Blackhawks

Here is what you missed on Christmas Day

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Here is what you missed on Christmas Day

From Comcast SportsNetLOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jamal Crawford led a dominant performance by the Los Angeles reserves with 22 points, and the Clippers beat the Denver Nuggets 112-100 on Tuesday night, extending their franchise-record winning streak to 14 games.Matt Barnes added 20 points -- one off his season high -- as the bench outscored the Clippers starters 64-48 in claiming the NBA's best record at 22-6, one win better than Oklahoma City which lost to Miami earlier Tuesday.Kosta Koufos and Jordan Hamilton scored 16 points each for Denver in the finale of a Christmas Day doubleheader at Staples Center. The Lakers, who will play the Nuggets on Wednesday night in Denver, beat the Knicks 100-94 in the first game.Ty Lawson added 15 points for the Nuggets, who fell to 7-13 on the road, where 22 of their first 32 games are being played.Crawford's 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter pushed the Clippers' lead to 20 points and kept the starters on the bench for the final 12 minutes. Crawford scored eight points in the quarter.Chris Paul led Los Angeles starters with 14 points; Blake Griffin had 13; and Willie Green 11.Heat 103, Thunder 97MIAMI (AP) -- LeBron James finished with 29 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 21, and Miami survived a frantic finish to beat Oklahoma City in an NBA Finals rematch.Mario Chalmers scored a season-high 20 for the Heat, who matched the franchise's best 25-game start at 19-6. Chris Bosh added 16 for Miami, which has beaten the Thunder five straight times going back to last June's title series.Kevin Durant scored 33 points and Russell Westbrook added 21 for Oklahoma City, but both Thunder stars missed potentially game-tying 3-point attempts in the final seconds. Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin each added 15 for the Thunder, who have dropped two straight for the first time this season.The Heat went 19 for 19 from the foul line, the second-best effort in franchise history.Lakers 100, Knicks 94LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe Bryant engineered a second-half comeback, helping Los Angeles beat New York and extend its winning streak to five.Bryant scored 34 points in his NBA-record 15th Christmas Day game, and Metta World Peace added 20 points and seven rebounds while defending Carmelo Anthony, whose 34 points led the Knicks. Bryant, the league's leading scorer, has topped 30 in nine straight games.The Lakers improved to 14-14 -- 9-9 under new coach Mike D'Antoni -- and upped their holiday record to 21-18, including 13-9 at home.The Knicks controlled most of the game behind Anthony and J.R. Smith, who had 24 points. But they struggled offensively in the fourth, when Anthony was limited to seven points, and Smith had five.Smith's 3-pointer pulled New York to 96-94. After Pau Gasol made one of two free throws, Smith missed another 3 that would have tied the game with 32 seconds left.Steve Nash had 16 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in his second game in nearly two months. He missed 24 games while recovering from a small fracture in his lower left leg. Dwight Howard had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Gasol had 13 points and eight rebounds.Celtics 93, Nets 76NEW YORK (AP) -- Rajon Rondo scored 19 points in his first full game against Brooklyn this season, and Boston beat the Nets in another game with heated moments between the division rivals.Rondo, sidelined in the first meeting and thrown out of the second after shoving Nets forward Kris Humphries into the courtside seats, outplayed counterpart Deron Williams and helped the Celtics take control early.Rookie Jared Sullinger tied a career high with 16 points, and Jeff Green had 15 for the Celtics (14-13), who avoided falling under .500 with their second victory in six games.Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez each scored 15 for the Nets, who have lost four of five.The Celtics took control with a 23-5 run in the second quarter. They had 11 assists on 13 baskets and outscored the Nets 34-18 in the period.A month after the teams scuffled in Boston, there was another skirmish in the fourth quarter that resulted in four technical fouls.Williams had only 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting, and Joe Johnson, his partner in a high-priced backcourt, shot 4 of 14 for his 12 points.Boston's Kevin Garnett had eight points and 10 rebounds on the day he tied Charles Oakley for 15th place on the NBA's career list with his 1,282nd game.Rockets 120, Bulls 97CHICAGO (AP) -- James Harden scored 26 points and Jeremy Lin added 20 points and 11 assists to lead Houston over Chicago. Omer Asik had 20 points and 18 rebounds in his first trip back to Chicago since signing with the Rockets in the offseason.Every Rockets starter scored in double figures. Chandler Parsons added 23 points and Marcus Morris had 10 for Houston, which has won six of seven.The Rockets had been 3-7 on the road, but a strong second quarter turned the holiday matchup into a blowout. The Rockets outscored the Bulls 31-19 in the period to break the game open.Lin capped a 14-2 run midway through the quarter with a drive and a layup to make it 55-34. He scored 12 in the second quarter and Harden had 13.Houston led 58-41 at halftime.Nate Robinson led the Bulls with 27 points, and Marco Belinelli scored 15. The points allowed and margin of defeat were season-worsts for Chicago.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Giving Thanks to the Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Giving Thanks to the Blackhawks

