Big third quarter gives Bills comeback win over Bears in Final(yea) fake game.

AJ McCarron delivered in the end after struggling for most of the game, leading a fourth-quarter surge that culminated with a touchdown pass in the final minute, and the Buffalo Bills closed the preseason with a 28-27 victory over the Bears on Thursday night.With both teams holding out their starters and few key reserves playing, the focus was on McCarron. For most of the game, he made a shaky case for a roster spot let alone a starting job, but he did come through down the stretch.He ran for a touchdown and threw for three more in the fourth – including a 6-yarder to Keith Towbridge in the closing minute. That capped an 84-yard drive that was aided by two roughing-the-passer calls, including one against Isaiah Irving on a fourth down at the Buffalo 3.McCarron was 13 of 34 for 156 yards and had an interception returned for a touchdown in the early going. He could be the odd man out if the Bills opt to go with two quarterbacks rather than three, though coach Sean McDermott insisted he is ”absolutely” in the race for the starting job with first-round pick Josh Allen and returning backup Nathan Peterman.He also said he has not decided who will start the opener at Baltimore on Sept. 9.Tyler Bray made a case for the Bears to keep three quarterbacks. With Mitchell Trubisky and backup Chase Daniel not playing, Bray was 19 of 29 for 180 yards and an interception. Ryan Nall ran for 79 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown.

”I like where we’re at,” said Bears coach Matt Nagy, in his first season. ”We’ve got a lot of depth and we’re going to have some tough decisions here coming up.”

Signed to a two-year deal in free agency after spending the past four seasons as Andy Dalton’s backup in Cincinnati, McCarron was considered the initial front-runner for the Bills’ starting job because he had more experience than Allen and returning backup Peterman.But he missed a little over a week after he bruised his right shoulder while being hit several times at Cleveland on Aug. 17. That injury along with his performance seemed to knock him out of the running for the starting job. It also raised questions about whether he will make the opening roster.But McCarron said he has ”no clue” where he stands in the competition or if he’ll make the roster.McCarron got off to a brutal start, throwing for just 39 yards and getting picked off twice in the first half.His troubles really began after Cody Parkey kicked a 47-yard field goal on the Bears first possession.Moments later, McCarron threw a pass right to the Bears’ Doran Grant along the sideline, resulting in a 33-yard touchdown return . And just like that, it was 10-0.Parkey added a 23-yard field goal midway through the second quarter. Nall made it 20-0 with just under two minutes left in the half with his 32-yard TD run up the right sideline, though the Bears missed another opportunity in the closing seconds after McCarron got picked off again.Abdullah Anderson tipped a pass at the line, leading to an interception for John Timu. But Parkey’s 39-yard attempt hit the right upright.There were no protests by either team during the anthem.TE Daniel Brown suffered a shoulder injury on a 27-yard catch in the third and left the game. Nagy said he’s not sure if it’s ”day by day or week by week.” … LB Kasim Edebali was helped off the field and taken from the sideline on a cart with a bruised leg after a run by Buffalo on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Bears sit ‘everyone’, reserves beat KC 27-20

Bears coach Matt Nagy decided to rest his starters for the next-to-last preseason game rather than use it as the customary regular-season tuneup.And the backups proved that they’re also ready for the regular season. Backup quarterback Chase Daniel directed touchdown drives on the first three possessions and the Bears defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 27-20 on Saturday.The Bears played in the Hall of Fame Game and have been practicing since July 20, and Nagy liked what he’d seen in practices.So he decided Friday to keep starters out of what normally would be a dress rehearsal for the regular-season opener at Green Bay on Sept. 9.

”This was, for me, more of just knowing the pulse of our team,” Nagy said. ”I know this team better than anybody right now.”

Daniel replaced Mitchell Trubisky against the Chiefs, the team Nagy last year served as offensive coordinator. Nagy didn’t think Trubisky, who is in his second year as a starter, would have benefited greatly after about 2,000 preseason and training camp snaps.

”We’ve had some grueling practices against Denver, some live reps in our past couple preseason games,” Nagy said.

Playing against Chiefs defensive starters and then the backups, Daniel led the Bears to a 24-10 halftime lead.Daniel, a Chiefs backup quarterback from 2013-15, finished 15 of 18 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. The first two Bears touchdown drives came against Kansas City’s starting defense, minus injured safety Eric Berry and four other injured players.Wide-open receiver Kevin White caught Daniel’s 29-yard TD pass in the first quarter to break a 7-7 tie, and Daniel then found Javon Wims for a 7-yard TD pass in the back corner of the end zone and a 21-10 lead.Benny Cunningham ran in from 13 yards for the Bear’s first TD and Cody Parkey added a 48-yard field goal just before halftime.Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II and the starting offense played into the third quarter against the backup Bears defense, and showed inconsistency.Mahomes flipped a short pass to the right side and Kareem Hunt turned it into a 19-yard TD for a 7-7 tie. Then he led a 49-yard drive ending in Harrison Butker’s second-quarter 47-yard field goal.Mahomes didn’t produce a big play on Saturday, and finished 18 of 24 for 196 yards. He left the game with the Chiefs down 24-10 in the third quarter.

 

NOTES—Bears wide receiver Kevin White’s 29-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter was the first touchdown he has scored since coming into the NFL as the seventh pick in the 2015 draft. White missed 2015 and much of 2016 with leg injuries, and played one game last year before suffering a shoulder injury. He is vying for a roster spot in a crowded wide receiver competition and has Nagy’s eye.

”I root for underdogs, I love underdogs,” Nagy said. ”And so when you have an underdog that fights his tail off to improve and when people don’t believe in him and he proves the people who do believe in him right, then there’s nothing better to me.”

Nagy and his mentor, Reid, shared a hug and a few moments after the game.Nagy also had a long talk after the game with Mahomes, who started a game for the Chiefs last year as a rookie.

”I told him good luck,” Mahomes said. ”He was someone that I really got to know last year and really built a great relationship with him. I’m excited for him and his future with Chicago.”

Chiefs linebacker Tanoh Kpassagnon was flagged for roughing Daniel in the second quarter, even though Daniel was tackled with the ball still in his hand. Daniel said it was because Kpassagnon drove him into the ground with the full force of his body.

”I got crushed,” Daniel said. ”I’m glad I was wearing full pads out there.”

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers last year suffered a broken collarbone on a similar hit…..There were no protests during the anthem….Bears wide receiver Marlon Brown left in the second quarter with a possible concussion and did not return. … Bears reserve tackle Bradley Sowell was assisted from the field in the fourth quarter with a leg injury….The Chiefs close the preseason Thursday by hosting Green Bay.The Bears ene the preseason Thursday by hosting the Buffalo Bills.The Brears again will rest most starters.

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

Image result for 2018 pro football hall of Fame logo

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.