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Random News of the Day: My kind of (winning) town

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Random News of the Day: My kind of (winning) town

Thursday, July 15, 2010
12:35 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

When was the best time to be a Chicago sports fan? And when I say Chicago sports fan, Im talking about the time in which our teams collectively dominated the landscape.

Was it 1986? The Bears shuffled their way to a Super Bowl title. The Bulls were on the brink of being a perennial power. The Blackhawks finished first in their division. Too bad the White Sox and Cubs couldn't pick up the slack later that summer.

How about the underrated year of 1977? Both of Chicago's baseball teams captured the hearts of the city before mailing it in down the stretch. The Bears made the playoffs, as did the Blackhawks. Unfortunately, the Bulls were in decline. I guess that doesnt really qualify as being a great time for the Chicago sports fan...does it?

The Blackhawks hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1961. The Bears were respectable that year, too. Now if only the Sox and Cubs weren't a combined 52 games out of first...

So how about...now? Or at the very least, the last two years? To say that we are living in the golden age of Chicago sports might be a stretch, but take inventory of the following:

The Stanley Cup is back in Chicago. The Bulls fought their way into the playoffs recently and have one of the NBAs most talented group of players going into this fall. The Sox won a division in 2008 and sit in first place again. And even though the 2010 Cubs arent playing up to expectations, they have had three straight winning seasons to this point (baby steps!). Dont forget the Bears, where optimism always reigns supreme this time of year.

But there are a couple of eras in Chicago sports history that rival our current golden age, of sorts. What about...
Fall 1932-Spring 1934: What's this about a Great Depression? Not in Chicago. The Bears were NFL Champions in '32. Ditto in 1933. It was a great year for the Cubs in '32 as they won the NL Pennant...even though they couldn't get past the Yankees in the World Series (Babe Ruth's called shot). And don't forget the Blackhawks, who won their first Stanley Cup during the 33-34 season. Only wet blanket during this era came at 35th and Shields. The White Sox went 49-102 in 1932 and didn't fare much better in the years that followed.

Spring 1962-Fall 1963: Forget the woeful Cubs and that college of coaches nonsense. Chicago was full of successful teams during 62 and 63. The Blackhawks made the Stanley Cup finals in '62. The White Sox were still bringin it (94 win season in 1963) and the Bears crushed the New York Giants to win the NFL Championship in late December '63--showing that titles could indeed be won at Wrigley Field. I think there's a Frankie Valli song reference with that Bears win...but I'll keep moving on.

1984: The White Sox were coming off a division championship and had high expectations. The Cubs made the playoffs for the first time in 39 years. The Bulls drafted a young fella from North Carolina named Michael Jordan. The Blackhawks '84-'85 season ended two wins short of the Stanley Cup finals. And the Bears took the NFC Central crown and beat the Redskins in the playoffs. We all know what happened to the Monsters of the Midway the following season. Not a bad time to be a Chicago sports fan! It was also on par with

1989: There hasn't been a SINGLE time in 44 years of professional Chicago sports where all five teams have made the playoffs within the same calendar year (going back to the Bulls inaugural season in 1966). But in 1989, four of the five teams accomplished that feat. The Bears played the 49ers for the conference championship on January 8th. The Bulls shocked the Cavs and then traded insults with the Pistons in the NBA playoffs that spring. The Cubs took the NL East. The '88-'89 Blackhawks made it to the conference finals (they would eventually lose to Calgary). The White Sox were miserable (69-92). But hey--4 out of 5 ain't bad.

1993: The Bulls planted another championship banner in the Chicago Stadium rafters. The Blackhawks finished the '92-'93 campaign with 106 points. The White Sox and Frank Thomas blew away the competition in the AL West. The Cubs actually finished with a winning record (84-78). The Bears won 7 of 10 games that fall before wetting the bed in December. Not too shabby!

