Blackhawks

Somber Rose sets tone for Bulls

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Somber Rose sets tone for Bulls

If ever there was a time for Derrick Rose to put on his happy face it was Tuesday night at the United Center.

Rose needed to muster the best acting performance of his career when he limped to center court to present the game ball before Game 2. While he tried, Rose's face looked somber as he walked off the court. The impression left on the sell-out crowd -- and his teammates -- seemed to set the tone for the evening.

Then to tug on our heart strings even more, Rose, who is sidelined for the rest of the postseason and beyond with a torn ACL, was seen sitting in his family's suite by himself. Thankfully, his mother, Brenda, and others arrived to take the edge off the melancholy that permeated the building.

At one point, I even spied Rose laughing with his mom as he watched his teammates play competitive ball in the first half. I had a glimmer of hope that things would get better. Sure, the Bulls allowed the Sixers to shoot 53 percent from the field in the opening two quarters, but they had the lead at halftime and all seemed right with the world.

Until the third quarter began.

The Bulls spent a lot of time before Tuesday's Game 2 finding motivation in Rose's absence on the court by wanting to prove the doubters wrong and play hard for their teammate whom they think of as a brother. Kyle Korver wrote a note of encouragement on his Facebook page. Scottie Pippen penned an open letter to the team on the Bulls' website. Both had the message of fighting through adversity and believing in each other.

Even Philadelphia was bracing for a double dose of Bulls energy.

Its going to be a lot of emotion (to start the game), noted Elton Brand before the game. The city has been following this (Rose injury). Ive got a lot of friends here and theyve been telling me. The team is going to want to show, Hey, we love Derrick. We have his back. Were playing for him. We can still win a championship. There will be a lot of emotion in the building.

There was a lot of something in the building Tuesday night, but it's not what we were expecting. The Bulls were supposed to be riding a wave of inspiration, instead they looked emotionally broken. Afterwards, Bulls players said they were shocked by the outcome. Angry, disappointed and emabarrassed were a few of the other words bantered about in the locker room.

The Bulls will have to move beyond sentiment now and get back to playing the type of basketball they managed for 27 games without Rose in the regular season. Inspirational speeches and letters are nice, but they don't make the ball go in the basket. Instead of fighting through adversity, the Bulls buckled under it.

Maybe a smiling Rose a center court wouldn't have changed a thing. Maybe we all need to set our feeling-sorry-for-the-kid emotions aside and focus on the task at hand.

As Luol Deng said emphatically after the game, "Derrick's not here! We're a new team now." Only they need to play like the old team come Game 3 Friday.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman: Completing regular season 'may not be possible'

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman: Completing regular season 'may not be possible'

When the NHL announced on March 12 that the 2019-20 season would be put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, commissioner Gary Bettman said the goal is to resume play and award the Stanley Cup at some point. And that remains true as we approach the one-month mark of the hiatus.

But in an interview on Tuesday with NBC Sports Network's Mike Tirico on "Lunch Talk Live,” Bettman acknowledged that completing an 82-game season might not be in the cards.

"Everything we do needs to be fair," Bettman said. "The best thing, and the easiest thing, would be if, at some point, we could complete the regular season and then go into the playoffs as we normally do. We understand that that may not be possible, and that's why we're considering every conceivable alternative to deal with whatever the eventuality is. It doesn't even pay to speculate because nobody in any of the sports knows enough now to make those profound decisions."

Bettman said the NHL is discussing every possible option, and nothing appears to be off limits. That includes playing well into the summer, which Bettman said would be feasible as far as ice conditions go.

But it's still too early to tell what's going to happen, and Bettman is hoping there will be more clarity by the end of April.

"From an NHL standpoint, we're viewing all of our options," Bettman said. "We want to be ready to go as soon as we get a green light. And the green light may not be crystal clear because there may still be some places in the [U.S. and Canada] where we can't play and other places where you can.

