Bulls

Word On the Street: Peppers fined 10k

Word On the Street: Peppers fined 10k

Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Peppers fined 10K

Bears defensive end Julius Peppers was fined 10,000 by the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field. The hit (pictured right) resulted in a 15-yard penalty. (ChicagoBreakingSports)
James Johnson to D-League
Despite an impressive pre-season showing, Bulls forward James Johnson received minimal playing time in the first half of the season. Johnson has been rumored to be on the trading block, but because he has only played in 12 games with limited success this season, teams seem hesitant to pull the trigger on a deal. As a result, Johnson is expected to be assigned to the Iowa Energy of the D-League, by his own request, where he can receive more playing time and showcase his talents.

When the Bulls do make the move official, it will be the first time that the Bulls have made use of the D-League since assigning Shannon Brown, Cedric Simmons, Demetris Nichols and JamesOn Curry to the Energy during the 2007-08 season. (CSNChicago.com)

IHSA suspends 7 area high schools

The Illinois High School Association suspended seven chicago-area high schools from state competition on Thursday for failing to attend town hallprincipal rules meetings for two consecutive years. The suspended schools are Chicago's Orr, Academy of Scholastic Achievement, Best Practice, Henry Ford Power House Charter and Las Casas, Plainfield's Christ Lutheran Academy and Rockford's Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

These schools were put on probation after failing to appear last year, and after missing this school year's meetings in November, they were given the chance to attend a pair of make up meetings this month. (Chicago Tribune)

NASCAR changing scoring system

NASCAR chairman Brian France announced on Wednesday that the racing league will be scraping the scoring system they have used since 1975 for a simpler format. The system will still be point-based, but the values of wins and finishing positions have been changed.

"Now everyone will know, when a driver is down by 10 points, that he needs to pass 11 more cars to take the lead in the point standings," France said. "We (had) a point system that's hard to describe for ourselves. We just thought this was the perfect time ... (to) simplify it so people can follow." (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Noah getting closer to return

Noah and his Bulls teammates are beginning to get excited at the prospect of an early return. Noah is approaching the six-week mark after a surgery that was expected to keep him out of action for 8-12 weeks and though he is not yet ready to return, head coach Tom Thibodeau says he is ahead of schedule.

"The next step will be getting him on the court to do non-contact stuff," Thibodeau said. "He's probably a week or two away from that. Once he can get through the non-contact part of practice, then the next step will be contact in practice. When he gets through that, then he plays. He's still two steps away." (Chicago Tribune)

SportsTalk Live Podcast: A sprained MCL and Trubisky's performance. vs the Pats

dunn-stl-pod.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: A sprained MCL and Trubisky's performance. vs the Pats

David Haugh, Jordan Cornette, Shae Peppler join David Kaplan on the panel.

0:00- Mark Schanowski joins SportsTalk Live to discuss Kris Dunn’s sprained MCL, Fred Hoiberg’s tough luck and Zach LaVine postgame criticisms of the coaching. Plus they’ll discuss another 0-3 team- LeBron’s Lakers.

20:00 – The panel discusses Mitchell Trubisky’s performance vs. the Patriots. Jordan makes the case that the media is giving the former No. 2 pick a pass.

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

Sports Talk Live Podcast

Subscribe:

Bulls bracing for a Kemba Walker onslaught

kemba.jpg
USA TODAY

Bulls bracing for a Kemba Walker onslaught

Through the opening week of the NBA season, Hornets' All-Star point guard Kemba Walker and former Bull Niko Mirotic share the league scoring lead, averaging 33 points per game.

Bulls' fans have seen these hot stretches from Niko before, and chances are he'll start moving down to the mid to high-teens before long. But Walker is a big-time scorer who's quietly emerged as one of the most consistently productive point guards in a league loaded with stars at that position. He's averaged over 20 points and 5 assists in each of the last three seasons, making the Eastern Conference All-Star team twice.

Last season, Walker lit up the Bulls for 47 points in an overtime loss at the United Center in November, making some of the most difficult shots you can imagine to keep his team in the game. He seems to be as this best when facing the Bulls and you can bet Fred Hoiberg and his staff will pull out all the stops to try to slow him down, especially with defensive ace Kris Dunn out 4-6 weeks after suffering a sprained left MCL in his season debut on Monday.

The Hornets made some personnel changes since last season. The one-year experiment with Dwight Howard at center is over. Howard put up solid numbers for Charlotte a year ago, but didn't make much difference in the win-loss column, so he's moved on to Washington in his NBA odyssey. Cody Zeller is now the starting center, backed up by Bismack Biyombo and former Benet Academy and University of Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky.

Charlotte tried to improve the athleticism on their roster by selecting Malik Monk and Miles Bridges in the first rounds of the last two drafts. Monk is getting more playing time this season, averaging 13.5 points in the Hornets' first four games. Bridges is averaging just under 16 minutes a game as a backup to starting forwards Marvin Williams and Nic Batum. Just like he did at Michigan State, Bridges is providing those highlight reel putback dunks, but it remains to be seen whether he'll develop a consistent enough outside shot to be a quality starter in the NBA.

The well-traveled Jeremy Lamb is now starting in the backcourt with Walker, and the Hornets brought in long-time Spurs' point guard Tony Parker to add some much needed experience and veteran savvy off the bench. Given the current state of the Eastern Conference (post-LeBron), it's not out of the question for this group to contend for one of the final playoff spots.

Here's what the Bulls need to do for a shot at their first win of the season. This also applies to the rematch in Charlotte on Friday.

1. CORRAL KEMBA. For whatever reason, seeing that Bulls' logo turns Walker into an almost unstoppable scoring machine. Walker is adept at working off his big men, either in straight pick and rolls or cutting through the post on give-and-go plays. He's one of the league's most creative scorers, and doesn't require much room to get his shot off. The Bulls' bigs will have to provide help on Walker whenever he comes off screens to keep him from taking over the game.

2. PUT THE BALL IN ZACH'S HANDS. Whether he's playing shooting guard or point guard, Zach LaVine needs to be the primary facilitator with Dunn sidelined. LaVine scored 34 points against Dallas Monday night on just 15 shots, which led to him questioning some of the offensive sets that were run in the 2nd half. LaVine told reporters on Tuesday that he smoothed things over with his head coach, explaining his comments were the result of the frustration he was feeling after a third-straight loss to open the season. Still, LaVine is on a major hot streak, joining Bulls' all-time greats Michael Jordan and Bob Love as the only players to start the year with three straight games scoring at least 30 points. The Bulls will need to ride that hot hand for as far as LaVine can carry them.

3. DEFEND THE 3-POINT LINE. You knew I would eventually get to this, right? Dallas made 15 of 47 3-point attempts on Monday after the Pistons knocked down 18 of 40 in a two-point win last Saturday. The Hornets have all kinds of capable 3-point shooters in Walker, Lamb, Monk, Batum and Williams (they're shooting .397 as a team on 3's), so guarding the arc will be crucial for the Bulls to have a chance at their first win.

Don’t forget you can catch Wednesday's game on NBC Sports Chicago and the new MyTeams by NBC sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 pm when Kendall Gill, Will Perdue and Kelly Crull join me for Bulls Pregame Live from the United Center Atrium. Neil Funk and Stacey King have the play-by-play call at 7 pm, then stay tuned after the final buzzer for Bulls Postgame Live and the always entertaining Bulls Outsiders.