As for the worst time? 1969. How so? A last-place Bears team1-13 in fact. The 68-69 Bulls finished 22 games out of first. The 68-69 Blackhawks were out of the playoffs. The White Sox lost 94 games. The crowning achievement of 1969? The gut-wrenching September that Cubs fans witnessed.

So live in the moment, Chicago fans! The view isnt all that bad.

At least, for now.

Or something like that.

Joe Collins is an assignment desk editor for Comcast SportsNet and contributor to CSNChicago.com.

Zach LaVine puts on rare scoring display in Bulls' win over Atlanta Hawks

Zach LaVine puts on rare scoring display in Bulls' win over Atlanta Hawks

On some nights, basketball can feel pretty simple. For the Bulls’ offense — a unit in desperate need of a breakout — tonight was one of those nights.

“I told him, whenever you get it, just shoot it. No matter where you at,” Coby White said of Zach LaVine (who else?) after the Bulls routed the Hawks 136-102. “It just seems like when he gets in a rhythm, he's impossible to stop.”

At present, that sentiment resonates strongly. LaVine scorched the Hawks Wednesday night to the tune of 35 points on 12-for-15 shooting, 7-for-7 from 3-point range. And he did it all in just 25 minutes, sitting the entire fourth quarter of a resounding victory that the Bulls, mercifully, polished off early.

“You know, I get it going. And I want it to stay that way,” LaVine said. “It finally got all put together… It feels good. You wanna have wins like that. It does good for the team and obviously for the body [resting the entire fourth quarter].”

Trouncing the Hawks simultaneously snaps a three-game losing streak for the team, and a shooting funk for LaVine. He shot only 33.3% from the field on 19 attempts per game in the three games that comprised that scheid — hard-fought losses to the Warriors, Heat and Raptors. The Bulls’ total margin of defeat from those three contests was eight points.

“That's what we've been trying to put together,” LaVine said of the Hawks game. “Even though we've had our losses, we’ve been competing every game, we've had stretches where we look really good, where we look like the better team. But we're coming out with the losses.”

Not so tonight. But of course, it’s facetious to call the type of display LaVine put on ‘simple’. Every NBA game, no matter what colors the competing teams sport, features the best basketball players in the world. There are no easy nights at the office in this profession.

Which makes just how easy he can make it look all the more astounding. And all the more worth appreciating.

“Zach's efficiency obviously is just unbelievable,” Jim Boylen said. “He wants to be great, and he's working, and his habits are good. So I'm happy for him.”

LaVine joins a list of only 13 players in NBA history to score 35 points in 25 minutes of play with this performance, including Ben Gordon and *drum roll* Michael Jordan. He is also now the 20th player in league history to shoot 100% on 3-pointers on seven or more attempts in a game. When he’s on, it’s a spectacle. Appointment television.

But, for LaVine, the focus remains on the team. And the future.

“I don't think every game's gonna be like this, obviously,” he said. “But we need to have more of them.”

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com

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Bulls Outsiders Podcast: LaVine drops 35 in blowout win over Hawks

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: LaVine drops 35 in blowout win over Hawks

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, John Sabine, and David Watson react to the Bulls 136-102 win over the Hawks

0:45 - Reaction to blowout win over Hawks, no cookies though?

3:30 - Viewer comments on Matt being angry, and admitting being wrong on LaVine

5:00 - Zach LaVine highlites by Big Dave

8:10 - On Denzel Valentine and the potential for starting

9:35 - Viewer comment asking for Coby White to start, Matt gets annoyed

10:05 - Viewer comment on trading for Michael Porter Jr

11:30 - Viewer comment on Denzel Valentine in 3-point contest

14:30 - Viewer comment making fun of Sabine’s Cowboys

15:15 - Viewer comment on Markkanen

17:15 - On Otto Porter Jr and missing at least another month

20:55 - Viewer comment on LaVine being the most athletic player in the NBA

23:30 - Viewer comment on Kris Dunn

24:30 - What was your life ‘It’s Over’ moment when you were overconfident?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Outsiders

Subscribe:

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.