On a special Thanksgiving Day edition, Pat Boyle and Slavko Bekovic give thanks for the last 11 seasons of Blackhawks hockey. From the way the city of Chicago embraced the franchise (7:00), to the evolution of Patrick Kane from 18-year-old talent to 30-year-old superstar (11:30), they touch on everything that has happened since the Blackhawks franchise was “rejuvenated and reinvigorated” in 2007.

Blackhawks fans have been spoiled by success over the last 11 seasons and there is much to be thankful for! However, the Blackhawks success has also proven costly (3:30) in the salary cap era because winning Stanley Cups means you have to pay players, and that makes longevity difficult in today’s NHL.

We asked the listeners of the Hawks Talk Podcast to tell us what they were thankful for and the resounding response was the return of Corey Crawford (14:25). Other responses were the return of Jonathan Toews to top form (17:00), the prominsing start to Henri Jokiharju’s career (21:00), and the health of Eddie Olczyk (25:45) allowing him to return to the broadcast booth.

As a bonus, Hawks fans are also thankful for the challenge the St. Louis Blues have had winning a Stanley Cup…but could there be a reunion with Joel Quenneville in St. Louis? The guys discuss the fit (23:30) and where Joel Quenneville might eventually end up.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Five things Blackhawks fans should be thankful for

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AP

Five things Blackhawks fans should be thankful for

Here are five things Blackhawks fans should be thankful for this Thanksgiving: 

1. Corey Crawford is healthy 

When Crawford went down with a concussion last December, things went sideways for the Blackhawks. That was the start of their spiral. And then in the offseason, there was uncertainty whether Crawford would be ready for training camp this year and whether a return was even possible.

The Blackhawks are so dependent on what he brings to the table that it was hard for Chicago to go through hockey life without him. But, more importantly, Blackhawks fans should be thankful that he’s healthy and looks like his old self again. It's been a great comeback story.

2. The top guys are performing like it 

It’s weird to see Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews reach the age of 30. Time is flying by from the time they were both considered rising superstars in Chicago.

But they're not on the downslide just yet. Kane and Toews are both off to terrific starts, and it's encouraging to see because it was an important year for the Blackhawks' top guys to prove that they are still capable of handling the load.

To go along with that, Brandon Saad looks better than he ever has since being traded back to Chicago and Alex DeBrincat has put himself in the conversation as a top player on this team.

3. The pipeline is replenished

After being aggressive at the trade deadline for a decade chasing three Stanley Cups, the Blackhawks have spent the past couple seasons replenishing their pipeline and it’s starting to look exciting for Chicago.

Henri Jokiharju is here and playing top-four minutes. Adam Boqvist could be next, and has a higher ceiling. Nicolas Beaudin and Ian Mitchell might not be far away, either. The second wave will soon be arriving.

4. Cap space and a loaded 2019 free agent class

The Blackhawks have an opportunity to make some noise this summer and bridge the gap between their younger players and core veterans. They had a chance to do so last summer, but the class wasn't nearly as deep, so they elected to make depth signings for the second year in a row.

It's hard to imagine this one playing out the same way. Just look at the firepower and depth of the 2019 unrestricted free agent class: Matt Duchene. Jordan Eberle. Jake Gardiner. Carl Hagelin. Kevin Hayes. Erik Karlsson. Anders Lee. Brock Nelson. Gustav Nyquist. Artemi Panarin. Joe Pavelski. Wayne Simmonds. Jeff Skinner. Eric Staal. Mark Stone. 

And yes, the Blackhawks will have cap space to work with: Marian Hossa's $5.275 million cap hit is off the books and Cam Ward ($3 million), Marcus Kruger ($2.775 million), Jan Rutta ($2.25 million) and Chris Kunitz ($1 million) are among the players whose contracts expire at the end of the season. With the salary cap expected to increase and the Blackhawks already having more than $4 million in unused money, there's a chance to make a splash.

5. A high standard

In the early 2000s, nobody cared about the Blackhawks. And apathy is the worst.

But nobody has been more driven to turn the ship around than John McDonough, and Rocky Wirtz won’t settle for mediocrity either. This is an organization that is losing sleep over how it can get the Blackhawks back to the promised land because that’s the standard they’ve set for themselves.

Appreciate that. Be thankful for it. Because they care just as much as the fans do, which means they won't be satisfied until they get it right.

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