ROUT!!! Bulls close out Bucks 120-66

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

MILWAUKEE—Mike Dunleavy scored 20 points and the Chicago Bulls came close to an NBA playoff record, finally putting away the Milwaukee Bucks with a 120-66 victory in Game 6 to clinch their first-round series Thursday night.The Bulls, who move on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round, finished four points away from the NBA playoff record for largest margin of victory. Minnesota beat St. Louis 133-75 on March 19, 1956.The game was over early, but it still featured plenty of the intensity and bad blood that marked the first five games of the series and Dunleavy was in the middle of much of the action. He drew the foul that led to the ejection of Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo for a flagrant 2 foul just before halftime.Pau Gasol scored 19 points and Jimmy Butler added 16 for the Bulls, who started the series with a 3-0 lead before two straight wins by the defensive-minded Bucks put them back in position to tie it. Derrick Rose scored 15 points and all five Bulls starters were in double figures.In an indication of Milwaukee’s misery on offense, no Bucks starter scored more than ZaZa Pachulia’s eight points. It was the biggest playoff loss in team history. The Bucks lost by 36 points at New York in 1970.Antetokounmpo was ejected after a hard foul on Dunleavy during a 3-point attempt that sent him crashing into the front row of fans with 1:34 left in the second quarter. After a review, officials ruled it a flagrant 2. It may have been a reaction to a hand to the face that Dunleavy gave Antetokounmpo a little earlier in the game – an incident similar to contact between Dunleavy’s arm and Michael Carter-Williams’ face near the beginning of the game.Dunleavy and Carter-Williams tangled again in the third quarter. Dunleavy bumped Carter-Williams, and Carter-Williams retaliated by swinging his left arm and sending Dunleavy to the court. Dunleavy was called for an offensive foul, and Carter-Williams earned a technical. Dunleavy played for the Bucks for two seasons before joining the Bulls in 2013-14.It was a rough end to a successful season for the Bucks, who were the league’s worst team in 2013-14 but turned it around to earn the No. 6 playoff season under new coach Jason Kidd.

NOTES—The Bucks were never really in this one, though, trailing 34-16 at the end of the first quarter and 65-33 at the half….Nikola Mirotic finished second in rookie of the year voting, behind Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins. ”I thought he had a terrific year,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”He has a very bright future and just has to keep working. I love the way he approaches things.” . Despite the blowout, Thibodeau played his starters well into the third quarter….With 33 points in the first half, the Bucks came one point shy of tying their all-time franchise playoff low for points in the first half. Milwaukee scored 32 points in the first half against Detroit in 2004

Bulls vs Cavs? Not so fast! Bucks stay alive 94-88. Game six Thursday night in Milwaukee

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The Milwaukee Bucks insisted this playoff series was about more than just showing up, taking their beating and learning from it.They wanted to hang around. And that’s exactly what they are doing.Michael Carter-Williams had 22 points and eight assists, Khris Middleton scored 21 points, and the Bucks avoided elimination again with a 94-88 victory over the Bulls on Monday night in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.With a 3-2 lead, the Bulls will try to close it out again Thursday at Milwaukee. But the Bucks aren’t going quietly after dropping the first three games.

”A lot of people look at it as house money,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. ”You can always talk about the future, but we don’t. We don’t really understand what the future holds for us. We’ve got to stay in the present. This is what this team has done all year. They haven’t looked at the future. They’ve just stayed in the present.

”They’ve worked their tails off and they’ve put themselves in this position to make (it) a series.”

They took Game 4 on a last-second layup by Jerryd Bayless and withstood several pushes by the Bulls in the fourth quarter of this one.The Bucks regrouped after a nine-point lead dwindled to three, and they hung on again after a seven-point lead shrunk to four with just over a minute remaining.Carter-Williams hit 10 of 15 shots while outplaying Derrick Rose. The Bucks’ guard rolled his right ankle when he stepped on Pau Gasol’s foot early in the third but came back late in the quarter.Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 11 points and reserve O.J. Mayo added 10. John Henson provided a big spark off the bench with 14 rebounds – 10 in the fourth quarter – and the Bucks kept the Bulls off balance most of the game.

”We believe that we can beat this team, and we felt that we shouldn’t be going home right now,” Middleton said.

Gasol had 25 points and 10 rebounds but Rose and Jimmy Butler struggled.Rose had 13 points and six of his team’s 13 turnovers. He missed 15 of 20 shots including all seven 3-point attempts.Butler scored 20 points but was 5 of 21 from the field. The Bulls shot 34.4 percent and hit just 4 of 22 3-point attempts.

