Blackhawks

Deng in, Rose, Watson game-time decisions Wednesday

687034.png

Deng in, Rose, Watson game-time decisions Wednesday

Due to a groin injury suffered in Mondays win over New York, Derrick Rose is a game-time decision heading into Wednesdays showdown with the Heat, according to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.

Well see tonight if its any better, said Thibodeau. We held him out this morning.

In addition to his on-court ailments, Rose was involved in a car accident after leaving Tuesdays practice, getting rear-ended on the Kennedy Expressway.

While Rose was unavailable for comment, Thibodeau said, He said hes fine.

Another game-time decision for the Bulls is backup point guard C.J. Watson, who is still recovering from a sprained left ankle.

Im not sure yet, so well see, Watson told CSNChicago.com. Watsons ankle is the same, still sore. Its a lot of stuff. None better, none worse.

Watson practiced Wednesday a little bit. Still hurts a lot. Im not really comfortable planting and moving, stuff like that, to where I can play without hurting, he continued. All Watson did in practice Wednesday was shooting, straight-ahead stuff.

Luol Deng, on the other hand, will play Wednesday. The All-Star missed two games to rest his ailing left wrist.

Four takeaways: Blackhawks can't solve rookie Cal Petersen in shootout loss

toews_usa_today.jpg
USA TODAY

Four takeaways: Blackhawks can't solve rookie Cal Petersen in shootout loss

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 2-1 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center on Friday:

1. Blackhawks can't solve Cal Petersen

With Jonathan Quick (knee), Jack Campbell (knee) and Peter Budaj (sick) out, the Kings trotted out former Notre Dame standout Petersen to make his first career NHL start between the pipes. And he didn't disappoint.

The 24-year-old stopped 34 of 35 shots (.971 save percentage) in 65 minutes of play and denied Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the shootout to earn his first victory in the big leagues.

"He was good, yeah," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "The third period was more like it. If we’d had 60 minutes [like that] maybe we break him down eventually. He did well, he did a good job. I thought we had a little more traffic, got some more pucks to the net. That was better. But you can’t help but think if we’d have had that push earlier, then we’d get paid off for it."

2. Line changes serve as third-period spark

After failing to generate many scoring chances in the first two periods, Jeremy Colliton spruced up his top-six by putting Brandon Saad with Kane and Toews and Nick Schmaltz with Alex DeBrincat and Artem Anisimov. They saw the benefits almost immediately.

Saad scored 2:39 into the final frame after burying a feed at the doorstep by Toews for his third goal in six games, tying the game at 1-1.

'We showed some resiliency battling in the third," Saad said. "It was definitely a slow start. We've got to play a full 60 minutes to win hockey games, but I think it shows some character how we can battle back in the third. And then overtime we had some chances and some puck possession, and when it comes down to a shootout it can be anyone's game. But the message for us is to play a full 60, because when we play well you can see that we have opportunities and a better chance to win the hockey game."

3. Power play comes up empty

Special teams was the deciding factor in the Blackhawks' last two games. They gave up two power-play goals in 66 seconds against Carolina on Monday and then beat St. Louis 1-0 on Wednesday thanks to a power-play goal of their own.

The Blackhawks had three power-play opportunities against the Kings, and all three of them came in the second period. They recorded a combined six shots on goal during them, but reverted back to some old habits by waiting for the open shot and lacking net-front presence.

"You get three in the second, it would be nice to get one," Kane said. "Even if you're not getting anything on it, it's nice to get momentum off of it. I thought we did a decent job of getting momentum, getting some chances and some looks. Sometimes you've just got to converge on the net and hopefully get those rebounds and try to find a way to get one a little bit dirtier."

The Blackhawks also allowed a breakaway chance towards the end of the third power play, but Corey Crawford saved the day. Tyler Toffoli scored 19 seconds after the Blackhawks' first power play to make it 1-0 Kings.

4. Meet your newest Blackhawk

The Blackhawks had a visitor at morning skate in Carter Holmes, an 11-year-old from Wisconsin, who is battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma. As part of the Make-A-Wish Experience, Holmes became a Blackhawk for a day and practiced with the team, including his favorite player Patrick Kane.

"I might have to change my number," Kane joked about Holmes, who wears No. 88 because of Kane. "I think he was a little bit better than me out there today."

It was the first time Holmes skated since being diagnosed on June 30, four days after his team took first place at a tournament. Holmes feared that he would never be able to play hockey again, but that won't be the close. He's expected to re-join his teammates soon, even if it may take a while to get back into game shape.

"It's pretty special," Kane said of Holmes, who will drop the ceremonial first puck on Sunday for "Hockey Fights Cancer" Night at the United Center. "Sometimes you're just playing hockey and worried about the business aspect of it, but days like today you can take a step back and realize there's more important things out there."

Bulls follow best half of the year with worst quarter in franchise history

bulls.png
AP

Bulls follow best half of the year with worst quarter in franchise history

Through two quarters the Bulls looked to be on their way to making the right kind of franchise history on Friday night in Milwaukee.

Then the third quarter happened and in a flash the Bulls were on an all too familiar other side of it.

The Milwaukee Bucks poured it on in the third quarter of their 123-104 victory, outscoring the Bulls 46-17 that included a 41-11 run at one point.

What made the third quarter even more depressing was how well the Bulls played in the first half. It was arguably their best half of the season, leading the 10-4 Bucks by 18 despite being 15-point underdogs.

Jabari Parker and Justin Holiday were filling in admirably as second options for the ailing Zach LaVine, something they hadn't done in past games as LaVine continued to rack up massive usage games. Holiday made all six of his 3-point attempts and Parker stayed hot early in games with 15 first-quarter points. It was the perfect recipe for success, and the fact that they led as many point as they did with LaVine scoring just XX made it all the more impressive.

The good play didn't last. It's not all that surprising that Milwaukee made a run in the second half. They're arguably the East's second best team (the Bulls will play the best on Saturday night) and were 6-1 at home with the frontrunner for league MVP.

What was surprising is that it happened so quickly and that everything the Bulls did right in the first 24 minutes got totally flipped on its head.

The Bulls finished with seven assists and eight turnovers in the second half after a 15:4 ratio in the first two quarters. Holiday hit a floater early in the third but went scoreless the rest of the evening, finishing with a pretty-in-the-box-score 20 points, while Parker went 2-for-7 with two turnovers in the second half. LaVine, battling an illness, had another horrid shooting performance, going 6 of 20 and scoring 15 points in 34 uninspiring minutes.

It's hard to describe just how bad it was. Fred Hoiberg has said in the past he doesn't want to keep using the fact that his team is young as an excuse, but it's the truth. They're not yet ready to handle adversity, especially with three core players out. They weren't going to shoot 9 for 15 from deep in the second half like they did in the first, but when things went sour the Bulls had no way to stop it.

And they once again made the wrong kind of history with a third quarter that somehow was worse than the 46-17 score looks.