Bulls

Mitchell Makes Return In AFL

Mitchell Makes Return In AFL

Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010
Posted: 7:50 a.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUEPeoria Seguaros
Its been a while since Jared Mitchell was able to make his presence felt on the field. A season-ending ankle injury in spring training robbed him of his 2010 season so when he took the field Tuesday for the Peoria Seguaros in their Arizona Fall League opener, it marked the first time since mid-March that he tasted true game action.

The eight months spent waiting and rehabbing were long and arduous for Mitchell, who exploded upon his return in Peorias 4-3 loss to Scottsdale. Mitchell, considered by most pundits to be the White Sox top prospect prior to his injury, was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.

Mitchell led off the game with a double and added singles in the sixth and eighth innings, sandwiching them around a third-inning strikeout.

Eduardo Escobar, who split the regular season between Winston-Salem and Birmingham, had a hit in two at-bats and was caught stealing.

Charlie Leesman, who won 14 games while splitting the season between the Carolina and Southern Leagues, was charged with the loss after allowing a run in the eighth, his only inning of work. Leesman walked one and surrendered two hits in the frame.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Four observations: Bulls falter down the stretch, lose season series to Warriors

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USA TODAY

Four observations: Bulls falter down the stretch, lose season series to Warriors

The Bulls have been swept by the league-worst (by record) Golden State Warriors after losing 100-98 on their home floor, Friday night. Observations from a tough loss:

Flashes of Lauri the Leader

The Bulls phased in and out of funks on both sides of the court for most of the first half, yet led 51-50 at the break. Credit Lauri Markkanen in large part for that.

Every time the game appeared to be slipping, it was Markkanen who snapped the Bulls back to attention. Trailing by four early in the first quarter, he had two strong drives and finishes to draw the game even. Then, after the Warriors began the second on a 16-5 run, Markkanen scored eight straight Bulls points to draw the game level. That’s leadership.

He finished the first quarter having taken seven shots, and the first half 7-for-11 (3-for-5 from three) and with a game-high 17 points. His teammates were clearly looking for him, and he thrived cutting and popping off on screen-and-roll. 

The second half wasn’t as fruitful — he went almost two full quarters without scoring after a cutting dunk to knot the game at 41 midway through the second period. So has been his season. 

In the fourth, he stroked a critical catch-and-shoot three to tie the game at 97 with just under four minutes left. Then, he turned the ball over on a travel and bricked a forced and contested 3-pointer. 

Unusual Zach LaVine performance, and a stilted offense

LaVine didn’t get his first bucket until an and-one layup with 1:27 left in the second quarter. Then, he ripped off 21 in a seven-minute run spanning the end of that period and the beginning of the third. Then, he didn’t score again. 

His most meaningful attempts of the game were two bricked iso jumpers in the final minute, one with the game tied, one at the buzzer that would have one the game.

His six assists were a team-high, but that will be overshadowed by those late-game possessions and night-long inconsistency.

This was his first time in three games not eclipsing 10 free throw attempts. As a team, the Bulls attempted only five all night. The bench was up (Denzel Valentine, Coby White) and down (Luke Kornet, Ryan Arcidiacono). Wendell Carter and Tomas Satoransky combined for only 12 points on 12 attempts. That offensive passivity will be a storyline, as well.

The Bulls do the Warriors some favors, and the Warriors do just enough

The Bulls led the Warriors for most of this one — in the second half, Golden State didn’t lead until the 5:30 mark of the fourth. 

But they did just enough to win — out-rebounding the Bulls 39-37, outshooting them on 17 less field goal attempts and going to the foul line a whopping 17 more times. Draymond Green was a beast defensively, and the difference-maker in the game. The Bulls defense generated some sparkplug turnovers early in the game — and got 20, by the end — but the stretch run was littered with defensive fouls, fumbled balls and more traveling violations.

The Bulls did them some favors, late. Boylen rolled entirely with the starters down the stretch and the offense stagnated. Questions there will start and end with LaVine, who waved off a Carter screen on the final possession. After a run of great fourth-quarter execution, a 17-point period tonight is dour. 

Obligatory silver lining: Coby White delivered the full Coby White experience

There was a couple of fun Coby White mini-runs in this one that livened up the United Center. 

In the first quarter, White had eight points by way of two threes (one a near buzzer-beater to end the period) and a turbo-charged drive past Kevon Looney on a mismatch for a finger-roll finish.

He then opened the second with a miss on a contested step-back jumper and a(nother) failed poster-dunk attempt. He hasn’t punched one of those home yet, but Bulls fans seem to appreciate the gumption, regardless. Then, in the last two minutes of the third, he had two 3-pointers over the course of an 8-0 run to pull the Bulls ahead after a Warriors surge. The UC was buzzing.

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Devin Hester one of six specialists to make the NFL 100 All-Time Team

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USA TODAY

Devin Hester one of six specialists to make the NFL 100 All-Time Team

The NFL 100 All-Time Team just got a serious influx of speed and athleticism. Former Bears' legend and arguably the greatest special teams player of all time, Devin Hester, was named to the squad on Friday.

Hester played with the Bears from 2006 to 2013, racking up an incredible 31 return touchdowns (18 on kick returns, 13 on punt returns). Over his 11 season career, Hester collected a total of 11,028 return yards between kick and punt returns. Hester made four Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams over his career. 

The 2006 No. 57 overall pick out of Miami (FL) dazzled from the start of his NFL career, collecting 1,128 combined punt/kick return yards and 5 touchdowns. 

But just as impressive as his overall effectiveness, was his penchant for rising to the moment. Hester's clutch moments included an 80+ yard punt return for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in the infamous, "They are who we thought they were game".

And, of course, all NFL fans remember how Hester became the first player in NFL history to take the opening kickoff of a Super Bowl back to the house for a touchdown. 

Hester was a shoo-in to make the NFL 100 All-Time Team, as he is the NFL's all-time leader in kick and punt return touchdowns but even, so his game was about so much more than just the numbers. 

Devin Hester's unparalleled combination of speed and creativity in the open field delighted NFL fans in a way that perhaps no other player in history did or ever will. 

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