Thompson, Tuck shine in McDonald's All-American game


Thompson, Tuck shine in McDonald's All-American game

By Patrick Z. McGavin

Janee Thompson rode out a perfect string.

Thompson, who led Young to an undefeated Class 4A state title run, had seven points, two steals, two assists and a block as the East team built a 16-point lead and withstood a furious West rally for the 79-78 victory in the McDonalds All-American Game Wednesday night at the United Center.

Bashaara Graves free throw off an offensive rebound with three-tenths of a second remaining proved the game-winner. Katie Colliers two free throws with 16 seconds forged the games third and final tie at 78.

Alexis Prince scored 15 points to lead the East. Bria Holmes contributed 13 points and Brittney Sykes added 12.

Bolingbrook star Morgan Tuck ignited the Wests rally that nearly overcame the double-deficit disadvantage. Tuck scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half.

Her teammate, Canadian Nirra Fields, scored 20 points. Niles West star Jewell Loyd struggled from the field, missing eight of her nine shots. She compensated by grabbing a team-best nine rebounds for the West. A lot of my shots were in and out, Loyd said, but I was able to contribute in other ways, with my defense and my rebounding.

Thompson scored on a double-pump up-and-under in the opening minutes as the East scored the games first 11 points. We just had great chemistry the whole time, in our practices and the time leading up to the game and it just spilled over, Thompson said. You saw that the way we shared the ball. It was almost effortless out there.

Loyds only basket, a three-pointer from the top of the key, ended the Wests four-minute scoring drought to begin the game. You could see from that time on, the nerves we had just kind of rolled off, tLoyd said.

Zion-Benton and West coach Tanya Johnson thought Loyds shot enabled her group to get into a better offensive groove. I think the kids just settled down, Johnson said. I think early on, we took early shots, and got caught up in he magnitude of the game of the game and playing on the United Center floor.

Johnsons Zion-Benton team lost to Tucks Bolingbrook team in last years Class 4A state final. She was happy to be on Tucks side this time. Shes a coachs dream, Johnson said of Tuck. She was a monster on the boards and she just plays so hard.

The Connecticut-bound Tuck, the Sun-Times Player of the Year, was matched against another Connecticut recruit, 6-3 national player of the year Breanna Stewart, who scored nine points. Tuck was 5-for-7 from the floor in the second half.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Breaking down the decision to pull Jabari Parker from the rotation


Bulls Talk Podcast: Breaking down the decision to pull Jabari Parker from the rotation

Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and David Watson discuss Jabari Parker’s removal out of the Bulls rotation and the impact it has now and in the offseason.

0:45 - Reaction to the surprise that Parker is out of the rotation

2:10 - Kendall on why he thinks this decision is a mistake

3:20 - Responding to Parker’s postgame comments reacting to the decision

6:15 - On difference between playing Parker at PF vs SF defensively

9:05 - What this move means for the ‘plan’ with this franchise

11:30 - Are Bulls close to trading away a player?

12:10 - Kendall on why he’s concerned long-term with how the team is treating Parker

13:45 - On potential impact in free agency

15:40 - On the public perception with Parker being benched

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

Bulls Talk Podcast


Takeaways from Bulls-Magic: Jabari barely plays, Lauri is still acclimating

Takeaways from Bulls-Magic: Jabari barely plays, Lauri is still acclimating

The Bulls showed some positives in Mexico City, but struggled to execute in the final minute in a 97-91 loss to the Magic.

Here are four takeaways from Thursday's loss.

Parker does, in fact, appear to be out of the rotation

A report came out just before the game that Jabari Parker expects to be out of the rotation going forward. With Chandler Hutchison out sick, the report added that Parker could play against the Magic. He did play, but only four minutes and none in the second half.

Monday against the Kings, Parker played 19 minutes, which became his season-low in minutes before Thursday in Mexico City. He missed his only shot and had an assist and a rebound in his four minutes.

"I think it's a matchup thing," coach Jim Boylen said after the game. "I also think that it's hard to play three fours. It's very difficult to do that. We played him some minutes at three and I didn't think that was the way to go the rest of the game."

With Lauri Markkanen back in the starting lineup and Bobby Portis building up his minutes in his second game back from a knee injury, the power forward spot is back at full strength. Boylen had the chance to play Parker at small forward with Hutchison out, but still limited his minutes.

"Him playing four is difficult right now. Him playing three, there may be an opportunity there. I like Hutch. Hutch was sick tonight so Jabari got some of those minutes at three in that situation."

Boylen said he talked to Parker about his role and where he is in the rotation, but didn't go into much more detail than that.

"Going forward he's part of our team and it's not about the individual in our team," Boylen said. "It's about playing your minutes the best you can and we'll where his minutes are going forward."

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune caught up with Parker after the game.

Markkanen is still reacclimating

This was Lauri Markkanen's sixth game of the season. He has shot better than 35 percent in just one of those games.

On Thursday, the Finn was 2-for-10 from the field (2-for-6 from 3-point range) for seven points. He had five rebounds in 28 minutes. The seven points were the lowest since his return.

Boylen admitted Markkanen was standing around too frequently.

"I have to do a better job of getting Lauri off the move," Boylen said. "We ran a couple things for him to try to get him off the post and we just didn't get the ball to him. That's my job. I got to do a better job of that."

LaVine still good with Dunn

Kris Dunn has only played three games so far this season, but in each game Zach LaVine has been very efficient offensively. Dunn could be the key to bringing the best out of LaVine.

LaVine had 23 points on 10-for-18 shooting. He added five assists, but did have six turnovers. LaVine has shot 11-for-15, 7-for-13 and 10-for-18 in Dunn's three games.

"Zach has been very focused and he's trying to lead," Boylen said. "He's trying obviously to make shots, score the ball. He's trying to make good decisions and turn the ball over less so Zach is trying to do all he can do to help us win."

Kris and Bobby

In their second games back from injury, Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis both saw their minutes increase from Monday against Sacramento. Both are still coming off the bench.

Dunn finished with five points, four rebounds, two assists, four turnovers and four fouls in 26 minutes. Portis had a better night with 15 points (6-for-11 shooting) and seven rebounds in 22 minutes.

"I thought they both had moments where they were great for the team," Boylen said. "I thought Bobby's defense was really good. I thought he took the challenge on (Aaron) Gordon and he competed and I thought Kris was better tonight than the last game we played and I thought he looked like his legs were under him more tonight. I also thought he led better tonight when he was out there from the point guard position. Those guys are going to keep developing for us."


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