”They came into us, put us on our heels early, and we’ve got to battle back,” said Chicago’s Taj Gibson, who scored 12 points. ”Every team is talented in this league. It comes down to execution and will. We just didn’t have it tonight.” The Bucks were leading 86-77 when Rose hit two jumpers and Gasol buried one of his own to make it a three-point game with 4:45 left.Carter-Williams answered by banking in a shot, and Henson flew in for a putback dunk off a miss by Mayo to make it 90-83 with 3:15 left.Gasol hit two free throws after getting knocked to the court with 1:04 left to pull the Bulls within 92-88. But Antetokounmpo blocked a runner by Rose, and Middleton hit two free throws to make it a six-point game with 27.3 seconds left.

”Got to give credit to the Bucks for how they’re competing, how they’re giving themselves a chance,” Gasol said. ”But we’ve done it to ourselves. Now we have a very difficult challenge in front of us. They have momentum. They have confidence. And they go home to force Game 7. Let’s see how we play Game 6, how we react to the situation as a team.”

NOTES—The Bulls missed their first eight shots and fell into an early 9-0 hole before going on a 21-4 run…..But Milwaukee ended the quarter with a 23-22 lead thanks to a late surge by Middleton. He hit a 3 after a turnover by Rose and a layup after stripping Gasol to put the Bucks ahead by one…..Carter-Williams said he was in ”instant pain” when he rolled his ankle. ”I was able to get up, walk it off, get re-taped, do some exercises in the back,” he said. ”I was just going to try to come out and play to the best of my ability and help my teammates win.”…..Milwaukee had dropped five straight at the United Center, including the regular season…..The Bulls had won nine straight home games, including the regular season…..Tom Thibodeau when asked before the game if he had any comment on Cleveland ruling out the injured Kevin Love for the next series: ”I don’t.”

Hawks rally from pair of 2 goal deficits, Keith’s game winner with :48 left helps eliminate Preds.

Duncan Keith scored at 16:12 of the third, and the Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Saturday night to win their first-round playoff series 4-2.Keith beat a screened Pekka Rinne with a laser from the left point. The defenseman, who had the winning goal in a 4-3 double-overtime victory in the series opener, also had two assists in the clinching game.Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp also scored, and Corey Crawford stopped 13 shots after replacing Scott Darling in the first period after the rookie gave up three goals.The Blackhawks will face St. Louis or Minnesota in the Western Conference semifinals as they try to finish an up-and-down season with their third Stanley Cup title since 2010.James Neal had two goals for Nashville, and Matt Cullen also scored. Rinne stopped 28 shots, but the Predators bowed out in the first round for the sixth time in eight playoff appearances.Keith retrieved the puck just inside the blue line and waited for an opening before sending a drive through a screen past Rinne’s right shoulder with 3:48 left. He had two goals and five assists in the series.Kane capped a wild first period by firing a shot from the left circle through a screen with six seconds left, tying it at 3.The Hawks rallied after Neal scored twice in the game’s first 8:09 to give Nashville a 2-0 lead, and Darling gave up three goals on 12 shots.The goalie switch came after the Blackhawks’ Sharp and Nashville’s Cullen scored 39 seconds apart.The 38-year-old Cullen beat Keith along the boards and slid the puck off the post at 11:16. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville then went to Crawford, who had a solid regular season but was replaced by Darling after he struggled in the first two playoff games.Toews made it a one-goal game when Sharp’s slap shot from the high slot deflected off his skate on the power play.

NOTES—The Blackhawks are 13-3 in games in which they have a chance to eliminate an opponent since the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs. … The Predators are 1-8 when facing elimination.

Rose turnover and missed defensive assignment leads to Bayless basket at the buzzer. Bucks avoid sweep

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MILWAUKEE—Jerryd Bayless cut right along the baseline, leaving Derrick Rose a couple of steps behind.It was just the sliver of an opening Bayless needed to put up a game-winning layup at the buzzer.Bayless’ basket gave Milwaukee a rousing 92-90 victory over the Bulls on Saturday, drawing the upstart Bucks within 3-1 in their Eastern Conference playoff series.

”We thought we got better tonight. We found ourselves with a `W,”’ coach Jason Kidd said.

