Rose continues to outduel Wall, Wizards–Bulls win 99-91

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

WASHINGTON—After Derrick Rose ignited a late fourth quarter rally that helped the Bulls stave off John Wall and the Washington Wizards, Rose exaggerated a strut as he came back to the bench.Rose had just scored six of the Bulls’ eight points in a rally that sent them on their way to their fourth straight win, 99-91 over the Wizards on Tuesday night.In his first meeting with Wall since Jan. 30, 2012, Rose scored 25 points. The Bulls have won all five games when Wall faced Rose.

”I think it was just the moment, being in the game like that, on the road,” Rose said. ”The emotional side is going to come out a little bit.”

After Washington scored 12 straight – 10 by Wall – to take an 87-86 lead with 3:44 remaining, the Bulls steadied and scored eight straight – six by Rose to lead 94-87 with 1:48 to play.

”You saw two people go at it tonight, two good teams,” Rose said.
Rose missed most of the last two seasons after knee surgery, and he’s rounding into form.

”I know where I’m going to be in a couple of months. You all are going to be the ones that are going to be surprised by the way I’m going to play,” Rose said.

Wall led the Wizards with 18 points.The Bulls outrebounded Washington 52-41.On Monday, the Bulls scored a franchise-record 49 points in the fourth quarter as they beat Toronto 129-120. Points were harder to come by a night later.Coach Tom Thibodeau is an admirer of Wall’s, and enjoyed the matchup between his player and the upstart Washington point guard.

”They’re both dynamic players, hard to guard,” Thibodeau said. ”They’re both unselfish. They make the right plays.”

Wall tried to downplay his meeting with Rose.

”Everybody is going to make it a big rivalry. I know every time I go against any good point guard it’s going to be a big one. It’s fun to have him back out there,” Wall said.

It was the first meeting of the teams this season. Washington defeated the Bulls in the first round of last year’s playoffs, 4-1.Gasol made his first 3-pointer of the season at the first quarter horn, and Rose hit one as the second quarter ended to give the Bulkls a 46-40 lead.

NOTES—Kirk Hinrich did not make the trip due to tendinitis in his left knee. Thibodeau said he thought Hinrich, who injured the knee in Monday night’s game would miss ”probably a couple of days. I’m not sure yet. . Thibodeau said that rookie F Doug McDermott, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, was making progress. He’s not expected back before the middle of next month.

Hawks listless in 5-1 loss to Jets

Mathieu Perreault scored two goals while extending his point streak to eight games, and the Winnipeg Jets routed the listless Blackhawks 5-1 on Tuesday night.Bryan Little also had his team-best 13th goal as Winnipeg stopped the Hawks eight-game home winning streak. The Jets are responsible for two of the Blackhawks’ four regulation home losses, also winning 1-0 at the United Center on Nov. 2 in their first meeting of the season.Winnipeg (18-10-7), one of the NHL’s biggest surprises, won for the third time in four games, bouncing back from a 4-3 overtime loss to Philadelphia on Sunday. The Jets led the Flyers 3-1 after two periods, but were unable to close it out.It was the Blackhawks’ worst loss of the season; they have only three losses by more than one goal. The Blackhawks (23-10-2) had won 14 of 17 overall.Marian Hossa scored his seventh goal in the second period, but the Blackhawks struggled to generate quality chances. Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson, who began the day with an NHL-best .940 save percentage and 1.73 goals-against average, finished with 38 saves.Winnipeg jumped on the Hawks for three goals in the first, chasing Corey Crawford while outshooting the Blackhawks 15-7 in the period. Perreault started the flurry with a wrist shot that went over Crawford’s glove at 9:04.Little took a pass from former Blackhawks forward Andrew Ladd to make it 2-0 at 13:18, and Anthony Peluso slammed home a loose puck for his first goal since Dec. 31, 2013. Peluso’s third career goal put an end to Crawford’s night after 13 shots, with Antti Raanta coming in with 4 1/2 minutes left in the period.Perreault added a power-play goal in the second for his eighth of the season. He has five goals and four assists in the NHL’s longest active point streak.The Blackhawks got on the board when Brandon Saad set up Hossa for a breakaway, and the veteran forward beat Hutchinson into the upper left corner at 12:05. The Blackhawks then turned up the pressure, but Hutchinson made a couple of nice stops on Patrick Kane in the final minute of the second.Blake Wheeler added an empty-net goal for Winnipeg, which dropped three of four against the Hawks last season. Ladd finished with two assists.