"We're looking at all options. Nothing's been ruled in, nothing's been ruled out. And it's largely going to be determined what we do by how much time there is because we have next season to focus on, as well, and the health of the countries."

RELATED: How Blackhawks could be affected by COVID-19 crisis

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MLB The Show sim: Lucas Giolito doesn't have ace stuff vs. Mariners

MLB The Show sim: Lucas Giolito doesn't have ace stuff vs. Mariners

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

As the ace of the White Sox, Lucas Giolito looked to right the ship against the Mariners after the South Siders dropped the opener on Monday. Unfortunately for Chicago, Giolito did not have his top-of-the-rotation stuff.

The Mariners broke the seal vs. Giolito in the second. With two outs in the inning, J.P. Crawford lined a two-out double over the head of Edwin Encarnacion to drive in a pair and give Seattle a 2-1 lead. In the third, Daniel Vogelbach absolutely demolished a middle-of-the-zone fastball 444 feet to center field for a two-run blast, putting the Mariners ahead 4-1.

Giolito could not stop the bleeding in the fourth. Mitch Haniger slapped an RBI-double down the left field line to extend the lead to 6-1 and that was all she wrote for the White Sox ace. The run scored on Vogelbach’s bloop single later in the inning was also attributed to Giolito, who finished the day allowing seven earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings of work.

Meanwhile, the White Sox potent offense was largely quieted once again by Mariners pitching. Eloy Jimenez and Yasmani Grandal extended their hit streaks to 10 and 8 games, respectively. Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson and Edwin Encarnacion all collected solo homers but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.

Result: Mariners def. White Sox 7-4

Record: 6-5, third in AL Central (0.5 GB of Indians)

W: Taijuan Walker (1-1)

L: Lucas Giolito (1-1)

SV: Yoshihisa Hurano (2)

White Sox lineup

  1. Tim Anderson: 1-5, HR (2), RBI (.354 BA)

  2. Yoan Moncada: 0-5 (.292 BA)

  3. Jose Abreu: 1-5, HR (3), RBI (.260 BA)

  4. Edwin Encarnacion: 3-4, HR (3), RBI (.289 BA)

  5. Yasmani Grandal: 1-4 (.326 BA)

  6. Eloy Jimenez: 1-4 (.268 BA)

  7. Luis Robert: 0-2, 2 BB (.167 BA)

  8. Nomar Mazara: 1-4, RBI (.200 BA)

  9. Leury Garcia: 1-4 (.217 BA)

Scoring summary

Bottom first

  • Jose Abreu homered to right. 1-0 CHW.

Top second

  • J.P. Crawford doubled to right. Carlos Gonzalez scored. Dom Thompson-Williams scored. 2-1 SEA.

Top third

  • Daniel Vogelbach homered to center. Mallex Smith scored. 4-1 SEA.

Top fourth

  • Mallex Smith grounded out to shortstop. J.P. Crawford scored. 5-1 SEA

  • Mitch Haniger doubled to left. Dylan Moore scored. 6-1 SEA

  • Daniel Vogelbach singled to left. Mitch Haniger scored. 7-1 SEA

Bottom fifth

  • Tim Anderson homered to left. 7-2 SEA

Bottom sixth

  • Edwin Encarnacion homered to left. 7-3 SEA

Bottom eighth

  • Nomar Mazara singled to left. Edwin Encarnacion scored. 7-4 SEA

Notable performance: At this stage in Encarnacion’s career, the 37-year-old wasn’t expected to be a centerpiece of the White Sox offense. However, through 11 games, there doesn’t seem to be much dropoff in Encarnacion’s play. After a three-hit day vs. the Mariners, the vet has three home runs and five RBIs with a .437 on-base percentage this season.

Next game: Wednesday, April 8 - Game 12: Mariners at White Sox (Yusei Kikuchi, 0-0, 11.00 ERA vs. Dallas Keuchel, 0-1, 10.80 ERA)