Preps Talk

Packers win war of words with Bears on the field

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Packers win war of words with Bears on the field

To say there was a little chatter off the field leading up to Sundays Bears-Packers game would be an understatement. Packers tight end Jermichael Finley made it known he thought the Bears may be better without Brian Urlacher. Lance Briggs responded by calling Finley "an idiot."With all the talk prior to kickoff, would there be any words left for smack-talking on the field?I didnt hear nothing, Finley said. The trash talking is in the papers, but when you touch the grass its all business.Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who caught six balls and scored a touchdown in the Packers' 21-13 win, also made it a point to call out Packers defensive backs Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson earlier in the week. Woodson was sidelined while still recovering from a broken collarbone, Williams did a solid job containing Marshall most of the afternoon.We just won the game, Williams said I aint worrying about no comments. Comments dont play the game, we played the game. We won the game.Williams was backed up in the secondary by nickelback Sam Shields, something Shields continued off the field."Marshall do all the talking in the paper, we do it on the field," Shields said.
Even though he didnt play, Woodson had a little jab for the Bears too.I think those guys would like to be where we're at, but they're not, Woodson said. Bottom line. I love beating the Bears"Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji has been known to be a little mouthy since joining the oldest rivalry in the NFL, which was played for the 186th time on Sunday. But he still has respect for Marshall and the Bears."Brandon is a good guy, he's a good player," Raji told CSNChicago.com. "It wasn't the first time he was talking and it won't be the last. Our guys weren't worried about that. We've been here before. We came with a focus of wanting to win this game and clinch the division and we did exactly that."That sentiment was shared by left tackle Marshall Newhouse."It's always a tough game to play them, but we played them hard," Newhouse told CSNChicago.com. "There was some stuff pregame, people talking back and forth, but when it comes down to it you have to come to play and show it with your pads."Clearly the Packers handled themselves when they strapped it on and ran out the tunnel on Sunday, winning 21-13 and clinching the NFC North division."That's what we all wanted," Packers defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said. "When you're playing the Bears it's a good chance for us to win a division and kind of push them down.

IHSA Football Playoff Pairings Show Roundup

IHSA Football Playoff Pairings Show Roundup

CLASS 1A

Revealing the Class 1A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 1A Bracket

CLASS 2A

Revealing the Class 2A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 2A Bracket

CLASS 3A

Revealing the Class 3A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 3A Bracket

CLASS 4A

Revealing the Class 4A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 4A Bracket

Predicting Class 1A-4A

CLASS 5A

Revealing the Class 5A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 5A Bracket

CLASS 6A

Revealing the Class 6A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 6A Bracket

CLASS 7A

Revealing the Class 7A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 7A Bracket

CLASS 8A

Revealing the Class 8A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 8A Bracket

Class 7A and Class 8A Predictions

 

In ugly home opener, Lauri Markkanen gives a glimmer of hope

In ugly home opener, Lauri Markkanen gives a glimmer of hope

Keeping the game simple is often a tough task for rookies entering the NBA, but it seems Lauri Markkanen has been a quick learner in that aspect.

Through two games he’s probably the lone bright spot, especially after the Bulls’ cringe-inducing 87-77 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in their home opener at the United Center.

Jumper not falling? Okay, go to the basket.

“It wasn’t falling so I tried to get to the rim a couple times,” Markkanen said. “At the end, I was like let’s do it and I connected on a 3-pointer, I felt more open just because I was at the rim. I think that helped.”

He was asked what the difference was in the second game of his career compared to the first.

“I mean the crowd was chanting for us (tonight),” Markkanen said, referring to Thursday in Toronto.

He wasn’t attempting to display any dry wit but applying common sense seems to work for him, even though he’s been thrust into a situation after an incident that doesn’t make any sense.

With Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic out for the foreseeable future, playing a game-high 37 minutes will be more common than anomaly.

“Whatever your minutes are, you gotta play them to the best of your ability,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s being allowed to play through some mistakes right now. He’s gonna play heavy minutes every night.”

He only shot five of 14 but achieved his first double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds after a 17-point, eight-rebound debut against the Raptors Thursday.

No, someone didn’t open a door for a draft to come into the United Center on that three-pointer that went wide left, but it didn’t stop him from being assertive and continuing to look for his shot.

There was plenty of muck, easy to see on the stat sheet. The 38 percent shooting overall, the lack of penetration, the 29 percent shooting from 3-point range and 20 turnovers.

It’s not hard to imagine what Markkanen will look like with competent and effective NBA players around him, along with a true facilitating point guard that will find him in this offense.

“Markkanen is a wonderful player,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s aggressive, he’s smart and obviously, he can shoot the ball. He’s just going to get better and better as he figures things out.”

He received a crash course, facing the likes of Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay Saturday night. On one instance, Gay drove baseline and made Markkanen buckle with a 3-point play.

Aldridge had 24 shots in 32 minutes as a new focal point with Kawhi Leonard out with injury.

So he’s not getting treated with kid gloves, nor is he backing down from the assignments.

“He didn’t shoot the ball well but he battled,” Hoiberg said. “He had a tough assignment with Pau, who’s gonna be in the Hall of Fame one day. Good experience. He guarded Aldridge, Rudy Gay some. He battled, he fought them.”

Even with the airball, had the moment that gives the Bulls fans hope, when he drove on Gasol, spun and hooked a lefty layup while being fouled by the veteran in the first half—giving the United Center faithful something to have faith in for a moment.

“Sometimes you get labeled as a shooter. That’s the label Lauri had,” Hoiberg said. “But he really is a complete basketball player. He’s versatile, he can put in on the deck. He slides his feet very well for a guy that’s seven feet tall, someone his age. Yeah, he’s learning on the fly. He’s gonna have ups and downs, as young as he is. He’s gonna have some struggles at times. But he’s played pretty darn well for everything he’s been through, understanding two days ago he’s gonna be in the starting lineup.”

And for all the bad air around the Bulls right now, from the on-court product to the off-court drama that seems to follow them around like Pigpen, it would be even worse if Markkanen’s first two games had him looking like a corpse, or someone who would be a couple years away from reasonably contributing to an NBA team.

“He’s good, he’s very good,” Gasol said. “I like him. I like his game.”