Bears rally late to edge Broncos with two late TD’s.

DENVER—Mitch Trubisky and Denver QB Case Keenum feel better about their respective offenses after starting out faster and finally moving the chains Saturday night.

”Scoring points always feels better,” said Keenum, who led two scoring drives in three possessions one week after his dud of a Denver debut.

Trubisky also bounced back from a dismal debut last week by connecting with Trey Burton for his first score of the summer.

”We can find answers in this offense,” said Trubisky, who’s learning first-year coach Matt Nagy’s philosophies. ”The playmakers are going to get open. It’s my job to get them the ball.”

Keenum’s new backup Chad Kelly threw another touchdown pass after leapfrogging Paxton Lynch, but it was Bears backup Chase Daniel who had the best night of all.He led a fantastic finish by throwing for a pair of touchdowns in the final five minutes Saturday night to spark the Bears come-from-behind 24-23 win.With the Broncos in control at 23-10, Lynch entered the game to a thunderclap of boos, which only increased through three drives that went nowhere.

”Well, I feel bad for Paxton, but our fans want to win,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. ”That’s what it’s about, it’s about passion, I should say. But I feel bad for Paxton. But he has to ignore it and go play. It’s professional football. No one’s going to hold your hand, so he has to go out there and perform.”

Lynch played poorly again.A week after his 24-yard performance led to his demotion, he threw for just 39 yards on 5-of-11 passing with a pair of sacks.He nevertheless had the Broncos (0-2) in field goal range when he hit Isaiah McKenzie on a short slant route and the speedy receiver who fumbled six times as a rookie, coughed up the football on second effort at the Bears 37 and linebacker Isaiah Irving recovered it with 58 seconds left.Daniel threw a 2-yard TD pass to running back Taquan Mizzell with 4:38 left and then hit tight end Ben Braunecker with 1:53 remaining to tie it. Pat O’Donnell’s extra point gave the Bears (1-2) their first lead.After a pair of three-and-outs last week, Keenum rebounded from another three-and-out to lead two scoring drives on his final two possessions, finishing 8 for 13 for 78 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.Kelly had his second straight strong showing, this one just 48 hours after general manager John Elway indicated he might have to go in search of a veteran backup quarterback if he can’t trust either Kelly or Lynch to come in and win games should Keenum get hurt.Even though Kelly’s three TDs are the only ones thrown by Denver’s quarterbacks so far, Joseph’s not ready to say he can trust him to be one play away from starting when the regular season begins.Trubisky threw for 90 yards and a touchdown on 9-of-14 passing. He also threw an interception and was tackled by first-round pick Bradley Chubb for a safety after the shotgun snap from the 1 went off his hands.Trubisky said he’s feeling more and more comfortable in the Bears new offense.Von Miller , who was held out at the last minute a week earlier, made his preseason debut for Denver and played a couple of series. Miller said he wasn’t upset by the decision last week to sit him against the Vikings but said he did want to play.

Bears fall short to Bengals, 0-2 in Exhibitions

CINCINNATI—Andy Dalton made the Bengals’ new offense look like a comfortable fit.Working out of Cincinnati’s reconfigured playbook, Dalton threw a pair of touchdown passes during a 30-27 victory over the Bears on Thursday night at half-empty Paul Brown Stadium.The Bengals (1-0) were last in the league on offense last season, the worst finish in franchise history. They overhauled their leaky offensive line, and coordinator Bill Lazor injected more diversity into the playbook. It showed the first time out.

”That’s what we wanted to do,” Dalton said. ”If we go out and play like we’re supposed to play, it can look like that.”

