Big Ten

Word on the street: Heat break Jordan-era Bulls record

Word on the street: Heat break Jordan-era Bulls record

Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010
CSNChicago.com
Heat-Celtics opener breaks Bulls record

It may have only been game one of a long 82 game season, and the Heat may have lost the game, but they have already surpassed one of the Chicago Bulls long-standing records from the Jordan era. Last night's regular season opener between the Heat and Celtics drew a record 7.4 million viewers, surpassing the previous record of 7.27 million for a Bulls-Lakers game in February 1996. However, nine more performances like last night's will keep the other Jordan-era record safe for another year. (The New York Times)

Toews featured in Men's Health

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is a StanleyCcup champion, a Conn Smythe award winner, and now he's a model of fitness according to Men's Health magazine. Toews is featured in an article called "Are you 'Men's Health' Fit," cited as an athlete who displays a "unique combination of speed, strength, power, and agility."

The article provides workout secrets from Toews as well as San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, UFC fighter Josh Koscheck, and Ironman world champion Craig Alexander. (Men's Health)

Bulls name captains

Prior to their Wednesday night regular season opener, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau named the new team captains for the 2010 season. Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, and Luol Deng were all bestowed the honor.

"I'm not as concerned about the naming of captains as I am about leadership," Thibodeau said. "To me, those four are our leaders. That's really what I'm looking for." (ChicagoBreakingSports)
NHL, Officials reach 4-year agreement

The National Hockey League board of governors and the NHL Officials Association have come to an agreement on a new four-year labor deal that will last through the 2013-2014 season. The deal was finally agreed upon on Oct. 4 after the officials worked the entire preseason without a labor contract in place.

"We are pleased to have reached a new agreement with our officials," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. "We look forward to working closely with our officials to ensure that the quality of our game continues to be the best that it can be." (Miami Herald)

Cubs' Jackson shows health

After being sidelined by an ankle injury suffered in Puerto Rico while playing for Team USA earlier this month, Brett Jackson, the Cubs No. 1 draft pick in 2009, has returned to the field in the Arizona Fall League. In his third game back Jackson hit a two run single, promptly stole second base, then scored on a base hit, showing the health of his ankle. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Bulls to sign Beverly?

Rumors are beginning to spread that the Bulls may look to sign Patrick Beverly. Beverly was the second-round (42nd overall) draft pick of the Lakers in the 2009 draft but decided to stay in Europe. He was traded to the Heat in a draft-night deal and now finds himself job-less after being cut by the Heat on Monday. (SBNation)

Martz changing the game plan?

It looks like Mike Martz may be tweaking the Bears offensive game plan before next Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills. Martz said Wednesday that the offense is beginning to get more comfortable with his style of offense and he feels they have made great strides just in the last three weeks.

"Those are things now that they're more comfortable with than maybe they weren't as comfortable with before. As we move on, there are things that maybe we can be a little more complex and move in and out of as we need them," said Martz. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Notre Dame student dies filming practice

A Notre Dame student died Wednesday after a tower used to tape football practices toppled over. The 21-year-old man was atop the hydraulic scissor lift when it fell. He was transported to a South Bend hospital, where he later died. Notre Dame says they will not identify the student until they are able to notify his family. (Fanhouse)

Illini play freshman quarterback Cam Thomas for first time, but still fall at Minnesota

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USA TODAY

Illini play freshman quarterback Cam Thomas for first time, but still fall at Minnesota

While Saturday's trip to the Twin Cities featured some more of the same for the Fighting Illini, it marked important step in Lovie Smith's rebuilding project.

Freshman quarterback Cam Thomas, a Marian Catholic product, saw action for the first time in his collegiate career, Smith busting out a new option at the game's most important position. Thomas threw a nasty pick six, but he did lead Illinois in rushing in a 24-17 loss at Minnesota.

Thomas only made four throws, completing two of them and landing a third in the hands of a Minnesota defender, but his play injected a bit of excitement into what's looking like another dreadful season of Illinois football, with Smith's team falling to 2-5 through the first seven games of his second season at the helm of the program. Thomas mostly starred with his feet Saturday, rushing for a team-high 79 yards in the defeat.

His first appearance came following the first of the Illinois' defense's three takeaways. Thomas ran for a nine-yard gain on his first carry, and the Illini tied the game with a touchdown on the next play. Thomas was interchanged with starting quarterback Jeff George Jr. from there on out.

While the Illini defense kept the Gophers at bay for much of the day thanks to those three takeaways, P.J. Fleck's team had no trouble racking up rushing yardage, finishing with a whopping 292 rushing yards. Minnesota engineered a 12-play, 75-yard drive in the fourth quarter exclusively running the ball to break a 10-all tie and go up 17-10.

Thomas threw a pick six on the very next play from scrimmage, sending the Gophers up 24-10 to effectively seal the deal. George led an Illinois touchdown drive on the next possession, but the Illini couldn't make up the suddenly big gap in the limited amount of time.

Illinois finished with only 282 yards of offense. George was 18-for-23 for 128 yards and a touchdown. Ra'Von Bonner carried the ball 18 times for 57 yards and a touchdown.

The defeat dropped the Illini to 2-5 on the season and 0-4 in conference play. One of just two teams without a Big Ten win (Indiana is the other), Illinois faces off against a top-10 Wisconsin team next weekend.

Bulls' Bobby Portis publicly apologizes to Nikola Mirotic: 'I'm wrong for what I did'

Bulls' Bobby Portis publicly apologizes to Nikola Mirotic: 'I'm wrong for what I did'

Bobby Portis publicly issued an apology to Nikola Mirotic for the punch that broke two bones in Mirotic’s face and caused a concussion earlier this week.

Portis was suspended eight games by the NBA while Mirotic will be out 4-6 weeks after he goes through concussion protocol, following an incident in Tuesday’s practice where the tensions boiled over between the two power forwards.

“I'm wrong for what I did. I want to publicly apologize to Niko,” said Portis outside the Bulls locker room at the United Center, hours before the home opener against the San Antonio Spurs. “I feel like I let my fans, the Bulls organization, and most importantly my teammates down. This is not who Bobby Portis is.”

Sticking to clear talking points, repeatedly saying “we were competing” as a way to describe the incident, it was a more toned down version of Portis. Portis is usually colorful and engaging when talking to the media.

Saturday, he was muted, almost robotic in a sense. And he didn’t want to go into the incident in detail, one that many sources have said was instigated by Mirotic as the two were going back and forth physically during several possessions.

The play before, things intensified, causing assistant coach Randy Brown to step in and break things up. The next time downcourt, Mirotic apparently charged at Portis and Portis responded with one punch that sent Mirotic to the floor.

Gently choosing his words, Portis said, “We were competing and kinda went back and forth and things happened.”

When asked if he was shoved, Portis reiterated the two were competing although numerous accounts say Mirotic did push him leading up to the direct incident.

“Yes I was surprised by my own action,” Portis said. “That's not who I was, as I first stated. I'm a competitor at the end of the day but I never meant to hurt my teammate.”

Portis and Mirotic have not yet spoken, although Portis said he’s called and texted Mirotic with no response. It hasn’t been determined whether Mirotic will take legal action on Portis.

“Not concerned with that at this point,” Portis said. “At this point I’m just trying to publicly apologize to Niko and my teammates, and that I’m real sincere about the situation.”

Portis will be allowed to practice during his suspension, having returned Friday and Portis believes things can be mended with he and his teammate.

“Going forward I want to make sure that me and Niko are cool and we can be teammates again,” Portis said. “I'm pretty sure we can. We just have to repair this relationship.”

Justin Holiday said the issue will have to be addressed head on as opposed to being swept under the rug or letting the element of time naturally heal things. Whether that conversation is initiated by teammates or the coaching staff or front office, as long as both are wearing a Bulls uniform, it will be necessary.

“It hasn’t been arranged, but I’m pretty sure we’ll have to talk it out,” Portis said. “And I’m pretty sure it will be a gentle conversation. I’m pretty sure we can get past this.”