Bulls

Bears schedule: Titans loom before tough stretch

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Bears schedule: Titans loom before tough stretch

Ugly wins count as well as pretty ones and the Bears kept a two-step NFC North lead on Green Bay with their come-from-behind win over Carolina while Minnesota also lost.

After the trip to Tennessee, the Bears move into the toughest quarter of their season (Houston, at San Francisco, Minnesota, Seattle). But taking care of the Titans would bump the record to 7-1 while the division rivals struggle to stay within reach and hoping for a Chicago collapse.

Indianapolis Colts (4-3) W 41-21
Balanced identity established with 33-35 run pass ratio and O runs up 428 yards with Jay Cutler throwing for 333 yards and 2 TDs to go with rushing TDs by Michael Bush (2) and Matt Forte (1) as part of 122 rushing yards.

@ Green Bay Packers (5-3) L 23-10
Jay Cutler berates offensive linemen on national TV for seven sacks; linemen just have to accept Cutlers four INTs apparently. Embarrassing offensive performance all around as defense holds Aaron Rodgers and Pack to 3 FGs and one TD.

St. Louis Rams (3-5) W 23-6
Defense sacks Sam Bradford six times and holds Rams out of the end zone. Offense scores only one TD for the second week in a row and Jay Cutler continues to find a groove with receivers.

@ Dallas Cowboys (3-4) W 34-18
Five interceptions of Tony Romo, two returned for TDs (Briggs, Tillman) and a workmanlike 360 yards on offense produce a crucial road win on MNF.

@ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) W 41-3
Bears offense runs up 501 balanced yards (214 rush, 287 pass) and explodes after a sluggish first half. Briggs and Tillman make NFL history with TD interceptions for second straight week and Brandon Marshall puts up 144 yards on 12 catches.

Sun., Oct. 14 Off week

vs. Detroit Lions (3-4) W 13-7
Jay Cutler sacked five times and survives Ndamukong Suhs WWF takedown. Bears RBs net 132 yards as run game clicks. Offense cant put Lions away but Charles Tillman D on Calvin Johnson locked him into a 2nd Pro Bowl.

vs. Carolina Panthers (1-6) W 23-22
Robbie Gould 41-yard FG as time expires caps 16-point fourth quarter and rally from 19-7 deficit. Offense and defense struggle badly for three quarters but Kellen Davis catches TD pass and Tim Jennings TD return to turn back Cam Newton and reeling Ron Rivera team.

@ Tennessee Titans (3-5) Sun., Nov. 4, noon
Titans never trail until Colts score winning TD in OT to end two-game win streak for Tennessee. Matt Hasselbeck keeps playing well, 22-for-29 passing for 236 yards and a TD. Titans defense still most scored-on in NFL by wide margin; Colts (19) first opponent held under 23 points. Next: BEARS

Houston Texans (6-1) Sun., Nov. 11, 7:20 p.m
Off last week. Next: Buffalo

@ San Francisco 49ers (6-2) Mon., Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Beating Arizona gives Jim Harbaughs group a two-game lead in the NFC West. Swarming 3-4 defense makes Alex Smith a winning QB. Next: Off

Minnesota Vikings (5-3) Sun., Nov. 25, noon
Fast start has given way to freefall after losses to Washington and Tampa Bay in last three weeks. Doug Martin nets 214 combined yards. Adrian Peterson is working; Christian Ponder, not so well. On the road vs. Seahawks will be a struggle. Next: @ Seattle

Seattle Seahawks (4-4) Sun., Dec. 2, noon
Seahawks lose second straight despite leading most of the game. Lions convert 12 of 16 third downs and Seattle cant stop Matthew Stafford winning TD pass in final 20 seconds. Next: vs. Minnesota

@ Minnesota Vikings (5-3) Sun., Dec. 9, noon

Green Bay Packers (5-3) Sun., Dec. 16, noon
Without WRs Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, Packers still handle Jaguars to keep the Bears in sight in the NFC North. Packers have won three straight by nine or more points and schedule is softer but injuries mounting. Next: vs. Arizona

@ Arizona Cardinals (4-4) Sun., Dec. 23, 3:15 p.m.
Spiral reaches four straight with MNF home loss to San Francisco. 4-0 start now just a blip as QB, OL problems wont go away but Cardinals are. Next: @ Green Bay

@ Detroit Lions (3-4) Sun., Dec. 30, noon
Matthew Stafford directs comeback win without heavy production from Calvin Johnson again. Next: @ Jacksonville

Dunc'd on Podcast floats Robin Lopez to Rockets trade idea

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USA TODAY

Dunc'd on Podcast floats Robin Lopez to Rockets trade idea

On Tuesday’s episode of the Dunc’d On Podcast, Nate Duncan and Danny Leroux discussed the idea of the Houston Rockets trading for Bulls center Robin Lopez.

