Bulls

...while RG3 leaves with an ugly knee injury

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...while RG3 leaves with an ugly knee injury

From Comcast SportsNetLANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Robert Griffin III reached too far for the football, his already injured right leg twisting gruesomely behind him.Just like that, Griffin was done. And so were the Washington Redskins.The Seattle Seahawks finally won a road playoff game, snapping an eight-game postseason skid away from home with a 24-14 NFC wild-card victory Sunday over the Redskins, who lost Griffin to another knee injury in the fourth quarter."I think I did put myself at more risk by being out there," Griffin said. "But every time you get on the field, you're putting yourself on the line."Griffin didn't know what the injury was, and coach Mike Shanahan said he was scheduled for an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.Washington won seven straight games to win the NFC East title and become the only team in the last 16 years to make the playoffs after a 3-6 start. But any hope for a late comeback win against the Seahawks ended once Griffin's heavily braced right knee buckled badly as he strained to field a bad shotgun snap in the fourth quarter. He lay on the ground, unable to recover the ball as the Seahawks pounced on it.Many fans in the stands stood in silence, their hands covering their faces as Griffin was being attended to. Several of Griffin's Redskins teammates also stood around the quarterback to see if he was OK.Though Griffin walked off the field under his own power after several minutes and saluted the fans, the Redskins (10-7) quickly announced he would not return."If you didn't pull him out then, you should get fired," Shanahan said.Griffin suffered a mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament located on the outside of the knee against Baltimore on Dec. 9, caused when he was hit by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata at the end of a 13-yard scramble. He was limping earlier in this game, clearly still ailing from that injury."It was hard to watch RGIII tonight," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "It was hard on him. He was freaking gallant."Despite Griffin's struggles, Shanahan left him in the game. Not that Griffin would have accepted an early exit."I probably would been right back out there on the field," Griffin said. "You respect authority, and I respect coach Shanahan. But at the same time, you have to step up and be a man, sometimes. There was no way I was coming out of that game."Griffin went to the locker room to get checked out after going down in a heap in the fourth quarter, but walked back out a few minutes later and stood on the sideline as only a spectator for the rest of the game.Seattle's Steven Hauschka kicked his third field goal of the game, and backup quarterback Kirk Cousins couldn't pull off the late-game heroics he displayed a few weeks ago against the Ravens when Griffin was first injured. Griffin was playing in his third game since spraining his right knee against Baltimore, which also brought Cousins into that game.While setting a rookie quarterback record with 815 rushing yards this season, Griffin captivated the D.C. area -- and the football world -- with his dazzling ability to pass and run. After four straight last-place finishes in the NFC East, the Redskins appear to have a bright future with their No. 2 overall pick.As long as Griffin is healthy, of course.Sunday's game was only the second playoff contest in NFL history between rookie quarterbacks, and before his injury, Griffin looked more like a first-year player than he had during Washington's impressive run to end the regular season. He completed 10 of 19 passes for 84 yards with two touchdowns and an interception and ran for 21 yards on five carries."I don't feel like me being out there hurt the team in any way," Griffin said. "I'm the best option."Shanahan said he spoke with Griffin throughout the game about the quarterback's health."He said, Hey, trust me. I want to be in there, and I deserve to be in there,'" Shanahan said. "I couldn't disagree with him."Meanwhile, Marshawn Lynch ran for 132 yards and a touchdown and Russell Wilson completed 15 of 26 passes for 187 yards and ran eight times for 67 yards for the Seahawks, who broke an eight-game postseason losing streak away from home.Wilson was among those who watched and worried after Griffin went down."He's a tremendous football player," Wilson said. "I just prayed he was all right."Seattle (12-5) will visit the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.Lynch's 27-yard run with 7:08 remaining gave the Seahawks their first lead of the game - and then Seattle held on for the win.Griffin tossed touchdown passes to Evan Royster and Logan Paulsen as Washington scored on its first two drives to take a 14-0 lead, but Seattle rallied to move on to the next round."We actually got a chance to sit at the dinner table and experience success," Griffin said. "It was a good meal, but now we want to go back and get dessert, and we'll be ready to get dessert next year."

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Daniel Gafford breaks out in loss to Bucks

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USA TODAY

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Daniel Gafford breaks out in loss to Bucks

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, Dave Watson, and John Sabine react to the Bulls 115-101 loss to the Bucks.

0:45                        Reaction to breakout game from Daniel Gafford

3:30                        On Gafford getting limited minutes and not playing in the 4th quarter

7:00                        Viewer comment on sitting Markkanen

8:55                        Viewer comment on on Zach and Lauri

10:15                     On the rotations and bench play

12:45                     Viewer comment on Coby White long-term potential

14:30                     Dave needs to do a show with no hat?