And they are still alive to play Game 5 on Monday in the United Center.All thanks to a play coming off a timeout called by Kidd with 1.3 seconds left.

Bayless’ task was to cut along the baseline and hope to find an opening. The guard stopped Jared Dudley to ask a question before his teammate threw the inbounds pass from side court.

”I was curious. I just wanted to know, `Are you going to look for this?’ Every cut is live,” Bayless said.

The high-arcing pass got to Bayless at the perfect moment. He made a nice catch and put up a quick shot with his right hand.Rose walked away in frustration, while green and white streamers descended from the Bradley Center rafters.The rebuilding Bucks had won their first playoff game in five years.

”As a whole we have a long ways ago,” Kidd said. ”But I thought with this being a character game, the group in that locker room showed a lot of character by finding a way to get a win.”

The Bulls had a chance to win with the game tied at 90. But Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton tipped a dribble away from Rose to force a steal. Kidd called timeout to set up the final play.

”I put that all on me. I just wasn’t paying attention to the ball,” Rose said.

Coach Tom Thibodeau refused to lay the blame solely on his star point guard.With a total of 28 turnovers, the whole team played a part in failing to close out a four-game sweep.

”I’m not going to put it on that last play. There were a lot of other plays throughout the course of the game,” Thibodeau said. ”When you turn the ball over like that you’re not going to have success.”

Jimmy Butler had a playoff career-high 33 points for the Bulls. Pau Gasol had 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Rose finished with 14 points, six assists and eight turnovers.And the Bulls couldn’t force a Milwaukee mistake at the end.

”But that definitely didn’t lose us the game,” Gasol said. ”Mistakes will happen – we just made too many of them throughout the game.”

Veterans Dudley and Bayless were calming influences off the bench on a team known more for rising stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Michael Carter-Williams, both starters.But it was the bench that ignited Milwaukee’s second-half push after the Bucks lost a 12-point lead in the first half. The Bucks’ reserves outscored the Bulls 47-13 in the game.O.J. Mayo finished with 18 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:42 left. Dudley had 13 points and five assists – including the one on the game-winner – while Bayless had 10 points.Another reserve, John Henson, finished with four blocks, two in the final minutes.Vacation plans will have to wait for at least another couple of days.

”A lot of people start shipping their cars, planning their vacations when they’re down 3-0. We’re so young, people don’t even know what to think,” Dudley said. ”I thought today the veterans stepped up and said, `Hey, this is how you have to do it.”’

The stinging loss reminded Rose about how tough it can be to close out a playoff series.He’s focusing on defense going into Game 5.

”When you give up a layup for the game-winner, it’s hard,” Rose said. ”But I’m happy that I have the teammates I have, the coaching staff I have. I really believe I’m built for this.”

Nikila Mirotic returned after missing Game 3 with a bruised left knee and strained quadriceps. The rookie, who got hurt going for a loose ball on Sunday in Game 2 in Chicago, finished with five points in 20 minutes…..Antetokounmpo finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, while Carter-Williams had eight points and five assists.

Preds explode in third period, stay alive with 5-2 win over Hawks. Game six Saturday night in United Center

NASHVILLE—Rookie Filip Forsberg had his first career hat trick and the Nashville Predators forced a sixth game in their first-round Western Conference series by beating the Blackhawks 5-2 Thursday night.A triple-overtime loss in the United Center early Wednesday pushed the Predators to the brink of elimination, and these teams appeared headed for the third overtime game of this series tied at 1-1 after two.James Neal then got the go-ahead goal in the opening minute of the third to start a flurry of three goals in a span of less than 2 1/2 minutes and the Predators pulled to 3-2 in the series with Game 6 Saturday night in the UC. Neal finished his hat trick with an empty-netter in the final minute. Colin Wilson also had a goal, and Neal had an assist.Brad Richards had a goal and an assist, and Kris Versteeg also scored for the Hawks.The Blackhawks missed on closing out their first postseason series since losing the Western Conference finals last year in seven games.The Predators have won the last two first-round series they’ve played, even though they missed the postseason the past two years. That’s why Peter Laviolette was hired as coach not only to take them back to the playoffs but take Nashville on a deep run.Facing elimination, the Predators certainly opened and finished strong. When the Blackhawks got the man advantage 3 minutes into the game, Nashville turned the final 45 seconds into its own short-handed advantage taking several shots at Darling.That set the pace for a very frantic period as the teams played 9:25 between whistles before Richards put a wrister five-hole past goalie Pekka Rinne for a 1-0 lead at 13:27. The Predators answered back 65 seconds later as Forsberg scored his second this series with a wrister off a faceoff, and the teams went to the first intermission tied for the third straight game.In the second, Nashville had a man advantage and couldn’t convert. Wilson also missed the puck on a pass from Mike Ribeiro trying to shoot into an open net behind Darling with the goalie managing to reach back and help poke it away. The Blackhawks turned that into a 3-on-1 with Rinne knocking away Bickell’s shot and then pivoting to stop a backhander from Patrick Kane on the other side.Neal, who scored his first goal this series, put Nashville up 2-1 just 47 seconds into the third. He scored on a wraparound getting a little bit of help from Duncan Keith and his left skate in the way as Darling tried desperately to close the gap with his glove.That goal set off a scoring flurry in a series that has been tied for more than 216 minutes. Michal Rozsival went to the box for interference, and Wilson made up for his earlier miss with a slap shot past Darling at 3:02 to make it 3-1.Forsberg, not among the Calder Trophy finalists announced earlier in the day, got his second with his own slap shot 12 seconds later allowing Nashville fans to relax, breathe and celebrate. Forsberg sent hats flying onto the ice with his fourth goal this series with 10.3 seconds left.