NOTES—Perreault’s point streak is the longest of the season for the Jets. … Blackhawks C Brad Richards missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. He skated with the team on Tuesday morning and could return Saturday at Colorado in the Hawks first game after the NHL’s Christmas break.

Marshall rout NIU in Boca Raton Bowl

Northern Illinois Huskies (2001 - Pres)

BOCA RATON—Quarterback Rakeem Cato and receiver Tommy Shuler have played together since high school, so they were able to communicate without a lot of conversation Tuesday in their final game for Marshall.He was, time and time again. Shuler and Cato capped their careers with record-setting performances in the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl to help Marshall beat Northern Illinois 52-23.Cato tied an NCAA mark for touchdown passes, threw for three scores and was voted the most valuable player. Shuler had 18 receptions for 185 yards and broke the Conference USA record for career catches with 322.Cato and Shuler were high school teammates in nearby Miami, and they gave a large throng of family and friends plenty to cheer about.

”To do that playing your final game in your backyard is special,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. ”They’re just tremendous players, and they’re great friends.”

Marshall finished 13-1, with its lone loss to Western Kentucky, 67-66 in overtime. Northern Illinois finished 11-3.

”Give credit to Marshall; they made a ton of plays,” Huskies coach Rod Carey said. ”I didn’t think we played real well, and that’s too bad because we’ve had an unbelievable season.”

Cato extended his streak of throwing at least one touchdown pass to 46 consecutive games. That tied the NCAA all-division record set by Central Washington’s Mike Reilly.As usual, Cato’s favorite target was Shuler.

”Anybody who knows Shuler, against a man-to-man matchup, he’s going to hurt you,” Cato said. ”I’m going to continue to go at him until they show me something different, and they didn’t show me anything different.”

Cato finished the season with a school-record 40 touchdown passes. He threw for scores of 6 yards to Shuler, 11 yards to Angelo Jean-Louis and 27 yards to Deon-Tay McManus.All of those touchdowns came in the second half. Cato completed 25 of 37 passes for 281 yards and ran 5 yards for a score.

”Cato made the plays when he needed to,” Huskies safety Dechane Durante said.

The game drew a crowd of less than 15,000 in Florida Atlantic’s 30,000-seat stadium, but both coaches praised the inaugural event.

”This will be a huge bowl,” Holliday said. ”The community has embraced this bowl, and when all is said and done, it’s going to be one of the best bowls in America.”

Marshall tried a bit of trickery early in the game, when Shuler took the ball and lobbed it into the end zone to Cato for an 11-yard touchdown. But the play was negated by a penalty.

”If Tommy wouldn’t have made such a bad pass, we would’ve had it,” Holliday said with a grin.

The tandem did better with Cato throwing. All seven of his completions in the first half went to Shuler.

”He made tough catches and easy catches and made people miss,” Carey said.

Cato wore No. 31 instead of his familiar No. 12 to honor teammate Evan McKelvey, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in October.Deandre Reaves scored Marshall’s first touchdown on a 93-yard kickoff return. Devon Johnson ran for 131 yards and a score for the Thundering Herd, who totaled 505 yardsThe Huskies’ Drew Hare threw for 225 yards and a score, and they added 200 on the ground. They outgained Marshall in the first half but trailed 24-13 because they settled for field goal tries three times and missed one.NIU pulled off a successful onside kick to start the second half but lost the ball four plays later when Arnold Blackmon stopped Cameron Stingily for no gain on fourth and 1 at midfield.The Thundering Herd mounted touchdown drives of 56, 68 and 70 yards on consecutive possessions in the second half to lead 38-20.The win gave the Thundering Herd bowl victories in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-02.

