Bulls

Thibodeau concludes no-call saga, gives Rip update

950841.png

Thibodeau concludes no-call saga, gives Rip update

CLEVELANDBy the end of Wednesday night, he was over it. But before his team faced off with the Cavaliers in a game they eventually won, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau had one last comment about Tuesday nights controversial no-call in the waning seconds of the home loss to Indiana.Its an interpretation play. It was a tough play, bang-bang. I thought with verticality, its straight up and so, its a judgment call. It went against us, got to move on, he said. I didnt think it was the officialsit could go either way.Im going to leave that alone, Thibodeau continued when asked if he asked for the league office to review the play. Were up four, three minutes to go. Weve got to close better.
Thibodeau also provided a brief update on the status of veteran shooting guard Rip Hamilton, who missed his second straight game with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot.Hes still day-to-day, getting better each day, the coach said of Hamilton, who traveled with the team to Cleveland. But hes probably going to be a week or two.

Just as we all predicted, two rookies stole the show in L.A.

blakeney.jpg
USA TODAY

Just as we all predicted, two rookies stole the show in L.A.

There's not often hype surrounding a game between two of the NBA's worst teams, but Tuesday's Bulls-Lakers matchup was intriguing to many because it offered a chance to see a pair of top rookies compete. 

Oh, but you didn't think we meant Lonzo Ball and Lauri Markkanen, did you?

Nah, it was two different, less-touted first-year players that ended up stealing the spotlight at the Staples Center. 

Kyle Kuzma and Antonio Blakeney may not be household names, but they sure played like they were in the Bulls' 103-94 loss. 

Kuzma, the Lakers rook drafted 27th overall, has been a spark for Luke Walton's squad all season long. Boasting a terrific scoring arsenal, the Utah product carried the load for the Lakers' offense in the first half, dropping 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting. He finished the game as L.A.'s leading scorer with 22 in 40 minutes. But if you still need a more in-depth scouting report on Kuzma, just let Lonzo break it down:  

More importantly for Bulls fans, though, was the play of their undrafted guard who's signed to a two-way deal. 

Blakeney, the unofficial Summer League MVP, came off the bench on Tuesday and immediately left his mark on the game. The 21-year-old out of LSU posted 15 in the first half, finishing through contact as well as connecting on outside jumpers. 

Blakeney's shooting isn't reliable quite yet, but his energy has clearly influenced Hoiberg's rotation. The guard went from playing one NBA minute in the Bulls' first 11 games to playing 75 in the last four. Given that his two-way deal allows him to only spend 45 days with the team, it'll be fascinating to see how creative Gar Forman and John Paxson will get with his contract if this type of production continues. 

In a season that's obviously going to have its share of rough moments, an offseason flyer hitting is a huge plus for the rebuild. 

As for the recognized rookies, Lonzo's shooting woes persisted and Markkanen had maybe his worst offensive performance of his young Bulls career. Combined, they finished 7-for-30 with 21 points. Not ideal. 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

justin.png

White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.