NOTES—Wilson now has a franchise-record five goals in a single series. … The Predators now are 5-6 all-time in Game 5s. … Nashville went 14-2-3 when tied after two periods in the regular season. … Versteeg scored his first goal this series with 5:08 left in the third with a snap shot past a diving Rinne.

Bulls outlast Bucks in back and forth double OT game-lead series 3-0

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MILWAUKEE—Derrick Rose scored 34 points, Jimmy Butler added 24 and the Bulls beat the Milwaukee Bucks 113-106 in double overtime on Thursday night to take a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.Butler got the second overtime off to a rousing start, intercepting a backcourt pass from Giannis Antetokounmpo and racing in for a layup. It set the tone for an 8-0 run that gave the Bulls a 109-101 lead with 2:44 left to finally shake the pesky Bucks.Rose atoned for a missed free throw with 4 seconds left in regulation that left the game tied. He scored six points in the second overtime, including a layup off an offensive rebound with 2:15 left for a 10-point lead.Antetokounmpo had 25 points and Khris Middleton added 18 for Milwaukee, which went scoreless for more than 6 minutes between the first and second overtimes.The Bulls will go for the sweep on Saturday in Game 4 in Milwaukee. No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.The Bulls appeared to have wrapped up the game with 2:50 left in regulation after Tony Snell hit his second straight 3 for a 94-84 lead, rousing an often Bulls-friendly crowd. The Bradley Center at times felt like a northern outpost for Bulls fans who made the barely 90-minute drive from Chicago.But the young Bucks didn’t quit and their fans backed them up, too.Middleton had eight points over the final 1:27 of regulation, including a floater with 10 seconds left that gave the Bucks a 95-94 lead. Rose went 1 of 2 from the free throw line, and Middleton missed a 27-footer at the other end to send the game into overtime.It was a fitting stretch run to a wildly entertaining game featuring one of the East’s standard-bearers against the scrappy upstarts from Milwaukee.Rose carried the Bulls for much of the second half, getting a big assist off the bench from Snell as the Visitors built a late 10-point lead. The Bucks blew an 18-point lead in the second quarter.It was hard to believe that the Bulls trailed 49-31 with 4:03 left in the second quarter.But they closed the half with an 18-4 spurt to get within 53-49. NOTES—Former Bulls forward Scottie Pippen rooted them on courtside….”Love the fight in this Bulls team to close out the half. A little adversity on the road will do you some good,” the Hall of Famer posted on Twitter at halftime….Nikola Mirotic sat out as expected with an injured left knee. …Kirk Hinrich, who was questionable with a left knee injury, played 6 minutes. … Rose was 5 of 7, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, for 13 points in the first half…..The bench gave the Bucks a huge lift in a 22-4 run in the second quarter that helped them open the short-lived 18-point lead. Jared Dudley led the reserves with 10 points in the half on 4-of-4 shooting. … Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Randall Cobb were at the game, sitting on the baseline across from the Bucks bench. … Former team owner and U.S. Senator Herb Kohl attended the game in his usual seat, about four rows up on center court.

Seabrook goal in third OT gives Hawks 3-2 win over Preds, and 3-1series lead.