Bulls score Franchise record 49 in in fourth quarter, overtake Raptors 129-120

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

Even surrounded by an array of offensive talent, Derrick Rose proved he is still the go-to guy.Rose scored 29 points, Jimmy Butler added 27 points and 11 rebounds, and the Bulls snapped the Toronto Raptors‘ six-game winning streak with a 129-120 victory on Monday night.Rose scored 15 of the Bulls’ franchise-record 49 points in the fourth quarter. ”We know we can always count on him, go to him. That’s just the type of guy he is,” Butler said. ”He wants the pressure on him. He produces. He produced. I think we’re going to keep on going back to him and he’s going to do the same thing every night.” The Bulls, who had won three straight, got Rose and Taj Gibson back after each missed two games. Rose was ill and Gibson was out with an ankle injury. ”I felt good. I was kind of surprised. I wasn’t as fatigued as I thought I would be missing a couple of days,” Rose said. Rose’s jumper over Kyle Lowry put the Bulls up 106-100 with 4:12 left. He put away the game with a 3-pointer to make it 118-105 with 1:17 left.The Eastern Conference-leading Raptors wanted to make a statement in the United Center after losing earlier this season to the Bulls at home.”We’ve been hearing about it all week, the last couple of days. They wanted to play us, we beat them there and they wanted to come here and get revenge. Tonight I think was a big game for us,” Rose said. Lowry scored 34 points and Jonas Valanciunas finished with 20 for Toronto, which led by 12 in the third quarter. Lowry scored 18 points in the fourth. ”We didn’t play defense and they executed extremely well,” Lowry said. ”Derrick Rose looked like his old self and he played extremely well. They executed extremely well. Forty-nine points, give them credit. Whatever play they called they got good shots, and they got where they wanted to get on the floor. But we didn’t give them any pushback. That’s one thing we have to make sure we do from now on.” After Lowry’s runner gave the Raptors a one-point lead, the Bulls scored six straight to make it 100-95. Rose and Joakim Noah had back-to-back baskets and Nikola Mirotic capped it off with a pair of free throws before Raptors coach Dwane Casey burned a timeout with the crowd on its feet.Mirotic finished with 12 points and Aaron Brooks had 17 points off the bench.James Johnson put the Raptors up 80-68 with 6:35 left in the third quarter, but the Bulls scored eight unanswered to tie it in the final minute of the period. Pau Gasol found Gibson for an alley-oop dunk to tie the game at 80.The Raptors began a six-game road trip on Monday after playing a league-high 17 home games.Lowry had a follow shot with 0.1 seconds left to give the Raptors a 66-60 lead at the half. NOTES—Raptors: James Johnson is making a defensive impact for the Raptors after struggling to get minutes with the Bulls in his first two seasons. ”Like all of us, we get a little older and wiser and smarter,” Casey said of the five-year veteran. ”Hopefully, that’s the case with him, that he’s matured.”….Rose played in 10 straight games before getting sick. He’s missed 10 games this season with various injuries and illness. ”In Derrick’s case, it was good where he was stringing some games together. Unfortunately, he got sick and now we have to hope he can pick up where he left off,” coach Tom Thibodeau said…..Casey on Butler: ”I’ve had a man-crush on him for a while now. He’s a strong, physical kid and now he’s knocking down shots, handling the ball and he’s just developed into an all-around, All-Star type player. He’s one of those kids you really admire because he’s made a lot of who he was coming out of college. I don’t think anybody projected him to be where he is now.”….Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich left the game with a strained left hamstring in the second half.

