Carolina over ATLANTA
NY GIANTS over Washington
Philadelphia over DALLAS
NEW ORLEANS over Tampa Bay
ARIZONA over San Francisco
SEATTLE over St.Louis
NEW ENGLAND over Buffalo
TENNESSEE over Houston
PITTSBURGH over Cleveland
CINCINNATI over Baltimore
INDIANAPOLIS over Jacksonville
MIAMI over NY Jets
Denver over OAKLAND
SAN DIEGO over Kansas City

NFC North Games:
MINNESOTA over Detroit
BEARS over Green Bay

Last week: Les 9-7   Adam 9-7
Through 16 Weeks: Les 156-83-1   Adam 158-81-1

Home Teams in ALL CAPS

Sharp scores twice as Hawks hold Devils to 12 SOG in 5-2 win

The Blackhawks kick-started their league-leading offense by holding on to the puck — and shutting down New Jersey defensively.Patrick Sharp scored twice and Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell and Nick Leddy also connected to lead the Hawks to a 5-2 win over the Devils on Monday night.Stephen Gionta and Michael Ryder had goals for the Devils, whose season-high four-game point streak (3-0-1) ended.New Jersey was lucky to get those two scores — off a failed clearing attempt and a close-in turnover — as the Hawks outshot the Devils 37-12, and controlled the puck and the play.

“I thought it was one of our better games all year as far as puck possession, directing plays,” Joel Quenneville said. “I thought we did everything we were looking to do in the game. I liked their energy, I liked their thought process, our purpose.The Blackhawks spent little time in their zone. With only a couple of exceptions, they moved the puck to their forwards efficiently and left the Devils.Sharp, who recorded his third two-goal game this season, was one of the beneficiaries.

“It starts with the defense making great plays in the D-zone,” he said. “We’ve had great forwards here for a while that want the puck and want to score goals.”

The 25-year-old Kane has been better offensively this season, his seventh in the NHL. He has points in 12 straight games, matching his career high — set earlier this season and just before his run.
Kane has seven goals and 14 assists in his streak, and at least one point in all but one of his past 25 games, helping him climb into second in the NHL scoring race behind Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.

“If we can play defense like that every night, I think you’re going to see more scores like that,” he said.

Bickell’s goal was his first since Nov. 10, but he missed 14 of the Hawks 19 games during that span with a knee injury.Antti Raanta blocked 10 shots in his seventh straight start — all since Blackhawks top goalie Corey Crawford suffered a lower-body injury on Dec. 8. He faced the fewest shots against the Hawks in a game this season.
New Jersey’s Cory Schneider made 32 saves.The Blackhawks outshot the Devils 12-2 in the first period and led 1-0 after 20 minutes.Sharp opened the scoring at 12:59 when he snapped off a 40-foot shot from the left boards. New Jersey defenseman Mark Fayne reached toward the puck with his right glove, but deflected it past Schneider.One of the Devils’ two shots in the period was a dump-in from their own blue line while killing a penalty.Gionta tied it at 1 at 5:37 of the second on a deflection at the doorstep and the Devils’ fourth shot on goal.Following a failed clearing attempt on the left boards, Jon Merrill fired from the top of the slot. The puck struck the skate of Blackhawks defenseman Michael Kostka, then ticked in off Gionta’s stick.Kane put the Hawks back ahead 2-1 just over 2 minutes later when he drove to the net and slammed in a rebound of Leddy’s shot. Schneider made a glove save on Leddy’s drive from the slot, but it dropped to the ice and Kane plowed over Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky to score.Bickell made it 3-1 with 7:33 left in the period, connecting on a rising, screened shot from the right circle after taking a feed from Brandon Saad.Ryder swept in a backhand 59 seconds into the third to cut it 3-2 after he picked off a clearing pass by defenseman Brent Seabrook.The Devils managed to come back from a two-goal deficit against Washington on Saturday to win in overtime. The Blackhawks didn’t let that happen.

“Tonight we gave away way too much space and way too much opportunity to move the puck as well,” Ryder said. “We’re pretty stingy on defense usually, and tonight we got away from that and tonight it shows on the scoreboard.”