They played for 101 grueling minutes, beginning Tuesday night and running into early Wednesday morning.

The Blackhawks, looking for control of the first-round series. The Nashville Predators, searching for a split of their first four playoff games.Enter Brent Seabrook, a physical defenseman with a penchant for big postseason goals.Seabrook scored on a booming slap shot 1 minute into the third overtime, and the Blackhawks beat the Predators 3-2 in the longest game of this year’s NHL playoffs so far.

”Long game, it was a late night,” a smiling Seabrook said. ”It’s nice to end that one.”

Seabrook’s long drive off a pass from Patrick Kane beat a screened Pekka Rinne on the 100th shot of the longest game in Nashville history. Scott Darling made 50 saves.

”It was awesome,” Darling said.

Brandon Saad and Antoine Vermette also scored for the Blackhawks, who grabbed a 3-1 series lead and can close out the Predators with a win in Nashville on Thursday night.

Colin Wilson and James Neal scored for Nashville, which carried a 2-1 lead into the third period. Rinne finished with 45 stops.

”Our guys are a resilient group,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. ”They will not cave. They will not go away quietly. They’ll be ready to play Game 5, I promise you.”

The first overtime featured a memorable duel between Rinne, who found some of the magic he had during Nashville’s strong start to the season, and Darling, who was making his second career postseason start.Rinne had a terrific sprawling stop on Andrew Desjardins‘ backhand after the forward cut across the goal about 13 minutes into the initial extra session. Rinne was so good he made the puck disappear at one point, with the game stopped for a couple minutes before he pulled it out of the inside of his right pad – drawing a round of cheers from the raucous crowd of 22,014. On the other side, Darling robbed Neal with a glove save on his quick shot off a faceoff. He also denied Filip Forsberg on a prime opportunity midway through OT.

”Every game’s been tight, every game’s been on the line, a very competitive series,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ”Momentum’s been shifting during games, and shift to shift for that matter.”

It finally came to an end when Seabrook scored his 14th career playoff goal at 1:16 a.m., helped by a screen in front by rugged forward Bryan Bickell.

”It’s just, OT games, it just happens like that,” Rinne said. ”It’s a one shot and game over, but I thought that, as a team, we played really well again.”

Seabrook also scored the last goal in the Hawks 4-2 victory in Game 3 on Sunday. He also had two overtime winners in the Blackhawks’ run to the Stanley Cup title in 2013.

”He’s had some big ones,” Quenneville said.

The Predators were once again without defenseman Shea Weber and forward Mike Fisher due to lower-body injuries. Fisher has been out since he got hurt in Nashville’s 4-3 double-overtime loss in the series opener, and Weber did not travel to Chicago after he was injured in Game 2.Fisher is day to day, and the team has said it plans to provide an update on Weber’s status on Wednesday.

”It stings, obviously, but the series isn’t over,” defenseman Seth Jones said. ”We’re going to need some rest and we’re going to focus on Game 5.”

Neal was in the right spot at the right time after the Predators controlled the action for much of the second period. Neal and Blackhawks star Duncan Keith were right outside the crease when the defenseman’s clearing attempt went off the forward’s stick and caromed into the left side of the goal for a 2-1 lead at 17:02.It was Neal’s first playoff goal since last May 2 for Pittsburgh against the New York Rangers. The winger, who was acquired in a June trade with the Penguins, had just two goals and an assist in his last 15 games of the regular season.The Blackhawks turned it around in the third, dictating the action down the stretch. Marian Hossa made a smart drop pass to Saad, who shot it over Rinne’s stick for the tying goal at 8:57.Desjardins had a good look for the Hawks with 45 seconds to go in regulation, but pushed it wide. Rinne got over to make a great stop on Hossa in the final seconds.

NOTES: Saad’s goal was the Hawks first one in the third period in the series. … Keith played a game-high 46:19. Josi played a little more than 45 minutes for the Predators. … Blackhawks forwards Teuvo Teravainen and Joakim Nordstrom were healthy scratches for the second straight game. … It was Hossa’s 175th career playoff game. … Wilson scored his fourth goal of the series in the first period. He had four goals in his last 29 games of the regular season.