Cats rip Flames 63-46

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

EVANSTON—Bryant McIntosh scored 22 points and Alex Olah had 17 to lead Northwestern to a 63-46 victory over undermanned UIC on Monday.McIntosh was 7 of 9 from the field and hit all six of his free throws for Northwestern (8-4). Olah hit 5 of 10 shots, 6 of 10 free throws, grabbed seven rebounds and had three blocks.D’Juan Miller led UIC (3-10) with 14 points and seven assists. Jake Wiegand had a game-high 10 rebounds, as the Flames dropped their third game in a row.UIC was without top scorer Jay Harris, averaging 15.8 points per game. He was a game-time decision because of a strained ligament in his right knee, which he sustained in practice on Sunday.The Flames pulled as close as 45-38 on Jason McClellan‘s 3-pointer with 6:45 left in the second half. But Olah responded with a pair of free throws and the lead wasn’t seriously threatened the rest of the way.McIntosh and Olah set the tone with 10 points each in the decisive first half. ”We started fast with a lot of energy,” said McIntosh, who also had four assists. The victory was the second for Northwestern since coach Chris Collins and his staff made changes to create a more upbeat atmosphere before games.Prior to a win against Western Michigan, players formed a line and locked arms to stress team unity. Chairs also were removed from locker room to get the players on their feet and boost energy levels. ”I’m not one to just stand pat,” Collins said. ”I’ll change lineups. I’ll change what we’re doing. We’ve changed our pre-game in terms of how much we say to the guys. We’re trying to be more rah-rah versus locked into strategy just to get some life.” After Lance Whitaker gave UIC a 2-0 lead, McIntosh and Olah combined to score the next 16 points. The Wildcats held UIC scoreless for seven-plus minutes, which Ahman Fells finally stopped at the 12:16 mark. ”In these last two games, it was more like the defense our program is accustomed to seeing,” said Collins, whose team blocked nine shots and forced 10 turnovers. ”Sometimes you have to get exposed in order to embrace change, that’s what that game (against Central Michigan) did for us.” The Wildcats connected on only 6 of 35 tries in first half and 15 of 60 overall, as their season-long struggles in the field continued. ”In the first half, when we were hitting some lulls, there were some shots that Jay probably would have been able to knock down for us,” head coach Howard Moore said. ”But we’ve had those lulls with him in the lineup, too.” NOTES—UIC’s leading scorer, Jay Harris, watched the game in a walking boot on the bench but could return to action later this week. One week earlier, the fifth-year guard was selected as the Horizon League Player of the Week on the heels of a career-high 32-point performance against Central Florida…..Northwestern’s Alex Olah played with a lower back problem that was not believed to be serious. Reserve swingman Scott Lindsey was limited to eight minutes because of a twisted ankle and he sat out the second half….The Flames had won four of the previous five matchups between the two clubs, including the last three at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Northwestern now holds a 5-4 all-time record against UIC…..Northwestern: It was the Wildcats’ fourth game in a nine-day span. … Two children (8th graders and under) were admitted free to Monday’s matinee with one paid adult admission.

Lions beat Bears despite some stupid and dumb play.

After benching Jay Cutler, the Bears nearly hung an embarrassing loss on the playoff-bound Detroit Lions.Thanks to a late touchdown run by Joique Bell, the Lions managed to get past Jimmy Clausen and the chaotic Bears 20-14 Sunday. That set up a showdown with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North championship.

”This is what we play for,” Calvin Johnson said after catching six passes for 103 yards. ”We’re right there on the door step, we have one more task ahead of us and that’s to go out next week and get another W.”

Bell scored on a neat touchdown run in the fourth quarter, and Detroit overcame two interceptions by Matthew Stafford.The Bears benched Cutler days earlier, having seen enough after he led the NFL with 18 interceptions and 24 turnovers in the first year of a seven-year contract he signed in the offseason. They turned to the cast-off Clausen, who hadn’t started a game since 2010.Matthew Stafford outplayed Clausen, but just barely. He completed 22 of 39 passes for 243 yards and hit the 4,000-yard mark for the fourth straight year, but it was hardly an easy afternoon for him.

”We stood tall,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. ”We played hard. We’re not trying to sugar-coat it. We didn’t win. We’re here to win. But I felt our players were in it to win for four quarters today but I’ve felt that way throughout the season. That hasn’t changed.”

