Cubs

Bulls stay focused, try to close out Pacers

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Bulls stay focused, try to close out Pacers

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Posted: 11:29 a.m.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

INDIANAPOLISDont talk to the Bulls about the potential impact of winning Saturdays Game 4. They dont even want to discuss it in theory.

If we start thinking about all the other things, were going to lose sight of what we need to do, said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau before Friday afternoons practice at IUPUIs (Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis) gym, The Jungle.

The big thing in this league is everybody looks at all the other stuff and thats not the way it works, said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. I think just being ready for the next game, thats enough and thats what you need to do. The next games always the hardest game in this league.

Added Derrick Rose: It feels good, but we still have one more game to play. I dont want to jinx myself by saying that were winning already, but were almost there. Weve got one more important game.

Chicago knows that despite their 3-0 series lead, the host Pacers wont exactly lay out the red carpet for them on their way to the second round. Indiana has been consistent in their primary focuslimiting Roseand after throwing a variety of defenders (including 6-foot-8 rookie Paul George, swingman Brandon Rush and Thursday, for the first time in the series, veteran Dahntay Jones) and maintaining their rough play in the paint, resulting in a 4-for-18 outing for Rose in Game 3, its likely that Pacers interim head coach Frank Vogel comes up with a few more adjustments in hopes of keeping his teams playoff run alive.

Because youre playing the same team over and over again, youre going to see a couple wrinkles here and there, but theyre not going to change who they are. That doesnt happen, said Thibodeau. Weve got to be consistent with our defense and our rebounding, and weve got to take care of the ball.
Read: Aggrey Sam's The Starting Five for Game 4 vs. the Pacers

Chimed in Joakim Noah: Weve seen a lot and I expect them to try to take the ball out of D-Roses hands and its on us to try to make plays when theres one less defender.

As for criticism that the Bulls arent winning by wide enough margins or playing an aesthetically-pleasing style, the team isnt concerned.

I dont worry about any of that stuff, said Thibodeau. I know that in the playoffs, wins are hard to come by, so you do what you have to do to win.

For a team that only has four players from last seasons 41-41 squad that barely sneaked into the postseason before being bounced in five first-round games, this is heady stuff.

Winning is important to us, more important than any of the controversies or whatever people are saying right now, said Noah. Were up 3-0, Ive never been in this position before, its very exciting and were not going to let peoples expectations get in the way of us enjoying this, enjoying the process, enjoying getting better, enjoying improving, and hopefully we can do big things.

Were going to keep the same approach, he continued. Hopefully get this series behind us and get ready for our next opponent.

If that happens to be in a sweep, all the better.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Yu Darvish thinks the Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series title

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USA Today

Yu Darvish thinks the Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series title

The Astros' sign-stealing scandal is personal for a lot of players, though it probably hits a little differently for Yu Darvish. 

Darvish was a member of the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers team that Houston beat in the World Series. Darvish didn't have his best performance in the series and when asked about the scandal, the Cubs' pitcher didn't hold back:

It's a weird feeling. Like, in the Olympics, when a player cheats, you can't have a Gold medal, right? But they still have as World Series title. That makes me feel weird. That's it. And one more thing. With [Carlos] Correra talking about [Cody] Bellinger. I saw that yesterday. So they cheat, and I think right now that they don't have to talk. They shouldn't talk like that right now.

You can watch the video of Darvish's comments, from ESPN's Jesse Rogers, it right here.

The comments took on a life of their own, as Astros' soundbytes have been known to do over the last few weeks or so. Darvish was ready for the clapback, though, and delivered a final blow to some poor 'Stros fan who thought he could compete with Darvish on twitter dot com. 

Sign a lifetime contract, Yu. Never leave us.

Related: Bryant crushes Astros for cheating scandal: 'What a disgrace that was' 

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Jason Kipnis comes home looking to write one final chapter of his career

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USA Today

Jason Kipnis comes home looking to write one final chapter of his career

Jason Kipnis, who’s potentially the Cubs’ new second baseman but indisputably the pride of Northbrook, said there’s one major reason why his possible reunion with Wrigley Field is so exciting.

“Now I don’t have to hate the 'Go Cubs Go' song,” he quipped.

Kipnis was a late addition to the Cubs’ roster, and still not even a guaranteed one at that. After almost a decade spent being one of the Cleveland Indians’ cornerstones, Kipnis arrived in Mesa on a minor league contract, looking to win a job. Ironically, being with his hometown team is unfamiliar territory for the two-time All-Star. 

“[Leaving Cleveland] was hard at first,” he said. “You get used to the same place for 9-10 years, and I think it’s a little hard right now coming in and being the new guy and being lost and not knowing where to go. But it’ll be fun. It’s exciting. It’s kind of out of the comfort zone again, which is kind of what you want right now – to be uncomfortable. I don’t know, I’ve missed this feeling a little bit, so it’ll be good.”

It was a slow offseason for the second baseman, but the second baseman said that he was weighing offers from several teams. Opportunity and organizational direction dictated most of his decision-making, but Kipnis admitted that the forces around him were all, rather unsubtly, pulling him in one direction.

“They were telling me to take a deal, take a cut, whatever. Just get here,” he joked. “... It made sense, it really did. I think I didn't fully understand it until it was announced and my phone started blowing up and I realized just how many people this impacted around my life. Friends and family still live in Chicago, so it’s going to be exciting.”

The theme of renewed motivation has hung around Sloan Park like an early-morning Arizona chill, and Kipnis said part of the reason he feels the Cubs brought him in is to set a fire under some guys. He talked with Anthony Rizzo during the offseason, who talked about how the Cubs had struggled at times to put an appropriate emphasis on each of the 162 games in a regular season. That’s not a new problem in baseball, and it struck a chord with Kipnis, who himself was on plenty of talented Cleveland teams that never got over the hump. 

“They got a good core here. I’m well aware of that, they’re well aware of that, too,” he said. “I texted him and called him and asked him what happened last year, because I look at rosters, I look at St. Louis’, I look at all that, and I’m like, ‘I still would take your guys roster.’” 

As for his direct competition, Kipnis said he hasn’t had a chance to really get to know Nico Hoerner yet, but doesn’t feel like the battle for second base has to be a contentious one by any means. At 32, Kipnis has been around long enough to understand the dynamics an aging veteran vs. a top prospect, and doesn't feel like it’s a situation where only one of them will end up benefiting. 

“I know he came up and had a pretty good success, so I think [it’s] going to be a competition, but at the same time, I’m not going to try to put him down,” he said. “I’d like to work with him, kind of teach him what I know too and hopefully both of us become better from it.”