Bears open season at Home vs Green Bay, just 2 night games, including(again)Thanksgiving



     DATE                      OPPONENT                         TIME (CT)         NETWORK / RADIO

     Thur., Aug. 13           MIAMI DOLPHINS                  7:00pm           Chicago Bears Network on Fox32 Chicago / WBBM Radio

     Sat., Aug. 22            at Indianapolis Colts                6:30pm           Chicago Bears Network on Fox32 Chicago / WBBM Radio

     Sat., Aug. 29            at Cincinnati Bengals               6:30pm           Chicago Bears Network on Fox32 Chicago / WBBM Radio

     Thur., Sept. 3            CLEVELAND BROWNS          7:00pm           Chicago Bears Network on Fox32 Chicago / WBBM Radio



     DATE                      OPPONENT                         TIME (CT)         NETWORK / RADIO

     Sunday, Sept. 13           GREEN BAY PACKERS                   Noon                 FOX / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Sept. 20           ARIZONA CARDINALS                    Noon                 FOX / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Sept. 27           at Seattle Seahawks                        3:25pm               CBS / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Oct. 4               OAKLAND RAIDERS                        Noon                 CBS / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Oct. 11             at Kansas City Chiefs                       Noon *                FOX / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Oct. 18             at Detroit Lions                                  Noon *                FOX / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Oct. 25                                                                       BYE WEEK

      Sunday, Nov. 1              MINNESOTA VIKINGS                    Noon *                FOX / WBBM Radio

      Monday, Nov. 9              at San Diego Chargers                    7:30pm               ESPN / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Nov. 15            at St. Louis Rams                              Noon *                FOX / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Nov. 22            DENVER BRONCOS                       Noon *                CBS / WBBM Radio

      Thursday, Nov. 26         at Green Bay Packers                      7:30pm               NBC / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Dec. 6              SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS              Noon *                FOX / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Dec. 13            WASHINGTON REDSKINS           Noon *                FOX / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Dec. 20            at Minnesota Vikings                        Noon *                FOX / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Dec. 27            at Tampa Bay Buccaneers              Noon *                FOX / WBBM Radio

      Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016    DETROIT LIONS                              Noon *                FOX / WBBM Radio

* Game times tentative and subject to flexible scheduling


                        Saturday & Sunday, January 9-10, 2016                               AFC-NFC Wild Card Playoffs

                        Saturday & Sunday, January 16-17, 2016                             AFC-NFC Divisional Playoffs

                        Sunday, January 24, 2016                                              AFC-NFC Championship Games

                        Sunday, January 31, 2016                                                     Pro Bowl, Honolulu, Hawaii.

                        Sunday, February 7, 2016                                            Super Bowl 50, Santa Clara, Calif.




BEARS OPEN AT HOME FOR SIXTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR: The Bears open the regular season schedule at home for the sixth straight year, hosting the Green Bay Packers. The contest marks the first time since the 1991-96 seasons that Chicago will open the season in front of their home fans in six-straight campaigns.

        Of Chicago’s last 22 season openers at home dating back to 1984, the Bears are 18-4 (.818).

BEARS OPEN SEASON VERSUS GREEN BAY AT SOLDIER FIELD: The Bears will open the regular season schedule against the Packers franchise for the 32nd time in team history. But this will be just the third time that the Bears are opening their regular season schedule against the Packers while at home. The Bears own a 17-12-2 record against Green Bay in season openers and are 1-1 in such games at home.

        The only previous two season openers against the Packers that were played in Chicago came in 1979 (a 6-3 Bears victory) and 1981 (a 16-9 Green Bay win).

BEARS SCHEDULED TO PLAY TWO GAMES IN PRIMETIME: The Bears are scheduled to make two appearances on primetime television during the 2015 regular season, with both coming on the road.

        In Week 9, the Bears will travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers on ESPN’s Monday Night Football (Nov. 9). Three weeks later, Chicago will battle the Packers in Green Bay on Thanksgiving Night on NBC.

        Chicago went 2-3 in primetime during the 2014 regular season on NFLN’s Thursday Night Football (0-1), NBC’s Sunday Night Football (1-1), ESPN’s Monday Night Football (1-1).

        The Bears are 28-36 all time on Monday Night Football (15-12 at home; 13-24 on the road); 15-21 on Sunday Night Football (5-9 at home; 10-12 on the road) and 5-5 on Thursday Night Football (2-1 at home; 3-4 on the road) during the regular season.


BEARS WILL PLAY ON THANKSGIVING FOR SECOND-STRAIGHT YEAR: The Chicago Bears will travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers on Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 26) this season. It marks the first time since 1980-81 that the Bears will play on Thanksgiving in back-to-back seasons. Chicago is 16-15-2 overall in contests played on Thanksgiving.