Dalton went 6 of 8 for 103 yards, completing four passes of at least 20 yards. He also had an interception that wasn’t his fault – John Ross fell on his route and Kyle Fuller returned the pickoff 47 yards to the end zone.The Bengals are hoping that Ross and running back Joe Mixon – their top two picks last season – emerge in the redesigned offense during their second seasons.Ross had a 20-yard catch. Mixon – moved into the starring role with Jeremy Hill gone – made the game’s most impressive play. He caught a short pass, stiff-armed one defender and spun away from another for a 24-yard touchdown .The Bears (0-2) rested most of their starters during a 17-16 loss to the Ravens in the Hall of Fame Game, including quarterback Mitchell Trubisky . His preseason debut Thursday didn’t go very well.

”We expect to be better,” Trubisky said. ”We were sloppy and that’s not how we want to play.”

Trubisky was in for two series that netted minus-1 yard on eight plays. The Bears’ only first down on those series came on Carlos Dunlap’s penalty for roughing the quarterback, a late hit on Trubisky. He missed on a deep sideline pass to Kevin White on his opening throw and finished 2 of 4 for 4 yards.

”There was nothing extraordinary, but nothing bad,” first-year coach Matt Nagy said. ”This is so early for him right now. It’ll be fun to get him more snaps and get him into a rhythm.”

Attendance was 35,633, slightly more than half-capacity at the 65,535-seat stadium. Last year, the Bengals drew 44,495 for their first home preseason game. They’re coming off two straight losing seasons.Tyler Bray had a 56-yard completion to Daniel Brown during a 92-yard touchdown drive that put the Bears ahead in the fourth quarter. Bray finished 18 of 27 for 219 yards. The Bears signed him from Kansas City, where he was familiar with Nagy’s offense.Nagy decided to try for a tying field goal with 45 seconds left. Cody Parkey missed a 52-yard try.

NOTES—There were no protests. Bears players, coaches and staff stood with arms linked for the anthem. Bengals players stood by themselves on the sideline…..Demarcus Ayers and Fejedelem drew personal fouls for lowering their heads during tackles…..The Bears play at Denver on Saturday, Aug. 18.

Stan Mikita dies after long illness

Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita died on Tuesday at 78, according to his family, after a long battle with illness. Mikita is one of the most prominent names in Blackhawks lore. He holds Blackhawks records for games played, points, assists and plus/minus. He trails only one-time teammate Bobby Hull for the team record for goals scored at 541.Mikita played 22 NHL seasons, every one with the Blackhawks. He won the Hart Trophy as league MVP twice, in 1966 and 1967, and he won the Art Ross Trophy four times.In the family’s statement, they asked for privacy as they mourned the passing of Mikita.

“With great sorrow, the Mikita family announces that Stan passed away on Tuesday August 7, 2018 at the age of 78,” the statement said, per the NHL’s website. “He was surrounded by his loving family whom he fiercely loved. Details of planned services will be released when they become available. We respectfully ask for privacy at this time.”

Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz also had a statement released on his behalf, which read:

Stan Mikita will be always remembered as a champion, an innovator and a master of the game. He embodied the Chicago Blackhawks. His excellence is illustrated by the team records he still holds today. His passion for the game was proved by the longevity of his playing career. The impact he had on the franchise is proved by fact that Blackhawks fans still wear his jersey to the United Center. On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks organization and our fans, we express our deepest condolences to the Mikita family and all who mourn Stan’s passing.

“Stan Mikita will be always remembered as a champion, an innovator and a master of the game. He embodied the Chicago Blackhawks.” #ForeverABlackhawk

Mikita was the inspiration for a diner in “Wayne’s World,” the famous “Stan Mikita’s Donuts,” run by an extremely curmudgeony Ed O’Neill. About a year and a half ago, “Stan Mikita’s Donuts” opened up for real for a weekend in Los Angeles.Mikita was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. The Blackhawks also retired his No. 21 after his retirement in 1980.Mikita was diagnosed with suspected dementia with Lewy Body in 2015, and his health took a turn for the worse. While robbed of his memories, Mikita’s family said in June 2015 that it wouldn’t join any of the concussion and CTE lawsuits being brought against the NHL at the time.

