Bulls

Benet stays perfect; awaits No. 1 Simeon

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Benet stays perfect; awaits No. 1 Simeon

Friday, Feb. 11, 2011
10:55 p.m.

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com

Benet has held up its end of the bargain.

The Redwings knocked off Notre Dame 45-37 Friday in Niles, putting their record at a perfect 25-0. They dont play again before facing top-ranked Simeon on Feb. 19 at UIC.

Simeon still has to win three tough games in the city playoffs next. But if the Wolverines pull it off, it sets up the game the fans have craved all season: undefeated No. 1 Simeon vs. undefeated No. 2 Benet.

We have been trying not to think about Simeon, just taking it one game at a time, Benet guard David Sobolewski said. But its finally here now. We havent seen them play yet, but Im sure we will watch plenty of film this week.

Benet jumped out to a 13-2 lead that it never relinquished. The Dons cut the deficit to 37-35 on a jumper from Joe Ferrici with 2:37 to play, but the Redwings responded with an 8-0 run to seal the win.

We havent let it go to our heads, Sobolewski said. I think we all forget about the undefeated thing as soon as the game starts.

Sobolewski finished with 12 points and seven-footer Frank Kaminsky led the way with 16 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. Pat Boyle added nine for Benet (25-0, 11-0 East Suburban Catholic).

I dont think we played our best game but Im pleased with the effort, Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. I think it was a very good defensive game on both sides.

Quinton Chievous led Notre Dame (18-5, 6-4) with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Rodney Pryor added 11 points and eight rebounds.

Benets unbeaten season is garnering some national recognition. USA Today ranked the Redwings No. 24 in the country on Wednesday. Simeon is No. 3.

We tried not to pay too much attention to that, Sobolewski said. A ranking is just a ranking. At the same time its nice to get that recognition.

Sobolewski missed some games in January with a back injury. While it hasnt healed completely, he said it is getting better.

It is still bothering me, Sobolewski said. But it felt a lot better tonight than it did last week.

Hes got seven days to rest up for Simeon.

Zach LaVine puts on rare scoring display in Bulls' win over Atlanta Hawks

Zach LaVine puts on rare scoring display in Bulls' win over Atlanta Hawks

On some nights, basketball can feel pretty simple. For the Bulls’ offense — a unit in desperate need of a breakout — tonight was one of those nights.

“I told him, whenever you get it, just shoot it. No matter where you at,” Coby White said of Zach LaVine (who else?) after the Bulls routed the Hawks 136-102. “It just seems like when he gets in a rhythm, he's impossible to stop.”

At present, that sentiment resonates strongly. LaVine scorched the Hawks Wednesday night to the tune of 35 points on 12-for-16 shooting, 7-for-7 from 3-point range. And he did it all in just 25 minutes, sitting the entire fourth quarter of a resounding victory that the Bulls, mercifully, polished off early.

“You know, I get it going. And I want it to stay that way,” LaVine said. “It finally got all put together… It feels good. You wanna have wins like that. It does good for the team and obviously for the body [resting the entire fourth quarter].”

Trouncing the Hawks simultaneously snaps a three-game losing streak for the team and a shooting funk for LaVine. He shot only 33.3% from the field on 19 attempts per game in the three games that comprised that losing streak — hard-fought losses to the Warriors, Heat and Raptors. The Bulls’ total margin of defeat from those three contests was eight points.

“That's what we've been trying to put together,” LaVine said of the Hawks game. “Even though we've had our losses, we’ve been competing every game, we've had stretches where we look really good, where we look like the better team. But we're coming out with the losses.”

Not so tonight. But of course, it’s facetious to call the type of display LaVine put on ‘simple’. Every NBA game, no matter what colors the competing teams sport, features the best basketball players in the world. There are no easy nights at the office in this profession.

Which makes just how easy he can make it look all the more astounding. And all the more worth appreciating.

“Zach's efficiency obviously is just unbelievable,” Jim Boylen said. “He wants to be great, and he's working, and his habits are good. So I'm happy for him.”

LaVine joins a list of only 13 players in NBA history to score 35 points in 25 minutes of play with this performance, including Ben Gordon and *drum roll* Michael Jordan. He is also the 20th player in league history to attempt seven or more 3-pointers in a game and make them all. When he’s on, it’s a spectacle. Appointment television.

But, for LaVine, the focus remains on the team. And the future.

“I don't think every game's gonna be like this, obviously,” he said. “But we need to have more of them.”

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Bulls Outsiders Podcast: LaVine drops 35 in blowout win over Hawks

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: LaVine drops 35 in blowout win over Hawks

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, John Sabine, and David Watson react to the Bulls 136-102 win over the Hawks

0:45 - Reaction to blowout win over Hawks, no cookies though?

3:30 - Viewer comments on Matt being angry, and admitting being wrong on LaVine

5:00 - Zach LaVine highlites by Big Dave

8:10 - On Denzel Valentine and the potential for starting

9:35 - Viewer comment asking for Coby White to start, Matt gets annoyed

10:05 - Viewer comment on trading for Michael Porter Jr

11:30 - Viewer comment on Denzel Valentine in 3-point contest

14:30 - Viewer comment making fun of Sabine’s Cowboys

15:15 - Viewer comment on Markkanen

17:15 - On Otto Porter Jr and missing at least another month

20:55 - Viewer comment on LaVine being the most athletic player in the NBA

23:30 - Viewer comment on Kris Dunn

24:30 - What was your life ‘It’s Over’ moment when you were overconfident?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Outsiders

Subscribe:

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.