Late Anisimov goal carries Hawks past Blues 4-3.

The Blackhawks’ big-name scorers keep coming through when needed, and they kepts on rolling.Artem Anisimov scored with 5:20 left in the third period to lift the Blackhawks over the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night for their fourth straight win and ninth in their last 10.Anisimov beat Jake Allen on the glove side from the right edge of the crease for his 22nd goal – matching his career high – after taking a pinpoint cross-ice pass from linemate Artemi Panarin. Tanner Kero added an empty-netter with 2.6 seconds left.The Blackhawks have outscored opponents 44-24 during their 10-game run. The goals have not only been plentiful, but timely, as the top two lines have been clicking.

”If somebody has a good shift, everybody feeds off it and keeps it going,” Anisimov said. ”It’s very nice to have two lines going.”

Anisimov’s line, with wings Panarin and Patrick Kane, has been outstanding. So has the trio of center Jonathan Toews with wings Richard Panik and rookie Nick Schmaltz.

”I think we’re so much deeper as a team, both lines are dangerous and effective,” coach Joel Quenneville said. ”Who are (opponents) going to check? Who are they going to match up on the back end? ‘It gives the other team something to think about over the course of a game.”

Kane assisted on Anisimov’s winner and scored a power-play goal. Toews also had a goal and an assist for surging Hawks, who pulled one point behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference despite blowing an early 2-0 lead.Toews has nine goals and 15 assists in his last 14 games. Kane has nine goals and six assists in his last 10.Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith had an assist for his 500th NHL point.Magnus Paajarvi and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues, who played their first game following their bye week and lost their third straight.After Pietrangelo connected during a power play in the second period to tie it at 2, the Blues saw a chance to get back on track.

”This would have been a good one to come away with,” Pietrangelo said. ”I know teams haven’t had a lot of success coming out of the break. It would have been nice to break that trend.”

Scott Darling made 30 saves as he stepped in for No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford, who was ill and ruled out by Quenneville at the team’s morning skate.Allen blocked 38 shots. Toews pened the scoring 4:18 in with a quick forehand move to cap a crisp, rink-long passing series with his linemates.Kane finished a give-and-go with Toews to make it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 11:44, beating Allen on the short side with a shot from the left circle.Paajarvi cut it to 2-1 with 3:06 left in the period. He skated in alone and beat Darling between the legs after linemate Jori Lehtera forced defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk into a turnover at the Blackhawks’ blue line.Pietrangelo’s power-play goal with 7:27 left in the second tied it. With the Blackhawks’ defense backing in, he took David Perron’s feed and beat Darling on the glove side.

NOTES—The Blackhawks finished 3-2 against the Blues in the regular season. … Darling was backed up by Lars Johansson, who was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL on Sunday. Johansson arrived at the United Center in time, even though the IceHogs played at Ontario, California, on Sunday night. … Tomas Jurco, acquired Friday from Detroit for a draft pick, made his Blackhawks debut. … Niklas Hjalmarsson missed the game and is day-to-day. He skated five shifts on Thursday against Arizona before leaving. … D Jay Bouwmeester played his 300th game with St. Louis. … The Blues healthy scratches were F Nail Yakupov and D Robert Bortuzzo. … