Bulls

Word on the Street: Rodgers has Cutler's back

Word on the Street: Rodgers has Cutler's back

Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Rodgers has Cutler's back

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers got the win on Sunday, but he's still looking out for his old friend Jay Cutler.

After hearing Cutler's toughness questioned this week, Rodgers says the criticism is "very inappropriate" and "disrespectful." Rodgers also applauded Bears players for sticking up for their teammate.

Among the critics was Maurice Jones-Drew, who has since apologized for his comments of Cutler. The running back has received death threats because of his remarks, and he's upset that the media does not seem to care.

"I guess death threats towards me and my family isn't head line news but me tweeting my opinion about a person is..." Jones-Drew said on his Twitter account. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Bulls rank top 3 most valuable in NBA

The Chicago Bulls have been ranked as the third most valuable franchise in the NBA. According to Forbes, the franchise is valued at 511 million.

The Bulls fell short of the Los Angeles Lakers (643 million) and the New York Knicks. The Knicks' value rose 12 percent from 586 million to 655 million. (Chicago Tribune)

Blackhawks head to Saskatoon for preseason game

The Blackhawks are headed up north again. CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers reports that the Blackhawks will play the Edmonton Oilers in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in a preseason game on Sept. 20.

Earlier this season, the squad started off the 2010 preseason schedule against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Jonathan Toews' hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba.(CSNChicago.com)

Contador banned for 1-year?

Cycling officals in Spain proposed a one-year ban for Alberto Contador. The cyclist failed a Tour de France doping test in 2010.

If banned, Contador would lose his third Tour title because of the positive clenbuterol result he blames on contaminated meat. Plus, he'd be ineligible to compete in this year's Tour.(Chicago Tribune)

Cubs introduce new team license plate

The Chicago Cubs unveiled their own permanent license plate during a news conference featuring Tom Ricketts, Ernie Banks, and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

The Cubs are now the second Chicago team with their own permanent plates. The Chicago Blackhawks released their team plate last October.

To pre-order the 69 plate, visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Colon signs with Yankees

He's been out of the major leagues since 2009, but that couldn't stop him from getting a deal with the Yankees. The former Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon agreed to a minor league contract with the New York team.

The 37-year-old right-hander was released by the White Sox in September 2009 after going 3-6 with a 4.19 ERA in 12 starts. (Chicago Tribune)

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson react to a breakout game from Kris Dunn against the Hornets Friday night. They’ll discuss his development and how it impacts rookie Lauri Markkanen. Plus just how long will both the Wolves and Bulls be judged on the Jimmy Butler trade? Is Dwight Howard a hall of famer? And a new era in Philly with Simmons and Embiid. That and more on this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast.

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Kris Dunn did it: You can’t play that position without an edge, without some form of “basketball killer” in you. Kris Dunn showed at the very least, he has that in his DNA in his best game as a Bull with a career-high 22 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Leave it to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg to point out a forgotten stat: one turnover in 26 minutes.

“That’s the biggest thing I’m proud of,” Dunn said. “Everyone knows I’ve had a lot of careless turnovers in the season. It’s one thing I’ll take credit for.”

Dunn scored 13 with six assists in the fourth quarter alone as the Bulls outscored the Hornets 40-28 for the comeback victory. More than anything, it was his competitive spirit and aggressiveness that stood out. Kemba Walker stood across the way and gave Dunn—and the Bulls—every bit of 47 points.

“He tested my conditioning, for sure,” Dunn admitted. “He’s a great player. He’s been in the league for so long. It was good to go out there and compete with him.”

It could’ve went a different way had Walker not been bothered by Lauri Markkanen’s challenge at the rim, blowing a layup that would’ve given the Hornets the lead back with seconds remaining but he missed it and the narrative changed at least for a night.

And when teams are talking about learning experiences, it’s good to have them in a win every now and again. Markkanen’s challenge at the rim followed by his closing free throws right after, along with a quietly effective 16 points and seven rebounds, proved huge on this night.

Dunn finally having a confidence booster was imperative.

Dunn scored but it wasn’t an easy 20 or a smooth 20. It was an attacking 20, a necessary 20. He did hit some elbow jumpers, especially in the fourth as the defense laid off him.

But his biggest basket was a slithering drive to the rim for a layup with 2:24 left, because he attacked and was under control.

“That’s huge growth for Kris,” Hoiberg said. “He made the right play darn near every time he had the ball in his hands. Rose up with confidence, knocked down huge shots. Defensively got them going, got steals.”

What a relief: Nobody wanted to say it, but it bore out on the floor, the sheer desperation the Bulls played with.

Coming in with a five-game losing streak and headed out west to for four games in the next week, they were staring in the face of a possible double-digit losing streak to end November.

Confidence was sparse after three bad losses, and it’s a dangerous time for a team that will struggle to win games all season.

The United Center crowd got into it, particularly late when the Bulls began climbing back into contention to start the fourth quarter. The fans wanted this win too, even with the eyes being on a larger prize coming in mid-2018.

The relief was written all over Hoiberg’s usually-stress ridden face and he even cracked a couple jokes that weren’t aimed in his direction, as self-deprecation is normally his escape of choice.

“It is important but I asked the guys: is it hard to play with that type of effort? When you play with that type of energy and effort and swagger, it’s fun,” Hoiberg said. “When you play low energy and hang your head, it’s a drag. It’s hard to play at this level with that mentality.”

Starting change: Justin Holiday returned after his quick leave with his wife delivering a baby girl recently and his game-high 27 points showed he missed the Bulls as much as they missed his shooting, hitting four triples and going 10 for 15 from the field.

“Guys were serious about getting their jobs done,” Holiday said. “It was a lot of energy, a lot of energy, competitiveness. That’s how we have to play every night for our team to do well.”

Denzel Valentine, although he didn’t want to say it, wants to be a starter. Hoiberg chose Quincy Pondexter over him recently and then made the change Friday to insert Valentine for more scoring.

Valentine scored 18 with six assists and five rebounds in 32 minutes of run—and with those two starting as scoring options, the Bulls surpassed that seven-point first-quarter mark really early and scored 26 overall.

He hit a big triple in the fourth with 2:49 left to give the Bulls a 110-109 lead on a set play the Bulls actually executed between Valentine, Dunn as a setup man and Robin Lopez as a screen to pop Valentine open.

If he continues to hit 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip, especially with the way the Bulls have struggled to start games, he’ll have the right to feel he belongs in the first five.

“It’s definitely more confidence,” Valentine said. “You feel you’re an NBA starter, you get to go in and feel it out for a second and bring some energy to start the game.”

He didn’t mince words about starting, with a little honesty saying, “I think it’s huge being a starter.”

When asked if he felt validated by his performance and the result being a high-scoring win, it was just as telling.

“I think I deserve…I think I deserved a starting role,” Valentine said. “At the same time it’s different combinations, different people that need to be on the floor at certain times, so if he feels like I don’t need to start, I won’t start. But I feel very comfortable starting as well.”

Hack-a-Dwight: It could be Hack-a-Dwight, hack-a-Drummond, hack-a-Wilt or Shaq or Charles Shackleford.

The Bulls went to it and Howard went two of four from the line but it took a little rhythm from the Hornets and probably slowed Kemba Walker down just enough before he got cooking in the last 90 seconds and almost pulled a win out of his keister.

But…

I hate it. Get it out of the game completely.