White Sox

Heat's road woes could play to Bulls' advantage in playoffs

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Heat's road woes could play to Bulls' advantage in playoffs

CHICAGO - Chris Bosh admitted prior to Thursday's Bulls-Heat matchup that if it came down to a Game 7 between the two powerhouses in the Eastern Conference Finals, he would rather have home-court advantage.

That possibility crept further away after the Bulls' 96-86 overtime victory over Miami at the United Center.

The Heat now sit at 40-17, four games behind the 45-14 Bulls in the bid for the No. 1 seed in the East. Miami has nine games remaining, Chicago has seven.

"Mathematically, we have a chance, but it looked better this morning," Bosh said after the game. "We just have to really put that behind our minds and just focus on tomorrow. Game 7 is a long ways away. We just have to stick with what we're doing."

The Bulls earned home-court advantage throughout the playoffs last season, but it didn't wind up mattering against the Heat. After claiming Game 1 in Chicago, the Bulls then lost four straight, including two in the United Center.

However, it may have more of an impact this year. The Heat have won just three of their last 11 road games and it's starting to get to them.

"Today would have been a great turnaround, but we're just going to have to wait longer," Bosh said. "We can't do anything about it. It is what it is. We just have to move forward and figure this thing out together.

"We're going to get this thing done. We're going to figure it out. We can't change anything right now. We're stuck in this position and we've been here for a while. We're just going to have to keep our heads up and get the job done."

Dwyane Wade echoed his teammates' thoughts.

"We'll keep pushing through it," he said. "It's not all good. It's not perfect, but that's sports. That's this game. I've been here nine years, and no team has ever been perfect. We've all gone through lows and we just have to correct it."

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra isn't too concerned, however.

"It's OK," he said after Thursday's game. "We understand what we're playing for. Things change very quickly in this league. Just like this game, if we could have pulled it out in regulation. It changes in matter of 24 hours."

Miami is 0-2 in Chicago this season and most are expecting these two teams to match up in the Eastern Conference Finals once again.

If that happens, a Game 7 is not a stretch at all.

The Bulls and Heat have been evenly matched all season. Before Thursday's overtime period, each team had scored exactly 283 points in 12 quarters of head-to-head play. However, the reigning MVP, Derrick Rose, has contributed just two points in the last two games combined.

If the Heat can't correct their road woes by that late in the playoffs, the Bulls could have the edge.

"There is no easy win," Spoelstra said. "What we're trying to do will be the hardest thing that we have to do collectively as professionals. There are several legitimate teams that are contending for this one title. There will not be an easy road. And right now, we're dealing with that tough road."

Tim Anderson calls out Brad Keller's 'excuses,' reminds him 'I'm on yo ass'

Tim Anderson calls out Brad Keller's 'excuses,' reminds him 'I'm on yo ass'

Tim Anderson has seen what Brad Keller has to say. And he’s not having it.

Keller recently made an appearance on The Charity Stripe podcast and was asked all about his intentional plunking of Anderson following the White Sox star shortstop’s bat flip heard ‘round the baseball world last year.

Keller, as was made clear when he threw at Anderson as apparent punishment for breaking the unwritten rule of “no celebrating allowed,” was not a fan.

“How he acted after (hitting the home run), to me and my whole team, was just over the top,” Keller said. “It's like, 'Bro, you hit a homer. Congrats.' This wasn't a Game 7 homer. This wasn't a playoff homer. This wasn't even a homer to win the game. Ultimately, we won the game, 3-2, in the long run, but that gets kind of lost in the whole transaction of everything.

“It just seemed like, at the time, it was an April home run. 'Why are you throwing your bat to the dugout or whatever?' We had beefs in the past, as far as our teams, and that was just like fuel on the fire, basically, is what it seemed like.

“I was upset because I was grinding that day and I was already pissed off at myself, and then you pull some s**t like that? It was like, 'All right, this is bulls**t.' ... I come in, and I'm pissed, I'm hot. And I had other guys on the team like, 'Screw this guy,' basically. Like I said, we (the Royals) had beefs (with Anderson) in the past.”

RELATED: Tim Anderson and the Royals stir up baseball's never-ending debate: 'You want him to not do that? Get him out'

Well, Anderson — on a quest to break what he called baseball’s “have fun barrier” — isn’t about to apologize. In fact, he let Keller know that he isn’t going anywhere.


Major League Baseball and the players’ union seem to have a big divide to bridge on economic and health-and-safety issues if there’s going to be a 2020 season. But if baseball returns this year, Anderson will likely have another chance to swing against Keller.

To be fair, he had a few more after getting plunked April 17. Keller faced the White Sox three more times after that game, which was already his second start of the season against the South Siders. Anderson played in just one of those games and went 1-for-3 with a strikeout.

Should the league’s proposed altered schedule for a shortened 2020 season become a reality, the White Sox and Royals would square off 13 times during the regular season, plenty of opportunity for the reigning big league batting champ to test out a few new flips.

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NHL Standings: How the 24 teams rank in the return to play tournament

NHL Standings: How the 24 teams rank in the return to play tournament

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the regular season is over and when play resumes there will be a 24-team tournament to determine a champion.

Each conference is sending 12 teams to the tournament, but how did they decide which 12 teams? Not every team has played the same amount of games so using straight points isn’t fair.

The NHL instead used a points percentage formula for games completed when the season paused.

So that has some tweaks to the NHL standings.

Here are the Western Conference Standings, with points percentage.

1. St. Louis Blues - .662
2. Colorado Avalanche - .657
3. Vegas Golden Knights - .606
4. Dallas Stars - .594
5. Edmonton Oilers - .585
6. Nashville Predators - .565
7. Vancouver Canucks - .565
8. Calgary Flames - .564
9. Winnipeg Jets - .563
10. Minnesota Wild - .558
11. Arizona Coyotes - .529
12. Chicago Blackhawks - .514

And here are the Eastern Conference standings, with points percentage.

1. Boston Bruins - .714
2. Tampa Bay Lightning - .657
3. Washington Capitals - .652
4. Philadelphia Flyers - .645
5. Pittsburgh Penguins - .623
6. Carolina Hurricanes - .596
7. New York Islanders - .588
8. Toronto Maple Leafs - .579
9. Columbus Blue Jackets - .579
10. Florida Panthers - .565
11. New York Rangers - .564
12. Montreal Canadiens - .500

The top four teams from each conference will play in a round robin tournament to determine seeding. The lower eight teams in each conference will play a best-of-5 qualifying series.

Here are those match ups.

Western Conference – Best-of-5 Qualifying Round

#5 Edmonton Oilers vs. #12 Chicago Blackhawks
#6 Nashville Predators vs. #11 Arizona Coyotes
#7 Vancouver Canucks vs. #10 Minnesota Wild
#8 Calgary Flames vs. #9 Winnipeg Jets

Eastern Conference – Best-of-5 Qualifying Round

#5 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #12 Montreal Canadiens
#6 Carolina Hurricanes vs. #11 New York Rangers
#7 New York Islanders vs. #10 Florida Panthers
#8 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. #9 Columbus Blue Jackets

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