Most regulars watch as Ravens edge Bears in Hall of Fame Event

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CANTON—The Ravens and Bears honored their great linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher with some defense to make them proud in the Hall of Fame game that opened the NFL’s preseason Thursday night.Oh, there was a little spark of offense, some provided by Baltimore’s first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson in the second half of a 17-16 victory. His 7-yard touchdown pass to fellow first-rounder Hayden Hurst came after the Ravens’ defense recovered a fumble.The Bears put together its best drive in the final minutes and journeyman Tyler Bray connected with Tanner Gentry for a 10-yard score to cap a 92-yard march. But the 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.Otherwise, D was the letter of the day: there were six turnovers in all, and 12 sacks, eight by the Bears.The teams exchanged tipped interceptions on the first two possessions of the preseason.The Bears moved swiftly downfield only to have Chase Daniel’s pass to Josh Bellamy deflected to safety Chuck Clark at the Baltimore 6. He returned it 15 yards, then the Ravens replicated the turnover.Robert Griffin III, attempting a comeback after sitting out 2017, had his pinpoint throw go off the hands of receiver Breshad Perriman, then off rookie cornerback Michael Joseph. DeAndre Houston-Carson dived to make the pick at the Ravens 34.The Bears soon converted when Michael Burton caught a 4-yard scoring pass from Daniel.Baltimore tied it, sparked by two big gainers by undrafted rookie running back Gus Edwards. Griffin found Maxx Williams for a 4-yard score.Then Lewis’ old unit thrilled him. On the next play from scrimmage, linebacker Kamalei Correa sped 19 yards with an interception to the Bears 9. But Urlacher’s former defense made him smile, sacking Griffin on third down to hold Baltimore to a 31-yard field goal by Kaare Vedvik.Generally, it was a sloppy affair marred by a slew of dropped passes, poor protection for the quarterbacks, and misthrows by those QBs.But something Lewis and Urlacher would approve, the defenses hit hard and tackled well.Matt Nagy, of late the offensive coordinator in Kansas City, made his head coaching debut with the Bears. He has said his new offense is in the early steps of development, and it looked that way all night.Of course, with backups playing it’s nearly impossible to gauge progress.Each of the seven inductees to the hall who were on hand – Terrell Owens is a well-publicized no-show – received a rousing ovation when they were introduced before the game. Lewis replicated his patented warmup dance for a few seconds, and Urlacher slapped hand with every Bears player lined up on the 45-yard line.Also walking along midfield between the lines of Ravens and Bears were Randy Moss, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Robert Brazile and Bobby Beathard.Owens did make it onto the cover of the Hall of Fame enshrinement magazine, however.

NOTES—At halftime, Hall of Famers Ozzie Newsome, the general manager of the Ravens, and Dan Fouts received their ”Rings of Excellence” from David Baker, the hall’s president.The first application of the NFL’s enhanced enforcement of penalties for players lowering their helmet to make a tackle occurred early. Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor was flagged for his hit on Benny Cunningham, earning a 15-yard penalty that helped set up the Bear’s first touchdown.Correa got nailed for the same violation in the third quarter, but he also had a sack that forced a fumble in that period, and three sacks overall….The Bears are at Cincinnati next Thursday night.

Jabari Parker now Bulls beat Free Agent signing(IF he’s healthy).