Ndamukong Suh had two sacks, and now the playoff-bound Lions (11-4) can wrap up the NFC North title with a win next week against Green Bay. Regardless, the Lions will make their second trip to the postseason in four years and third in 16 years after Philadelphia’s loss to Washington on Saturday.They were hoping to lock up their first division championship since 1993. But with the Packers beating Tampa Bay, the North will be decided in next week’s game.Stafford threw interceptions in the end zone and near the goal line on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter with the Lions leading 7-0.Jeremy Ross muffed a punt near the end of the first half, leading to a touchdown for the Bears, and center Dominic Raiola stepped on Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson’s right ankle while he was on the ground early in the third quarter.Despite all that, the Lions came away with their highest win total since they went 12-4 in 1991.Reggie Bush ran for a touchdown and 54 yards. He added 44 yards receiving, and Detroit handed the Bears (5-10) their fourth straight loss.Clausen completed 23 of 39 passes for 181 yards in his first start since his 2010 rookie season with Carolina. He threw touchdowns to Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery and played turnover-free ball until a late interception by Glover Quin.The Bears were leading 14-10 early in the fourth when Tim Jennings bumped Corey Fuller on a deep third-down pass, resulting in a 46-yard interference penalty.On the next play Bell – who sat out the first quarter after violating unspecified team rules – dodged two defenders and broke a tackle by Brock Vereen for a 17-yard TD that put Detroit up 17-14. Prater added a 30-yard field goal to make it a six-point game with 2:35 remaining.Prater gave Detroit a 10-7 lead with a 39-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half. But the Bears answered with an 80-yard touchdown drive. Clausen capped it by lofting a 20-yard pass over Darius Slay to Jeffery in the end zone, giving the Bears their first lead at 14-10 with 2:45 left in the third.The Bears’ Jeremiah Ratliff blocked a 37-yard field goal by Prater early in the fourth, keeping it a four-point game.The Lions might have run away with this one if not for Stafford’s interceptions in the second quarter and a muffed punt by Ross that led to an 11-yard touchdown catch by Forte with 30 seconds left in the first half. But if Detroit let up knowing that it clinched a playoff spot, Stafford did not see it that way.

NOTES—Raiola said he did not intentionally step on Ferguson’s ankle and apologized to him for it. No penalty was called on the play. ”it was totally unintentional,” Raiola said. ”I was stumbling out of the play, come on now, I’m not out here trying to step on people.” Ferguson was angry about it after the game, saying, ”You can’t take away what happened with that play. You saw the play.” … The Lions have won four straight against the Bears. … Willie Young will miss the season finale after leaving the game in the third quarter after injuring his left Achilles tendon. He will not play next week at Minnesota.

Tough night for Hawks who blank Leafs 4-0

Playing with heavy hearts, Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks earned a difficult win.Kane had a power-play goal and two assists, leading Antti Raanta and the Blackhawks to a 4-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night.The Blackhawks played with a ”CR” decal on their helmets after assistant equipment manager Clint Reif died earlier in the day. The team said it was ”deeply saddened” by the loss and declined further comment while asking for respect for the privacy for Reif’s family and friends.

”We’re still in disbelief,” captain Jonathan Toews said. ”The fact we went out there and played the way we did, I think we dedicated that one to our good friend Clint.I’m glad we got the win tonight.”

Reif, 34, was ”found to be unresponsive in his home” on Sunday morning, according to a statement from the DuPage County Coroners Office. Authorities are investigating the death, and the coroners’ office declined further comment.Raanta made 31 saves for his second shutout of the season, helping the Hawks rebound from a 3-2 shootout loss Saturday night in Columbus.

”I commend the guys. Very emotional, draining day,” coach Joel Quenneville said. ”To come up and play such a solid game, from Antti right on out, they played the right way.I know we got better as the first period went on and had a real solid third period. It was a real challenging day.”

David Rundblad, Kris Versteeg and Toews also scored, and Patrick Sharp had three assists as the Blackhawks won for the 14th time in their last 17 games. The Hawks have just one regulation loss in their last 13 games.James Reimer made 30 saves in Toronto’s third straight loss following a six-game winning streak.

”They moved the puck around us quite a bit in the hockey game and we just didn’t have an answer for it,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. ”And then we when we did have some chances, I thought the goaltender made some big stops.”

Although No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford was available, Raanta started for the third time in four games and recorded his third career shutout. Crawford faced the Blue Jackets on Saturday after missing eight games with a foot injury.

”Every single game (Raanta’s) been in the net he’s done what he could to enhance his positioning here,” Quenneville said. ”Our goaltending has been outstanding no matter who’s been in the net.”

Rundblad put the Blackhawks in front with a screened shot from the left point with 4:30 left in the first period. Sharp and Toronto’s Korbinian Holzer were tussling in front of Reimer as the shot sailed in.It was Rundblad’s first goal since the defenseman had his first NHL goal for Ottawa on Nov. 27, 2011.Versteeg made it 2-0 with just .4 seconds left in the first on a nifty move. He kicked Kane’s off-target centering pass to his stick before beating Reimer on the glove side from the right circle.The Maple Leafs, who entered with an NHL-leading 3.39 goals per game average, fired some prime chances at Raanta in the scoreless second. Jake Gardiner’s shot from the blue line clanked off the left post midway through the frame.