This comes in part because of the news that Clint Capela will miss up to six weeks with ligament damage in his thumb and Houston could certainly use a fill-in at the center position.

Duncan and Leroux did not suggest any hyper-specific trades but Leroux suggested the framework of the possible deal as:

“I had floated the idea of them trading Brandon Knight and an asset for Robin Lopez, not because Lopez is a perfect fit though he is a capable center and there is some value in that, but also because it’s a way for the Rockets to get off of 2019-20 money”

The Rockets have oft-discussed issues with the amount of money on their books but it costs to be a winning team, and Houston has found a way to succeed even after not extending contracts to defensive-minded forwards Trevor Ariza and Luc Richard Mbah Moute last offseason.

At the time of this writing, Houston is sitting at 25-18, good for fourth in the Western Conference, an amazing turnaround after their rough start to the season. But even with all of their recent James Harden-led success, the Rockets still rank 26th in the league in defensive efficiency, a worse rating than the 10-34 Bulls.

Lopez, while not the the traditional rim-runner or floor-spacing big man that the Rockets would usually go after, still provides a huge defensive upgrade over any big on their roster not named Clint Capela.

Per NBA.com, opponents are shooting 7.1 percent worse when defended by Lopez, a testament to how good he is at using his length to frustrate scorers at the rim, and occasionally on midrange closeouts. Of course, he is too slow-footed to play in a switching defensive system, but the Rockets have not went to that strategy as much as they have in past years.

If the Bulls do decide to use their cap space to acquire draft assets rather than going after free agents, the Rockets-Bulls deal floated by the Dunc’d on Podcast makes a TON of sense.

Brandon Knight, the oft-injured 27-year old guard, still has some promise despite was has been an awful stinit in Houston. He has said all the right things, and by all accounts seems like a great guy who has just had some awful luck with injuries. And it is important to remember, this is a guard who as recently as the 2015-16 season, was putting up 19.6 PPG.

Knight is certainly thankful just to have a chance to prove himself again on the NBA stage.

Houston is gearing up for the stretch run. And Lopez would be perfect to be stationed right in the middle of the paint as the Rockets defensive anchor until Capela is 100 percent.

Another interesting note--though Mike D’Antonio, Daryl Morey and co. definitely aren’t as concerned about it--is that Lopez is shooting a (obviously) career-high 0.9 3-point attempts per 36 minutes, while hitting them at a 28.6 percent rate.

His brother Brook has notoriously turned himself into one of the NBA’s premier 3-point shooting centers, taking 8.7 attempts from 3-point range while hitting 37.8 percent of them. Now no one is expecting Robin to turn into Brook overnight, but on a team that leads the league with 43.3 3-point attempts per game, there is precedent for Lopez to become an interesting (last-ditch) pick-and-pop option, considering how skilled he is at screening combined with the offensive gravity of Harden.

The Rockets are the same team that reportedly offered four-first round picks in an effort to get Jimmy Butler, so it is not insane to think that the Bulls would be able to extract a first-round pick for the Rockets as long as they were willing to take money back.

Former Blackhawks Stanley Cup champion Brandon Bollig announces retirement

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AP

Former Blackhawks Stanley Cup champion Brandon Bollig announces retirement

A former Blackhawks Stanley Cup champion has decided to hang up the skates.

Brandon Bollig officially announced his retirement in an Instagram post after five seasons in the NHL, three of which came in Chicago.

"Thank you to the game of Ice Hockey for the wonderful experience, countless memories and valuable lessons," Bollig wrote. "You’ve made me the person I am today and I’ll be forever grateful. I have officially retired."

Bollig signed with the Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent in 2010, but didn't make his team debut until the 2011-12 campaign. In three seasons in Chicago, he accumulated 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 125 games and 201 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 24 playoff contests, where he recorded a goal and an assist, and was a part of the 2013 championship-winning team.

Bollig was traded for a third-round pick in the summer of 2014 to the Calgary Flames, where he spent his final two seasons in the league. He signed a one-year, two-way contract with the San Jose Sharks for the 2017-18 season, but never received a call-up and was later traded to the Nashville Predators organization.

Bollig was known for being an agitator and great teammate, sticking up for them on the ice whenever the chance presented itself. But he was also known for being a jokester.

So let's never forget the time he tried to imitate Patrick Kane's viral stickhandling video and send him off into the sunset by reliving it:

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