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Jabari Parker is heading back home. The Simeon Alum and former No. 2 overall pick will be joining the Bulls. The team confirmed the signing on Saturday. The deal is for two years and $40 million. He had been a restricted free agent, but the Milwaukee Bucks pulled their qualifying offer at the last moment, allowing Parker to become an unrestricted free agent and simply agree to a deal with the Bulls. Free agent forward Jabari Parker has agreed to a two-year, $40M deal with the Bulls, league sources tell ESPN. Milwaukee rescinded Parker’s qualifying offer moments ago, making him unrestricted.Parker averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 38.3 percent on 3-pointers last season, but played just 31 games after returning from ACL surgery in February. It was the second time in just four seasons that Parker had to make a return from a torn ACL. The second year of Parker’s deal is reportedly a team option, which, given Parker’s previous injury history, is smart from the Bulls’ perspective. It remains to be seen, however, if the same will be said for signing Parker in the first place. It’s easy to see the allure of signing a former No. 2 overall and hometown kid who still has plenty of talent, and will be boon for the marketing department. However, Parker works best as a power forward, and it seems likely there will now be a logjam in the team’s frontcourt. Lauri Markkanen, the team’s first-round pick last season, is also best suited to play the four, and looked impressive in that role last season. Plus the team has Robin Lopez, Bobby Portis Jr. and this year’s first-round pick, Wendell Carter Jr. The plan, according to a report from K.C. Johnson of the Tribune, is to play Parker at the three alongside Markkanen and one of Lopez and Carter in the frontcourt. That may work on offense, but the defense figures to be quite a problem for the Bulls.

Bulls go big in NBA Draft first round.

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Following attempts to trade up for Marvin Bagley III and Mo Bamba, the Bulls stayed at No. 7 and drafted 6-foot-10-inch Wendell Carter Jr. from Duke.Carter, who impressed the Bulls throughout the draft process, is the type of big who management envisions will fit in today’s NBA and complement Lauri Markkanen. At the NBA draft combine, he talked openly about how his game can expand at the next level after sacrificing for his more heralded Duke teammate Bagley.Carter, 19, averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in his lone season at Duke. He’s considered an elite rebounder and has the ability to face up or play with his back to the basket. He also shot 41.3 percent on 3-pointers.Following his workout at the Advocate Center, Carter showed his knowledge of today’s game and also talked about learning under Robin Lopez.
In round two, Chandler Hutchison persisted since he left the NBA draft combine last month, reportedly promised a first-round pick by the Bulls.And indeed, they selected the 6-foot-7 Mountain West player of the year with the No. 22 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft. Hutchison averaged 20 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals in his senior season, the rare four-year player.Hutchison improved dramatically over his career, jumping from 3.1 points per game in his freshman season.

Bulls get 7th pick in the NBA LOTTERY.

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The Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night won NBA Draft Lottery 2018 presented by State Farm, which was conducted at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

The Suns will have the first overall pick in NBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm, which will be held on Thursday, June 21 (7 p.m. ET) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.  The Draft will air live on ESPN and ESPN Radio and stream live on the ESPN App.

The following are the results from NBA Draft Lottery 2018 presented by State Farm:

First Round

1. Phoenix 
2. Sacramento
3. Atlanta
4. Memphis
5. Dallas
6. Orlando
7. BULLS
8. Cleveland  (from Brooklyn via Boston)
9. New York
10. Philadelphia  (from Los Angeles Lakers via Phoenix)
11.Charlotte
12. LA Clippers (from Detroit)
13. LA Clippers
14. Denver 
15. Washington
16. Phoenix (from Miami)
17. Milwaukee
18. San Antonio
19. Atlanta (from Minnesota)
20. Minnesota (from Oklahoma City via Utah)
21. Utah
22. BULLS
(from New Orleans)
23. Indiana
24. Portland
25. Los Angeles Lakers
(from Cleveland)
26. Philadelphia
27. Boston
28. Golden State
29. Brooklyn
(from Toronto)
30. Atlanta (from Houston via LA Clippers)