Set up by Marian Hossa’s stretch pass, Sharp scored his second goal on a breakaway at 5:54 to extend  lead to 4-2. He took the feed at center ice, streaked in alone and fired a low shot under Schneider’s glove.Leddy’s power-play goal, on a drive from the top of the circle with 7:01 left, completed the scoring.Sharp narrowly missed a hat trick, firing the puck off the post with 39 seconds left.

NOTES—Crawford has resumed skating and is expected to start practicing after Christmas, according to Quenneville. … Gionta’s goal was his second in four games after not scoring in his first 20 games this season. … Devils RW and leading scorer Jaromir Jagr was held without a point for the first time in seven games. … New Jersey RW Damien Brunner missed his second game with a lower-body injury and C Andrei Loktionov sat out his second with an illness. … Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin, who used to work in the Blackhawks front office, attended the game.

Offense,Defense,Special Teams,,,Bears stink the joint out in Philly–fail to clinch Division

PHILADELPHIA—The Bears got help from Green Bay and Detroit, who both lost. They knew a win would sew up the NFC North, but they weren’t beating a Little Sister of the Poor on this night.With little on the line until next week, Chip Kelly didn’t rest his starters until they finished whipping the Bears.Nick Foles threw two touchdown passes, LeSean McCoy ran for two scores and the Philadelphia Eagles routed the Bears 54-11 on Sunday night in a matchup of first-place teams with opposite stakes.This embarrassing loss sets up two winner-take-all games for NFC division crowns next week.The Bears (8-7) came in needing a win to clinch the NFC North and secure the No. 3 seed while Philadelphia was just trying to stay healthy. But the Eagles (9-6) played like the team trying to lock up a playoff berth.Now, the Bears must tie or beat the Packers (7-7-1) at home next week to win the North.The Eagles (9-6) have to tie or beat the Cowboys (8-7) in Dallas next Sunday night to win the NFC East and complete a worst-to-first season under their rookie coach. Once Dallas rallied to beat Washington earlier in the day, the Eagles knew they were only playing for a No. 3 seed even if they win the division.Foles was 21 of 25 for 230 yards, and set a franchise record with a completion percentage of 84.0. In only nine starts, Foles has 25 TD passes and two interceptions. He was replaced by Michael Vick midway through the fourth quarter.

By that time, fans were chanting: ”We want Dallas!”

McCoy, trying to become the first Eagles player to lead the NFL in rushing since Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren in 1949, ran for 133 yards and leads Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles by 189 going into the last game.Bryce Brown had 115 yards rushing, including a 65-yard TD run.The Bears were awful and the Eagles dominated from the start.Trent Cole sacked Jay Cutler to force a three-and-out on the Bears first possession, and the Eagles went right down the field and scored when Foles hit Riley Cooper going across the back of the end zone on a 5-yard pass.Bradley Fletcher then forced Devin Hester to fumble after a 36-yard kickoff return and Cary Williams recovered at the Bears 39. Foles connected with Zach Ertz for 27 yards and McCoy ran in from the 1 to make it 14-0.The Bears went three-and-out again and Foles drove the Eagles 72 yards, tossing a 10-yard TD pass to Brent Celek on third down.Cedric Thornton tackled Matt Forte in the end zone for a safety and a 26-3 lead in the third quarter. McCoy then ran in from the 1 to make it 33-3 and it was all but over, but, Chris Polk had a 10-yard TD run in the fourth quarter and Brandon Boykin returned an interception 54 yards for a score to make it 47-11.The Bears only TD came when Cutler tossed a 6-yard pass to Brandon Marshall on the final play of the third quarter.Cole had three of Philadelphia’s five sacks on Cutler, who hadn’t gone down more than three times in a game previously this season.Bears seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs returned to the lineup after missing seven games because of a fractured shoulder. He wasn’t much help.The Eagles racked up 514 yards.The Bears had a chance to secure a division title because Green Bay lost to Pittsburgh and the New York Giants eliminated Detroit from playoff contention.

Bulls still short handed, but handle Cavs 100-84

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

D.J. Augustin came into the league with high expectations. He came to Chicago simply looking for another chance.Augustin delivered on Saturday, scoring 18 points to help the short-handed Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-84 and snap a four-game losing streak.Carlos Boozer led the way with 19 points, and rookie Tony Snell came on strong in the second half to finish with 17 points. The Bulls prevailed after matching their longest slide of the season and longest in four years under coach Tom Thibodeau.

