Bulls

Free-throw affair edges Farragut over Crane

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Free-throw affair edges Farragut over Crane

Friday, Jan. 7, 2011
11:17 PM

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com

The old clich about free throws winning basketball games has rarely been more true than it was Thursday at Crane.

Crane and Farragut shot a combined 83 free-throws, which ranks 20th all-time in the Illinois High School Association record book. It's the highest total recorded for a Public League game and the fourth-highest amount ever shot in the Chicago area.

The No. 13 Admirals shot 47 free throws and the Cougars shot 36, leading to a 74-68 win for Farragut.

"It was pretty ugly," Farragut coach William Nelson said. "I didn't realize the total was up that high. It was definitely a slow game though. And I was thinking that whoever I put in was going to wind up at the line, so I put in the better shooters."

Crane (9-2, 3-1 Red-West) used all the free throws to cut a 16-point deficit down to just two points with 53 seconds to play. But the No. 16 Cougars hard work went down the drain when they called a timeout with none left, resulting in a technical foul that led to two more Farragut free throws. The Admirals shot 9-for-10 from the line in the final minute to seal the win.

"There really wasn't any flow to the game at all," Farragut senior DJ Tolliver said. "We had the lead and knew we needed to just keep getting to the basket and they would call a foul."

Tolliver scored 14 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and had four steals. Gabe Williams led the Admirals with 19 points, Jonathan Collins added 18 and Alphonse Matthews scored 13.

Kieran Woods (25 points) and Willie Conner (20 points, nine rebounds) led the charge back for Crane. Woods scored 14 in the fourth quarter and Conner scored 12, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Admirals, who were missing 6-7 junior Rashaun Stimage. Stimage is out with a broken hand.

"We lost to Orr that first game without Stimage," Tolliver said. "We all talked about it in school today, about stepping up and finding a way to win without him. I knew I had to be more of a leader."

Crane shot 21-for-36 from the line and Farragut (11-2, 3-1) was 31 for 47.

Observations from Bulls-Lakers: Jabari's back in the rotation and Lakers fans get no tacos!

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USA TODAY

Observations from Bulls-Lakers: Jabari's back in the rotation and Lakers fans get no tacos!

The Bulls have now lost eight straight. The most recent defeat came in Los Angeles against a LeBron-less Lakers team, and there's not a whole lot to take from it. But we tried to find three items.

1. It was just one game, but Jabari Parker looks reinvigorated

Jabari Parker looks like he's back in the rotation to stay - or until he's traded - and while it was just a one-game sample size, he sure looks like he wants to remain there, too.

Parker's statline won't jump out in the box score but he made a few plays defensively and was arguably the Bulls' best offensive player. He hit a couple tough jumpers, made an important hustle play in the fourth quarter and finished with a jam. He wasn't outstanding defensively but played a few passing lanes and contested a few shots inside.

All isn't forgiven, and he isn't going to give Rudy Gobert a run for his money for Defensive Player of the Year, but it's about baby steps with Parker. Whether it's to help the Bulls progress as a young team, or to showcase his talents (we're using that word liberally) for a potential trade, these are seriously important games for Parker and the Bulls.

Part of his night came in that frantic stretch in the final minutes of the game (see below) and he finished with a team-high 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting, a pair of 3-pointers, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in just 17 minutes.

The better Parker plays, the more interest there is in him around the league. His contract still makes him a minimal asset and the Bulls can't expect to get much in return for him, but it beats him rotting on the end of the bench or taking minutes away from Markkanen or Bobby Portis.

2. Shaq Harrison rips out the heart of 21,000+ at Staples Center

If you're a true #AuthenticFan and stayed up through the end of the Bulls game you saw an incredible fourth quarter run in which the Bulls....denied Lakers fans free tacos.

Staples Center and the Lakers run a promotion where if the team wins and holds its opponent under 100 points, all fans in attendance get free tacos from Jack In The Box.

Fans looked to be in good shape as the Bulls had just 83 points with 2:19 remaining. From there, the Bulls' possessions went: 2 made free throws (85), layup (87), 3-pointer (90), dunk (92), one free throw (93), layup (95), 3-pointer (98). There were just 35 seconds remaining at that point, when Jabari Parker missed two free throws and gave the ball back to the Lakers.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope split a pair of free throws with 19.2 seconds left. And on the Bulls' presumably final possession, Shaq Harrison missed a 3-pointer, but Ryan Arcidiacono grabbed an offensive rebound and found Harrison on the left wing, who pump faked and drew a foul on Ivica Zubac.

Harrison made the first two free throws to give the Bulls 100 points and send fans home hungry. The entire sequence was amazing.

3. It doesn't get any easier for the Bulls

The Bulls have now lost eight straight games, four more than the second longest losing streak in the league (New York). And the road isn't getting any easier.

They'll finish this difficult West Coast road trip on Thursday against the Denver Nuggets, who were just embarrassed by the Warriors on their home floor. You can bet the West's top seed is going to come out and play with some serious passion. That spells trouble for the Bulls.

On Saturday the Bulls return home to face the Heat, who are all sorts of a mess right now. But that first game after a road trip is a seriously difficult one. That could easily be a loss.

Then the Zion Bowl occurs on Monday: Bulls-Cavs.

It's the Cam Payne revenge game and it's going to be glorious. The Bulls should win that one, but then again....the Cavaliers beat the Lakers in L.A. on Tuesday and the Bulls couldn't do that.

Joe Maddon states that Bryce Harper on Cubs "not going to happen"

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USA TODAY

Joe Maddon states that Bryce Harper on Cubs "not going to happen"

Per Jesse Rogers of ESPN, after being asked if the Cubs would sign mega-free agent Bryce Harper, Cubs skipper Joe Maddon replied “Not going to happen”.

This retort from Maddon falls in line with the stance that ownership has reportedly taken in the Harper sweepstakes.


The Cubs could no doubt use some help to boost their up-and-down offense but it looks like it won’t come in the form of Harper. As of now, the Phillies still sit as the front-runners for the mega-free agent after reports of a 5-hour meeting between the two side arose