”We weren’t able to turn possession into good quality chances,” Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul said. ”And when we did, the puck didn’t really seem to bounce our way.”

Kane made it 3-0 at 9:07 of the third when he pounced on a rebound of Brent Seabrook’s shot from the point. It was Kane’s 16th goal of the season.Raanta was sharp in the third, especially when Toronto fired six shots during a power-play midway through the period.

NOTES—The Blackhawks observed a pregame moment of silence for Reif. … Blackhawks C Brad Richards was sidelined by an upper-body injury and is day to day. D Tim Erixon was a healthy scratch. … Toronto D Stephane Robidas,a former Blackhawk, sat out with an undisclosed injury suffered Saturday against Philadelphia. Leafs C Leo Komarov (concussion) missed his 11th game. … It was the second and final regular-season game between the Original Six rivals. The Leafs won 3-2 in Toronto on Nov. 1.

Rose,Gibson sit for Bulls, Melo out for Knicks–Butler carries Bulls past NY

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

In a game missing Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony, it was Jimmy Butler who played like a star.Butler scored a career-high 35 points and the Bulls beat the New York Knicks 103-97 on Thursday night.

”All I can say is thank God for Jimmy Butler,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”You can’t say enough about him.”

Playing without Rose, who sat out with an illness, the Bulls got another strong game from Butler. He was 11 of 21 from the floor with four 3-pointers, five rebounds, seven assists and four steals, further staking a claim to an All-Star spot this season.

”He’s playing extremely well, with a lot of confidence, with a lot of aggressiveness,” said Bulls forward Pau Gasol, who had 20 points. ”He’s asserting himself every single game at both ends of the floor.”

Still, the Bulls had trouble shaking a short-handed New York team that’s lost three straight and 13 of 14. The Knicks were led by Tim Hardaway Jr., who had 23 points and five 3-pointers.Samuel Dalembert made a basket with 2 seconds left in the third quarter to give the Knicks a 74-73 lead heading into the fourth. New York outscored the Bulls 29-21 in the third, holding the Bulls to six field goals.The Bulls responded in the fourth, going on a 12-0 run to take an 87-77 lead, a spurt that included a dunk by Butler with 8:43 to go and was capped by Nikola Mirotic’s 3-pointer.New York hung around, pulling within one on Amare Stoudemire’s basket with 4:13 remaining and again with 1:06 left on Stoudemire’s jumper. But Gasol made a layup and, after Hardaway missed a wild 3 with 37.9 seconds left, Aaron Brooks hit a free throw and Gasol rebounded the missed second attempt to effectively clinch the win.

”Chicago is a good team. They understand situations,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said. ”They just made more plays down the stretch than we did.”

Anthony was out with a sore left knee and is day to day. He has averaged 23.4 points in 24 games for the Knicks but has been battling the knee problem, an issue that kept him out of New York’s first game in Chicago since Anthony spurned the Bulls last summer during free agency.New York also was without Andrea Bargnani (right hamstring), Cleanthony Early (right knee), Iman Shumpert (left shoulder) and J.R. Smith (left foot). Stoudemire was expected to miss the game for a recovery day, but played nearly 31 minutes and scored 16 points.That still wasn’t enough to help New York, which fell to 5-23.Rose had played in 11 consecutive games as he works his way back from the torn meniscus that ended his 2013-14 season. He is averaging 16.8 points and 5.1 assists for the Bulls, who lost Monday in Atlanta to end a three-game winning streak.Taj Gibson (right ankle) also was sidelined but is expected to make the trip to Memphis for Friday’s game. The Bulls aren’t sure whether Rose will play, but Butler stepped up in his absence Thursday.

”I don’t want to be a star,” Butler said. ”I just want to be a decent role player on a really good team.”

Fisher said it would be up to Anthony whether he will be shut down to let the knee heal. ”Ultimately that has to be the player’s decision, in terms of what he feels like is best for him and his career,” Fisher said. ”Also, what’s best for the team.” … Stoudemire has played in 27 of New York’s 28 games this season. The only game he missed was Nov. 14 against Utah.