”As we get bodies back, D.J. gets comfortable, I said all along that I have great belief in this team,” Thibodeau said.

Augustin looked like a guy who’s settling in. He played more than 46 minutes, hitting 4 of 6 3-pointers while dishing out 10 assists.He did commit five turnovers. But overall it was a good night for a former first-round draft pick whose career hasn’t quite gone the way he hoped.Augustin found himself in a limited role with Indiana last season after spending his first four years in Charlotte, and he was waived by Toronto this year before being signed by the Bulls last week.

”The Indiana situation, I had some good games there,” Augustin said. ”At the same time, it was tough. The style of play maybe didn’t fit me a little bit. Coach [Frank] Vogel had his guy that he went with, he played the majority of the minutes. I kind of knew that going in. The Toronto situation, I don’t know what happened there. But I just tried to stay professional and just keep myself ready.”

Boozer and Augustin both got off to strong starts as the Bulls built a 17-point halftime lead, and they withstood several pushes down the stretch to come away with the win after dropping 13 of 16.The Bulls shot nearly 54 percent overall and were 10 of 15 on 3-pointers against a weak defense.Boozer hit 8 of 14 shots. Snell nailed five 3s — four in the second half — and finished one point off his career high.Taj Gibson scored 15 points. Joakim Noah grabbed 18 rebounds, and the Bulls got a reprieve from the losing despite all its injuries.Besides Derrick Rose, the Bulls were also missing the injured Luol Deng (sore left Achilles), Jimmy Butler (sprained right ankle) and Kirk Hinrich (back). But they still had enough to beat Cleveland.Andrew Bynum had 19 points for the Cavaliers, but Kyrie Irving had a rough night.He finished with 14 points on 5-of-16 shooting after fighting through an illness to score 39 in Friday’s overtime win over Milwaukee, and the Cavaliers lost for the third time in four games.It didn’t help that they were missing second-leading scorer Dion Waiters, who sat out his second straight game because of a sore right wrist.The Bulls saw a 19-point lead early in the third shrink to 68-61 late in the quarter. But a basket by Gibson and back-to-back 3-pointers by Snell bumped the lead to 81-65.The Cavaliers made another run in the fourth, cutting their deficit to 85-76 on Matthew Dellavedova’s 3, but Chicago hung on.

NOTES—Brown expressed sympathy for Kobe Bryant over the Lakers star’s most recent injury. ”You feel bad for him because of how hard he works, how bad he wants it,” Brown said. ”To see him go through the last two injuries, especially at this point of his career, makes it tough, makes it tough, so you feel bad for him.” Brown was fired by the Lakers early last season and returned to Cleveland for a second tenure in April. … No. 1 draft pick Anthony Bennett sat out his second straight game for Cleveland because of an illness. … Deng, averaging 19.6 points, missed his second straight game because of a sore left Achilles tendon. Butler left Thursday’s game at Oklahoma City because of a sprained right ankle. The Bulls were hoping Hinrich would return from an ailing back against Cleveland. Instead, he missed his fifth straight game.

Irish blow eight point lead in final minute, fall to Ohio State


NEW YORK—It looked like Ohio State’s winning streak to start the season was over.The third-ranked Buckeyes were down eight points to Notre Dame with less than 2 minutes to play and their offense was nowhere to be found.They still had their tough defense and somehow they were able to turn the game completely around and beat the Fighting Irish 64-61 on Saturday night in the BlackRock Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden.While a few players did come up with big defensive plays, it was mostly one guy who made the free throws for the Buckeyes (12-0).Lenzelle Smith Jr. scored seven of his nine points in the final 33 seconds — including going 5 of 5 at the line — to lead the rally.The Buckeyes went 9:10 without a field goal and at one point were 6 of 21 from the field as Notre Dame (8-4) opened what seemed to be a comfortable lead late.Jerian Grant hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock was expiring to give the Fighting Irish a 58-50 advantage with 1:54 to play.

“I am so thoroughly disappointed,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “We had such a good chance at such a great win.”

