White Sox

CSN's Blackhawks-Coyotes Game 4 coverage to begin at 5:00 PM Thursday LIVE from the UC

CSN's Blackhawks-Coyotes Game 4 coverage to begin at 5:00 PM Thursday LIVE from the UC

MEDIA ALERT

COMCAST SPORTSNET TO START ITS STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS ROUND 1GAME 4 BLACKHAWKS-COYOTES COVERAGE AT
5:00 PM THURSDAY NIGHT LIVE FROM THE UNITED CENTER

Chicago Tribune Live (5:00 PM), SportsNet Central (6:00 PM) and
Blackhawks Pre-Game Live (6:30 PM) to all air live from the United Center!

Chicago, IL (April 18, 2012) -- Comcast SportsNet, the exclusive local television home for every Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Playoffs first round match-up vs. the Phoenix Coyotes, has announced enhanced surrounding coverage for Game 4 on Thursday night, April 19 as Chicago Tribune Live presented by Captain Morgan, SportsNet Central presented by AT&T U-Verse and Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live will all take place LIVE from the United Center beginning at 5:00 PM.

Blackhawks-Coyotes Game 4 face-off action featuring Comcast SportsNets Blackhawks announcing tandem of Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk gets underway live at 7:00 PM. In addition, Comcast SportsNets comprehensive website, CSNChicago.com, will provide fans with even more exclusive Blackhawks Stanley Cup Playoffs content including:

LIVE stream of Blackhawks head coach Joel Quennevilles post-game press conference
CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers will be at the UC filing stories and video before and after the game, plus Myers will provide up-to-the-second Tweets via @TraMyersCSN, as well as CSNs Blackhawks studio analyst Chris Boden (@CSNBoden) throughout the gameseries.
New-look Blackhawks team page highlighted by latest news, player interviews, highlights, video and more...Game highlights also available on CSNChicago.com during and following every game.
Blackhawks Talk (@HawksTalkCSN) also offers news, views and analysis from Myers, Boden and Blackhawks analyst Steve Konroyd.
Viewers are also encouraged to submit their Twitter questionscomments to our Jose Cuervo Blackhawks Post Game Live team by utilizing the hashtag: HawksPGL

Note Comcast SportsNets programming line-up for Blackhawks-Coyotes Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1Game 4 coverage on Thursday night, April 19:

5:00 PM Chicago Tribune Live presented by Captain Morgan (LIVE from the United Center featuring host David Kaplan, Tribune writers, special guests & more)

6:00 PM SportsNet Central presented by AT&T U-Verse (LIVE from the United Center featuring anchors Pat Boyle & Mark Schanowski with the latest Blackhawks news, game previews, interviews & more)

6:30 PM Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live (LIVE from the United Center featuring hosts Chris Boden & Steve Konroyd, along with the latest pre-game news and interviews from Sarah Kustok & CSNChicago.coms Tracey Myers)

7:00 PM CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS vs. PHOENIX COYOTES (Stanley Cup Playoffs, Round 1Game 4)

9:30 PM Jose Cuervo Blackhawks Post Game Live (time approx.) (featuring Joel Quennevilles live post-game press conference, post-game player reaction, highlights, comprehensive analysis and more)
10:00 PM & 10:30 PM GMC SportsNet Central (time approx.) (live, comprehensive Game 4 recap, highlights, interviews and much more from the day in sports)

11:00 PM Chicago Tribune Live presented by Captain Morgan (replay of 5:00 PM telecast)

12:00 AM SportsNet Central presented by CLR (live telecast)

12:30 AM Blackhawks vs. Coyotes (Game 4 replay)

White Sox free-agent focus: Josh Donaldson

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USA TODAY

White Sox free-agent focus: Josh Donaldson

This week, we’re profiling some of the biggest names on the free-agent market and taking a look at what kind of fits they are for the White Sox.

The White Sox third baseman of the future is?

That's a question without an answer at the moment, with the long-term prognosis for the hot corner a mystery in the wake of a pair of Achilles tears suffered by 2017 first-round pick Jake Burger earlier this year. There were already questions floating around, though not necessarily inside the White Sox organization, about whether the heavy-hitting Burger could play third base on a regular basis. Now, thanks to those injuries, those questions have been amplified.

Yolmer Sanchez is coming off a disappointing season offensively and doesn't appear to be a long-term solution. Yoan Moncada might move over there this spring considering that middle infielder Nick Madrigal (this year's first-round choice) could be quickly making his way toward the majors. Past that, though, there's not a surefire third-base prospect like there are at many other positions throughout the White Sox farm system.

And so attention has naturally turned to external solutions. Colorado Rockies MVP candidate Nolan Arenado is a free agent next winter, and plenty of fans have their sights on adding him as the finishing piece this rebuilding effort needs to vault the White Sox into the realm of perennial contenders. But this winter has its own multi-time All-Star third baseman in Josh Donaldson. Any takers?

The focus has been on the South Siders' reported interest in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the two biggest fish in this free-agency pond, but don't forget Donaldson is just three years removed from an MVP campaign with the Toronto Blue Jays, when he slashed .297/.371/.568 with 41 home runs and 123 RBIs. Donaldson's got four top-eight MVP finishes to his name, including the win in 2015. Harper and Machado have three top-eight MVP finishes combined, including Harper's win in 2015.