        This will be the first time the Bears will play a team other than the Dallas Cowboys or Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving since facing the now defunct Dallas Texans in 1952 at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio.

        2015 marks the 10th straight season the Bears and Packers will square off on primetime national television during the regular season with seven of those contests being played in Green Bay. It is the fifth straight year the teams will square off on primetime national television at Lambeau Field.


BEARS SET TO TRAVEL 12,576 MILES DURING 2015 SEASON:  The Bears will travel approximately 12,576 miles during the 2015 season.

– Chicago’s trips to Seattle (approximately 3,442 miles) and San Diego (3,446) account for approximately 54.8 percent of their miles traveled in 2015.

– Five of the Bears 10 road trips are less than 600 miles round-trip.

BEARS BATTLE TEAMS FROM NFC WEST & AFC WEST DIVISIONS: Chicago will square off against all four teams from the NFC West and

AFC West this season.

        The Bears are 146-105-7 all-time against teams for the NFC West. Chicago last faced all four teams from the NFC West in 2012, going 2-2 in those contests. This will be the ninth meeting in the last 10 years between the Bears and the Seahawks in the regular season or postseason.

        Chicago is 25-24 (.500) all-time against teams from the AFC West. Chicago last faced all four teams from the AFC West in 2011, going 1-3 in those contests.

BEARS WELCOME RAIDERS TO SOLDIER FIELD FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2003: The Bears host Oakland on Sunday, October 4, welcoming back the Raiders to Soldier Field in the regular season for the first time since October 5, 2003. The previous regular season meeting between the teams marked the first win by the Bears at the then-newly renovated Soldier Field, a 24-21 victory on Paul Edinger’s 48-yard field goal as time expired.

        In 2015, the Bears also host San Francisco (Week 13) and Denver (Week 11), who hold the second and third longest droughts away from Soldier Field in the regular season. San Francisco last played in Chicago during the regular season on October 29, 2006 (a 41-10 Bears victory) and Denver last played at Soldier Field during the regular season on November 25, 2007 (a 37-34 overtime win for Chicago).

BEARS TRAVEL TO KANSAS CITY FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2005: The Bears travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs on October 11, their first regular season trip to KC since December 28, 2003. That is the longest road drought for the Bears to any opponents home stadium.

        In 2015, the Bears also travel to Tampa (Week 16) and San Diego (Week 9), the second and third longest road droughts away from their respective opponents’ home stadium in the regular season. Note: The Bears were the road team against Tampa Bay in their 2011 contest at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

FLEX SCHEDULING: For the second-straight season, flexible scheduling may be applied in Weeks 5-10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time. Also, a select number of games are being “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences.

        “Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17 as it has been in recent years. In Weeks 11-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to January 3. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into primetime.

Butler goes off in second half as Bulls pull away from Bucks 91-82 for 2-0 series lead.

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

Jimmy Butler set a playoff career-high for the second straight game with 31 points, and the Bulls beat the Milwaukee Bucks 91-82 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.After scoring 25 points in Game 1, Butler trumped that with another terrific performance. He was at his best down the stretch, scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter.Derrick Rose scored all of his 15 points in the second half after dominating in the series opener.Pau Gasol added 11 points and 16 rebounds and Mike Dunleavy Jr. scored 12 points as the third-seeded Bulls grabbed a commanding lead in the series.Game 3 is Thursday at Milwaukee.Khris Middleton led the sixth-seeded Bucks with 22 points, and Michael Carter-Williams scored 12.The Bulls were trailing 74-71 early in the fourth when Butler started a 13-0 run with a 3-pointer.He drove along the right side for a vicious two-handed dunk on Zaza Pachulia and hit the free throw to complete the three-point play. Butler finished the run with another 3, giving the Bulls a 84-74 lead with 6:01 remaining.Pachulia was ejected with 2:48 left in the game after he and Nikola Mirotic shoved each other on the court while going for a loose ball. Middleton then hit a jumper to pull Milwaukee within seven points with just over 2 minutes left, but Rose sealed the win when he scored with 55 seconds left to make it 91-82.Rose missed his first seven shots after scoring 23 points in his first playoff game since 2012 and was 4 of 14 overall. He finally nailed an open 3 early in the third and scored 12 in the quarter.