NOTES—With three assists, Kirk Hinrich passed Norm Van Lier for third in team history. … The Bulls improved to 23-4 at home against the Knicks since the 2000-01 season.Joakim Noah had four points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls in his first game back after missing four straight with a right ankle problem. ”I missed him out there because he’s a guy that does all the little things, a lot of dirty work,” Gasol said….Charles Barkley sat courtside and provided color commentary for TNT. And something he said caught the attention of Knicks President Phil Jackson, who tweeted ”do I have to mute this game? Chuck just remember your fundamental… key to (triangle emoji),” apparently in reference to the triangle offense New York is running.

Cutler benched! Clausen to start vs Lions Sunday.

LAKE FOREST—The Bears will start Jimmy Clausen Sunday against the Lions.The move comes as a major surprise. While Jay Cutler has faced scrutiny for his body language and demeanor, the team handed him a seven-year, $126 million contract last season. The move seems to indicate that Cutler is done for the season, and puts his career with the Bears in jeopardy.Clausen has seen time in three games this season, completing three passes in nine attempts. His last start came back in 2010, his rookie season. That year, Clausen threw for 1,558 yards, with three touchdowns against nine interceptions.The Lions are currently 7-point favorites.

Hawks let two goal lead slip away, but beat Minnesota anyway.

The surging Blackhawks keep on finding ways to win.Patrick Kane scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 3:28 left, and the Blackhawks bounced back to beat the Minnesota Wild 5-3 on Tuesday night for their 13th win in 15 games.Kane’s centering attempt from behind the net – intended for Patrick Sharp – struck the skate of Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin and deflected into the net.Jonathan Toews had a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks, who dominated in the second period and took a 3-1 lead. But Minnesota’s Nino Niederreiter connected on a penalty shot, and Marco Scandella fired in a screened goal in the third period to tie it.

”The power play came up with a big timely goal,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ”I didn’t mind overall what transpired tonight. Tough game.”

Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook also scored, and Ben Smith added an empty net goal for the Blackhawks, who won for the 10th time in 11 games. And they did it without top defenseman Duncan Keith, who was sidelined by an undisclosed illness.

”It’s a good little run we’re on here and we want to keep it going,” Smith said. ”Even when we’re up two goals in the third and they storm back to tie, we found the way to get the job done.”

Minnesota’s Thomas Vanek scored in the first period as the Central Division rivals met for the first time since the Blackhawks defeated the Wild in the second round of last season’s playoffs.Antti Raanta made 26 saves as Blackhawks No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford sat out an eighth game because of a foot injury sustained when he left a concert two weeks ago.Crawford is expected to return this weekend.Niklas Backstrom made 34 saves. Keith missed his first game this season. David Rundblad took his spot in the lineup and was paired with Seabrook, Keith’s usual partner, in the first period before Quenneville shuffled his pairings.Niederreiter’s team-leading 14th goal equaled his career high for a season, set last year in 81 games.Vanek scored the only goal of the first with 7:01 left when he was left wide open in the slot.The Blackhawks outshot the Wild 21-8 in the second period and took a 3-1 lead on goals by Seabrook, Hossa and Toews in a span of 8:11.Seabrook tied it 1-1 at 8:10 when he moved in from the right point and ripped a high shot past Backstrom.Hossa made it 2-1 with 7:41 left in the second.Toews started and finished the play that increased the lead to 3-1 just over four minutes later. He stole the puck from Christian Folin and whipped it back to Smith who was alone in front.Smith took two point-blank shots, and the second slipped between the goalie’s pads. Toews then tapped it in.But the Wild stormed back in the third to tie it.Niederreiter was awarded a penalty shot at 7:13 after he was hooked from behind by Hossa. Niederreiter faked and beat Raanta with a rising backhand shot.Scandella tied it 3-3 with a screened shot from just inside the right point just under three minutes later.Smith’s empty-netter with 1:14 left sealed the win.

”Getting that power play was nice and we were able to bounce one in there,” Seabrook said. ”It was a lucky one, but we’ll take it.”

NOTES—Keith has six goals and 12 assists in 31 games. … Rundblad sat out the previous five games as a healthy scratch. … Scandella returned after serving a two-game suspension. Minnesota D Jared Spurgeon missed his second game due to an illness. … Wild F Brett Sutter played his first game this season following his recall from AHL Iowa on Monday. He is the son of Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter, who also coached and played for the Blackhawks.