Second Round

31. Phoenix
32. Memphis
33. Dallas
34. Atlanta
35. Orlando
36. New York
(from BULLS via Oklahoma City)
37. Sacramento
38. Philadelphia
(from Brooklyn)
39. Philadelphia (from New York)
40. Brooklyn (from Los Angeles Lakers via Toronto and Orlando)
41. Orlando (from Charlotte via Phoenix and Memphis)
42. Detroit
43. Denver
(from LA Clippers via New York and Philadelphia)
44. Washington
45. Brooklyn
(from Milwaukee)
46. Houston (from Miami via Memphis)
47. Los Angeles Lakers (from Denver via Chicago and Utah)
48. Minnesota
49. San Antonio
50. Indiana
51. New Orleans
52. Utah
53. Oklahoma City
54. Dallas
(from Portland via Denver)
55. Charlotte (from Cleveland via Brooklyn and Philadelphia)
56. Philadelphia
57. Oklahoma City
(from Boston)
58. Denver (from Golden State)
59. Phoenix (from Toronto)
60. Philadelphia
(from Houston)

* * *

Nets drop Bulls in last Road game of season

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BROOKLYN—The rebuilding Brooklyn Nets have finally started to click over the season’s final month.Allen Crabbe is hoping it’ll carry over to next season.Crabbe scored 20 of his career-high 41 points in the first quarter and the Nets beat the Bulls 114-105 on Monday night for their first three-game winning streak this season.The Nets have won seven of 12 games since March 17 after dropping 18 of 21.

”Things are maybe turning that corner that we wanted to get a little early in the season, but it’s better late than never,” said Crabbe, who struggled at the beginning of the season before finding his 3-point stroke. He has a franchise-record 188 3-pointers in his first season with Brooklyn.D’Angelo Russell had 21 points and 11 assists, and Spencer Dinwiddie scored 20 points for the Nets, who had not won three straight since April 1-4, 2017.The Nets swept the three-game season series from the Bulls for the first time since the 2004-05 season. Brooklyn assisted on 32 of its 41 baskets.

”I try to pass the ball to whoever’s open,” said Russell, who also had six rebounds. ”Coach gives me that freedom. The more I’m here, the more the trust will slowly elevate but we got shot-makers around here.”

Former Net Sean Kilpatrick was one of seven players for the Bulls to score in double figures, tallying 16 points. Cameron Payne had 15 for the Bulls, who have lost their last three games.Lauri Markkanen added 10 points and six rebounds to reach 500 boards this season. He’s the first Bulls rookie to since Elton Brand to eclipse the 1,000-point, 500-rebound mark.

”I take a lot of pride. I basically try to do basically as much as I can in rebounding,” Markkanen said. ”I think it feels pretty cool to accomplish that, but I’m not satisfied.”

Brooklyn hit 18 3-pointers in its first game since falling one shy of the NBA record with 24 in a rout of the Hawks on Saturday.Crabbe celebrated his 26th birthday by going 8 of 11 from deep Monday. He scored 14 straight points during his first quarter outburst and finished the first half with 29 points, including 6 of 6 from deep. The Nets led 62-55 at the break.During his last three games, Crabbe has made 18 3-pointers and averaged 28.7 points.

”I shook his hand after the game and it was still hot, still cooking,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. ”He’s really finishing the season the way we’re asking the team to finish, on a strong night.”

The Nets led by 11 points during the third quarter before the Bulls cut the lead to three on Kilpatrick’s 3-pointer with five seconds left.The Bulls got within four points on Kilpatrick’s basket with 4:14 left in the fourth quarter, forcing the Nets to call a timeout.Russell then hit a jumper at the elbow over Kilpatrick to start 6-0 run capped by his driving layup with 1:36 to play. That extended the lead to 112-102.Markkanen made a pair of 3-pointers. The 20-year-old from Finland is two shy of tying Kirk Hinrich’s franchise rookie record of 144 set during the 2003-04 season. … David Nwaba had 11 points and 10 rebounds.Forwards Joe Harris (sprained left ankle) and Caris LeVert (right foot tendinitis) were held out. DeMarre Carroll was also a scratch due to a left hip strain.The Bulls conclude the season at home Wednesday night against Detroit.

Michigan rallies, ends Loyola’s Cinderella run.