NOTES—Don’t expect Jabari Parker to promote his return. Unlike Rose, the Bulls’ star and fellow product of Simeon High School, he has no plans to advertise his recovery as he works his way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.”I’m not gonna Tweet about it,” Parker said. ”I’m not gonna Instagram it. What is mostly important is I act on it. I can’t say anything. I just have to do it.”After he tore the ACL in his left knee in the 2012 playoff opener, Rose documented his recovery through a high-profile campaign with Adidas’ titled ”The Return.”I’m not gonna promote it so much, where I have all-around access,” Parker said……Kirk Hinrich (left knee) remained sidelined. He sat out the final two regular-season games and the first two of this series….. Milwaukee has lost eight straight playoff games since beating Atlanta on April 28, 2010.


Hawks rebound with 4-2 win, lead Preds 2 games to 1.

Marian Hossa was everywhere. Jonathan Toews powered the Blackhawks to a big second period, and Brandon Saad had a key play for the Blackhawks.The Hawks skilled top line found plenty of room to roam with Shea Weber out with an injury.Toews had a goal and an assist, Hossa had two assists in a dazzling performance, and the Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 on Sunday for a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.Toews, Saad and Brent Seabrook scored in the second to help the Hawks earn its 20th win in its last 24 home playoff games. Scott Darling made 35 saves and Andrew Desjardins got his third career playoff goal in the first as the Blackhawks bounced back after Friday night’s 6-2 loss in Nashville.

”We’ve been here a while and went pretty deep the past two years,” Saad said. ”We know what we need to do. At the same time, after Game 2, we know we needed to be better. I think everyone brought it tonight.”

Mike Ribeiro and Mattias Ekholm scored for Nashville, and Pekka Rinne had 26 saves.The Predators were without Weber and forward Mike Fisher, who were sidelined by lower-body injuries. Fisher is day to day, but Weber did not travel with the team to Chicago and the star defenseman likely will be out for Game 4 on Tuesday night as well.Darling, a native of Lemont, was solid in his first postseason start after Corey Crawford was ineffective in the first two games of the series. The rookie also replaced Crawford in Game 1 and made 42 stops as the Blackhawks rallied for a 4-3 victory in double overtime.

”The guys have been unbelievable and really helped me out today,” Darling said.

Joel Quenneville did not announce his goaltender for Game 4, but talked as if Darling would get another start.

”We’ll talk about it, but certainly he did everything he could to put himself back in the net,” Quenneville said. ”I thought he was rock solid today.”

The Predators’ convincing victory in Game 2 led Quenneville to try a different look for the Blackhawks’ first home game of the playoffs. Darling was in goal, and forwards Antoine Vermette and Desjardins entered the lineup after they were healthy scratches for the first two games.The Blackhawks acquired Vermette and Desjardins in a pair of trades right before the deadline, but the veterans had struggled with the Blackhawks. Given another chance in the playoffs, Desjardins responded with his best game since the March 2 trade with San Jose.Desjardins’ first playoff goal in three years gave the Home team a 1-0 lead at 14:48 of the first. He also keyed a long stretch in the Nashville zone in the second that Seabrook finished with a hard wrist shot from the high slot, making it 4-2 with 7:19 left in the period.

”I was kind of waiting, ready,” Desjardins said. ”Been working hard. I was just working hard, and fortunate to get in the game tonight.”

Weber left in the second period of Game 2 after he was checked into the boards by Saad. In addition to his responsibilities on Nashville’s top defensive pairing, the captain is a key part of the Predators’ special teams.

”Certainly we’d rather have Shea, but that’s not an option,” coach Peter Laviolette said.

Without Weber on the ice, the Hawks top line helped the Blackhawks grab control in the second.Hossa made a nice drop pass to Toews for the center’s second goal of the series just 36 seconds into the period, giving the Hawks a 2-1 lead. After Ekholm responded for Nashville just 22 seconds later, Saad took the puck from Predators forward Colin Wilson and beat Rinne with a perfectly placed shot off the inside of the left post at 3:38.

”Speed kills, and I thought at times they had some really good jump out of their zone,” Predators forward Craig Smith said. ”We’ve got to control that with our third forward and communication.”

Toews then picked up an assist with a nice pass on Seabrook’s 13th career playoff goal. The captain has a team-high five points in the series.

NOTES—With Weber out, D Victor Bartley made his first appearance of the series. … To make room for Vermette and Desjardins, the Blackhawks put Joakim Nordstrom and Teuvo Teravainen on the inactive list.