The Buckeyes turned up the defensive intensity and they converted consecutive steals into a 58-56 deficit with 40 seconds to go.Demetrius Jackson made two free throws for Notre Dame a second later.Smith was fouled taking a 3-pointer and he made all three free throws to bring Ohio State within 60-59 with 32 seconds left.Steve Vasturia, who was in the game because point guard Eric Atkins had fouled out, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 31 seconds left, his first free throw attempt of the season.Smith scored down low on a nice pass by Craft to give the Buckeyes a 61-60 lead with 16 seconds to go. After a Notre Dame turnover, Smith made two free throws for a 63-60 lead with 9.8 seconds left.Grant made one free throw with 6.7 seconds left and Craft made one free throw with 3.3 seconds left.Jackson missed a potential tying 3 as the buzzer sounded.

Illini hand Mizzou first loss in Braggin’ Rights Game

ST. LOUIS—Tracy Abrams scored a season-best 22 points and made two free throws with 4.6 seconds to lift Illinois over No. 23 Missouri 65-64 Saturday in the annual Braggin’ Rights game.Rayvonte Rice added 14 points for Illinois (9-2), which snapped a four-game losing streak in the 33rd renewal of the annual neutral-court matchup.Jordan Clarkson had 25 points and Earnest Ross added 13 for Missouri (10-1), which entered the game as the lone unbeaten school in the SEC.Illinois scrambled on its final possession but got a bit of a break when Abrams was fouled by Johnathan Williams III driving the lane.

Hawks fail to hold 2-0 lead, Canucks win 3-2 in a shootout.

Ryan Kesler scored the deciding goal in an eight-round shootout, and the Vancouver Canucks rallied to defeat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Friday night.Kesler fired a high shot past Antti Raanta to help Vancouver end a two-game losing streak. Mike Santorelli was successful in the first round as the Canucks improved to 2-4 in shootouts.Patrick Sharp had the Hawks only shootout score.Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin tied it at 2 with 9:12 left in the third period. Zack Kassian also scored for the Canucks.Patrick Kane scored his team-leading 21st goal and set up Kris Versteeg’s score in regulation.

Thunder win 8th straight, beat Bulls 107-95, Noah and Perkins exchange words after the game

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

OKLAHOMA CITY—Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City had an answer for every challenge from the Bulls.It was just business as usual for the Thunder at home.Durant scored 32 points and the Thunder beat the Bulls 107-95 on Thursday night for their eighth straight win.Oklahoma City led by 15 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, but the Bulls pulled within seven on D.J. Augustin’s 3-pointer with 8:50 to go. Oklahoma City then outscored the Bulls 16-4 over a late 5-minute stretch to pull away.

“I thought our defense was good the whole game,” Durant said after topping 30 points for the 13th time this season. “They slowed us down a little bit with their free throws, but I thought we just played through it in the second half. We were able to come out and speed it up a little bit, get some turnovers and get some easy points.”

Russell Westbrook had 20 points and 10 assists, and reserve Reggie Jackson added 18 to help the Thunder improve to 13-0 at Chesapeake Arena. Oklahoma City is the only NBA team with a perfect home record.

“If we move the ball like that with the guys we have that create for everybody, create for themselves, it makes it tough on other teams,” Durant said.

Joakim Noah had 23 points and 12 rebounds for the banged-up Bulls, who have lost four straight and seven of eight. Taj Gibson scored 16 points and Augustin added 15.The Bulls played without Kirk Hinrich (back tightness) and Luol Deng (sore Achilles), and Jimmy Butler left during the game with a right ankle injury.

“I thought we still had a shot in the second half,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I thought we were within striking distance, but we couldn’t get the key stops when we needed them. … You’ve got to give them credit.”

Oklahoma City led by 14 in the first half, but their advantage was cut to three at the break, prompting a strong response from the Thunder in the third quarter.They used a 13-4 run to go up 68-56 with 7:52 to go in the period. Westbrook’s layup increased the advantage to 13 about 1 minutes later, and then he had a layup and Durant made a jumper to make it 79-64 with 3:25 left in the third.Jackson’s 3 in the final minute put Oklahoma City up 84-72 heading to the fourth, and Nick Collison opened the final quarter with three-point play. The Bulls put together another spurt to close to 89-82 on Augustin’s 3, but that was as close as it would get.

