didnt go our way, he told CSNChicago.com. We know we have the pieces to make things work, we just have to get it turned around and get it going.
Melton is no clown to all Lions
Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team earlier in the week and took some criticism from Lions center Dominic Raiola. While Raiola did not speak on the record following Sundays loss, one of his teammates on the offensive line chimed in.
I wouldnt say Melton is spectacular, but hes an emerging player, Sims told CSNChicago.com. I think what he gets he deserves. In the beginning of the week he was running his mouth a little bit too much and we didnt like that.
Better luck next year
So what does Avril think about the Packers and Vikings being at the top of the division and in the playoff discussion, while Detroit is not?
I dont care about them, Avril said. I want to win. I want to get to be one of those teams. It sucks that we werent a part of it.
I think thats something all fans of non-playoff teams, in the Motor City or the Windy City, can agree on.

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.