16:15                     Viewer comment on Zach LaVine

18:00                     Viewer trade idea with Warriors

19:45                     Viewer comment brings back Rose memories

20:05                     Change the starting lineup?

22:05                     Viewer makes Sabine happy by referencing Doncic

23:10                     Matt Peck breaks his mic

25:00                     On the Bucks having fun before the Bulls game

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

Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen fail to produce in crunch time for Bulls

Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen fail to produce in crunch time for Bulls

Coby White’s second straight 3-pointer splashed through the net — a three that, combined with a Ryan Arcidiacono long-ball, capped a 9-0 run to give the Bulls a one-point lead over the Bucks with 6 minutes, 23 seconds to play.

For the second time in five days, the Bulls had an opportunity to knock off the Bucks, an Eastern Conference champion contender.

Then, reality hit. Or the starters returned. At this point, that’s one and the same.

Here’s all you need to know about where the Bulls’ rebuild stands as 'Year Three' fell to a 4-10 start following the Bucks’ 115-101 victory: Coach Jim Boylen admitted he considered riding a bench unit down the stretch over one that featured Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.

“They have a guy that they can go to that can get them a bucket, which is what good teams have,” Boylen said, referring to the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo. “I’ve been on those teams. We’re figuring out who that guy is and we’re learning to play that way. We’re not there yet.”

Boylen then supported his beleaguered core players, because that’s what he’s paid to do. But the sobering reality of the Bulls’ current fortunes didn’t just play out in LaVine’s stat line of 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting, or Markkanen’s 9 points on 2-for-12.

It played out when Boylen indeed returned to LaVine and Markkanen with 5:04 remaining, and the Bucks leading 103-99. From that point, the Bulls didn’t score another field goal.

Markkanen sank two free throws but missed a driving layup and 13-foot jumper. LaVine committed a turnover, missed a layup and a 3-pointer.

Game, set and match.

“They got the MVP over there. He did his thing. And we didn’t,” LaVine said. “It’s going to be tough when your leading players, me and Lauri, don’t perform at our level. You can understand that. You’re missing a lot of points and a lot of plays. We understand we have to pick it up.”

What’s that they say? Recognition is the first step towards recovery. The Bulls have to hope so, especially after Markkanen admitted his slump is affecting him mentally.

“It’s frustrating knowing I’ve never had this kind of stretch of not even not hitting 3s but missing layups and dunks,” he said. “I have to keep my head up knowing that you work too hard for this not to turn around. Keep working and I know it’s going to turn around.

“I noticed myself kind of thinking too much at the half. I tried to switch it up and make the plays for the team. That’s how you get out of your own head. I have to stay aggressive. Create contact and then finish every shot. Not getting out of it too early or anything like that. I’ve done my film study. Put the work in and I know it’s going to turn around.”

At one point, Markkanen actually missed two dunk attempts on the same possession. Following the second, he rolled his eyes toward the United Center roof as if to say, 'What’s next?'

Markkanen is shooting 36.2 percent overall and 26.8 percent from 3-point range. He missed all four three-pointers he attempted versus the Bucks.

“Just try to get an easy bucket and lay it in. But having two 7-footers there, I know it’s going to be blocked so I tried to go up quick and end up missing it,” Markkanen said of the dunk sequence. “It was frustrating. I know I can play better. It’s not going to be like this forever. I don’t know what else to say.”

Antetokounmpo made 13 field goals, equaling the total of five Bulls starters. How do you say 'ouch' in Greek?

“What I’m going to do is I’m going to support those two guys. I’m going to coach them like I always have. I’m going to show it to them on film and we’re going to work on it in practice. We’re going to get them to understand that we believe in them, we value them and that we need to do better,” Boylen said. “It’s all part of this process. We’re slugging uphill right now. We gotta keep slugging. That’s all I can say.”

Boylen said he returned to LaVine and Markkanen because he still believes in them. He has to say that and he has to believe that. The rebuild is structured for them to shine.

It’s not currently happening.

“I’m still developing two young guys,” Boylen said. “Zach missed a year-and-a-half. Lauri was hurt last year. He has basically played two years. I’m going to keep developing them to come in and learn how to win games. I believe in both of them. I believe they’re important to what we’re doing.”

Raising LaVine’s absence to an ACL injury and subsequent rehab is a curious approach from Boylen given that LaVine has been fully healthy and rehabbed for quite some time. But again, he has been placed in a position where he has to protect their play and lack of production in big moments.

The Bulls are a long way away from respectability at this point.

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