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SAN ANTONIO—Staring down a 10-point deficit against an underdog that seemed nothing short of blessed during the madness of March, Moe Wagner and Michigan clamped down on Loyola and ended one of the most memorable NCAA Tournament runs ever.Wagner, Charles Matthews and the Wolverines erased a 10-point second-half deficit and Michigan beat the Ramblers 69-57 Saturday night in the Final Four.The third-seeded Wolverines (33-7) will take a 14-game winning streak into their first national championship game appearance since 2013, and second under coach Jon Beilein.Michigan will play Villanova for its first NCAA title since 1989 on Monday night at the Alamodome.Lovable Loyola (32-6), with superfan Sister Jean courtside and their fans behind the bench standing for pretty much the entire game, could not conjure another upset. The Ramblers were the fourth 11th-seeded team to make it this far and like the previous three, the semifinals were the end of the road.Loyola had no answers for the 6-foot-11 Wagner and its offense, so smooth and efficient on the way to San Antonio, broke down in the second half and finished with 17 turnovers.Wagner, playing in front of his parents who made the trip from Germany, scored 24 points, had 15 rebounds and was 10 for 16 from the field. Matthews, the Kentucky transfer and Chicago native, added 17 points, including a run-out dunk with 1:33 left that made it 63-53.And that was that.

”I just tried to go in the game, take what the opponent is giving me, what the game is giving me, stay emotionally solid and don’t get emotionally drunk, and it worked out today,” Wagner said.

As the seconds ticked off, Wagner pumped his fist to the many Michigan fans who made the trek to San Antonio and Loyola’s Aundre Jackson, who got the Ramblers rolling with a late game-winning 3 in the first round against Miami, looked toward the roof and shook his head.Cameron Krutwig, Loyola’s big man in the middle, scored 17 points and Clayton Custer had 13 of his 15 after halftime. But facing one of the best defensive teams in the country, the best defensive team Beilein has ever had in 11 seasons in Ann Arbor, the Ramblers scored just 16 points in the final 14 minutes.Custer scored seven straight points for Loyola at one point to put the Ramblers up 41-31 with 14:08 remaining. Michigan refused to fade, even with point guard Zavier Simpson – whose solid play has been critical to the Wolverines’ late-season surge – playing terribly.Jaaron Simmons, Simpson’s backup, made a 3 and Duncan Robinson hit another a few minutes later and the deficit was down to 45-42 with 10 minutes left.Wagner hit a 3 from right in front of the Michigan bench with 6:50 left to tie it, and moments later the Wolverines were back on top, 49-47, when Jordan Poole made two free throws.Loyola turned it over on three straight possessions and Wagner tipped in a miss by Poole, was fouled and converted the three-point play to put Michigan up 54-47 with just under five minutes left.The Ramblers’ 14-game losing streak is over, along with an incredible feel-good story at time college basketball, engulfed in scandal, could truly use one. Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt and her favorite team, the Missouri Valley Conference champions, making their first NCAA appearance since 1985, will return to Chicago as heroes, regardless.Michigan has more work to do. The Wolverines will resume the underdog role they played much of the season Monday night, trying to win its second NCAA championship.

 
 

 

 

UIC beats Liberty to reach CIT Title Game

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LYNCHBURG—In the battle of Flames, Tarkus Ferguson scored 16 points and UIC beat Liberty 67-51 on Wednesday night in the semifinals of the CIT.UIC closed the first half on an 8-3 run for 28-24 lead and held the first double-digit lead of the game at 40-29 on Godwin Boahen’s 3-pointer. Michael Diggins started a 14-0 run with a 3-pointer, Boahen’s 3 capped it for a 56-37 advantage and UIC led by at least 14 the rest of the way.Boahen finished with 13 points, Marcus Ottey had 12 and Tai Odiase 11 for UIC (20-15), which has won nine consecutive road games for the first time in program history.UIC will play for the title on Friday night at Northern Colorado.Lovell Cabbil scored 13 points for Liberty (22-15) and Myo Baxter-Bell added 10. Liberty was held to 33 percent shooting, including 5 of 20 from distance.