“We were just trying to shut down the paint,” Jackson said. “That was our main focus at halftime and I think we did a good job of locking in, getting some stops, and getting out on the break. … They’re physical. They play really well defensively, especially half-court sets. Right now they’re a little depleted, people are banged up, beat up.”

Jeremy Lamb’s dunk with 7:44 left made it 93-82, pumping up the home crowd. Durant made a 3-pointer and Westbrook’s two free throws with 3:06 to go extended the lead to 105-86.

“I think our defense just hasn’t been there to help us out,” Gibson said. “We are normally a great defensive team. We just got to get guys more reps, especially now that we lost Jimmy with the ankle.”

Jackson made six of the Thunder’s seven baskets in a 6:13 stretch bridging the first two quarters. Lamb’s steal and fast-break dunk with 9:21 left in the second interrupted Jackson’s streak at four consecutive baskets.Jackson’s jumper about a minute later gave Oklahoma City a 41-27 lead.The Bulls battled back, and Mike Dunleavy hit two 3s in the final minute to get the Bulls within 55-52 at halftime.

NOTES—Durant was whistled for a technical foul with 2:25 left in the first quarter for arguing following his second personal foul. … Led by Jackson and Lamb, Thunder reserves came in averaging 33.6 points per game, the franchise’s highest since moving to Oklahoma City. … Deng missed four games earlier this month due to a strained left calf. The Bulls are now 1-4 in his absence. … About 45 minutes after the game, Thabo Sefolosha brought Noah to the Thunder locker room with the media still present, but the Bulls star was chased out by Oklahoma City’s Kendrick Perkins. Words were exchanged.The locker room is a sacred place for a professional athlete. And it has imaginary lines that are not to be crossed.Following the game, Noah was paying a visit to former teammate Sefolosha.And Perkins took exception.

Sitting at his locker, Perkins loudly said, “We just let anyone in here now?”

Noah, who was near the entrance of the locker room, shook his head and just said, “C’mon.”

Perkins, to no one in particular: “I’m just asking though.”

Noah again: “C’mon man.”

Perkins: They just let anybody in the locker room?”

Noah: “You want me to wait outside?”

Perkins: “Just saying.”

Noah: “You want me to wait outside, I’ll wait outside.”

Perkins: “Get your ass up out of here.”

And Noah then turned and left.The confrontation never escalated to anything more serious than that, but it was obvious the Thunder players were agitated with an opponent being in their locker room. Russell Westbrook was most vocal about it saying that shouldn’t happen.For the most part, Thunder players seemed more aggravated with Sefolosha for bringing an opponent in than anything else.But Perkins, who likes to fancy himself an enforcer on the court, also plays the part of locker room bouncer. And he wasn’t having any of an opponent crossing enemy lines on his watch. It was a little bit awkward, but for the most part, the players handled it it calmly and cooler heads prevailed.


SAN DIEGO over Oakland
Denver over HOUSTON
Miami over BUFFALO
NY JETS over Cleveland
KANSAS CITY over Indianapolis
Tennessee over JACKSONVILLE
BALTIMORE over New England
CAROLINA over New Orleans
Dallas over WASHINGTON
ST.LOUIS over Tampa Bay
SEATTLE over Arizona
Mon Nite: SAN FRANCISCO over Atlanta

NFC North Games:
CINCINNATI over Minnesota
DETROIT over NY Giants
GREEN BAY over Pittsburgh

Last Week: Les 8-8,  Adam 8-8
Total through 15 weeks: Les 147-76-1   Adam 149-74-1

Home Teams in CLL CAPS.

Uncle Lar passes away at age 73.

It’s with big sadness that we learned that Superjock LARRY LUJACK has passed away at age 73 after a bout with Cancer. I started working with “Uncle Lar” when WLS hired me in October of 1979, right when my Son Scott was born. I worked with him until he stepped away from the business in 1987. Last saw him in May 2008 at the WLS “Rewind” when they brought back the Big 89 on Memorial Day(Photo on the left was the night before that at Harry Carary’s with Tommy Edwards. and Kathy). The middle photo was the Larry Lujack morning team with Jeff Hendrix and Catherine Johns in 1985. Photo on the right at the 1982 “Larry Lujack MEMORIAL(he called it that)Golf Tournament. Our thoughts with Judy and Larry’s Family.