In an insanely productive four-year stretch from 2013 to 2016, Donaldson slashed .284/.375/.518 with 131 homers and 413 RBIs.

But it's the last two seasons, heretofore unmentioned, that have made Donaldson less attractive than the Harpers, Machados and Arenados of the world. He played in only 113 games in 2017, still smacking 33 home runs and driving in 78 runs in that injury-shortened season. Then last season, he played in only 52 games, getting dealt from Toronto to the Cleveland Indians late in the summer. Though 52 games is hardly enough to judge a season on — let alone a player's future performance — his numbers plummeted, his slash line dipping to .246/.352/.449 and his home-run total to just eight.

Whether or not teams believe Donaldson's best days are behind him thanks to a pair of injury-riddled seasons remains to be seen. But one inarguable fact is his age. He'll be 33 on Opening Day 2019. Does that line up with the White Sox long-term plans? Not as well as the 27-year-old Arenado, of course. But Arenado's going to be a popular guy next winter, so would it be wise to put all the eggs in the Arenado basket?

Donaldson might not fit in the White Sox contention window, but he's got one heck of a track record and could bring some big-time production to whichever lineup he joins for 2019.

Zach LaVine's offensive struggles begin with his deficiencies at the rim

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USA TODAY

Zach LaVine's offensive struggles begin with his deficiencies at the rim

Through the NBA’s first three weeks there wasn’t a better player at attacking the rim than Zach LaVine. The 23-year-old looked spry, healthy and aggressive, and was drawing fouls at a rate that would have made even James Harden blush.

Well, LaVine has hit his first speed bump of the 2018-19 season. With Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis all on the mend (had you heard those three players were injured?) LaVine has taken on a ridiculous burden of leading the Bulls offense; he’s currently second in the NBA in usage, behind only James Harden and Russell Westbrook and ahead of names like Giannis, LeBron, Curry, Embiid and Durant.

For three weeks that was fine. LaVine was hitting everything in sight, passing like we hadn’t seen since his rookie season when he played primarily point guard, and attacking the basket, ranking near the top of the league in trips to the free throw line.

LaVine was shooting a wild 69.6 percent on 8.0 attempts per game inside 5 feet through Oct. 29, third among guards to only Donovan Mitchell (73% on 6.2 attempts) and Devin Booker (70.8% on 6.0 attempts). To put those numbers in perspective, LaVine ranked just ahead of Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook in the category.

It’s where LaVine was at his best, even as he continued to pore in 3-pointers at an absurd rate and, for the most part, take care of the basketball. He lived at the rim, and if he wasn’t finishing there he was drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line; through Oct. 29 he was ninth in free throw attempts per game (8.0), a slight tick above LeBron James (7.7).

But something happened after that pitiful loss to the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 29, and it’s sent LaVine into an ugly shooting slump that he hasn’t been able to get out of in the eight games since. Yes, teams are doubling LaVine and pressuring every time he plays in pick and roll.

But consider: LaVine has taken nearly the same number of contested shots per 36 minutes (11.0 vs. 10.9) and hasn’t taken all that fewer drives to the basket per 36 minutes (14.4 vs. 12.2) during his slump. It may seem like it on the surface, but LaVine’s game hasn’t changed that much as teams have keyed in on him.

Of course his 3-point percentage begin as low as it is – 25.6 percent on 5.9 attempts during his slump – has had a huge effect, but the answer might be in what’s happening to LaVine on those drives to the basket lately.

He was a magnet the first seven games of the season, drawing a foul on 15.4 percent of his drives to the basket. He shot 55 percent on those drives and got to the free throw line 3.7 times per game on drives alone. 9.6 of his 28.1 points per game were coming on his attacks to the basket.

But his slump has affected the best part of his game. It certainly could be fatigue, or simply bad luck, but LaVine’s shooting numbers on drives have dipped to 44.6 percent, he’s drawing fouls on only 4.7 percent of them and is getting to the free throw line fewer than one time (0.8) off those drives. The volume of drives still have him averaging 7.0 points on them, but it’s a stark contrast. And when you combine his pedestrian – for his standards – numbers at the rim with that ugly 3-point shooting, it’s a recipe for disaster.

He’s even passing less on drives during his slump (22 percent of the time compared to 28 percent during his hot stretch), perhaps once again feeling the need to take over on offense for his shorthanded group.

Or maybe he’s just not getting calls. LaVine was issued a technical foul in the second quarter of Wednesday’s loss to the Celtics after he felt he was fouled by Semi Ojeleye. LaVine didn’t get the call, clapped his hands at the official and was given the T.

It’s been a frustrating two weeks all-around for LaVine, but his inability to finish at the rim like he had the first three weeks of the season has led the charge. It’s who LaVine is as a player and where he’s most effective for this Bulls team, which is why his attempts have remained the same.

Perhaps he isn’t getting the same leap on those drives given the uptick in minutes, or maybe defenses are figuring out how to better defend him without fouling. Whatever the reason, LaVine will need to figure out how to better attack defenses, especially if his 3-point shot remains off. It’s either that or more losses will continue to pile up for this undermanned group.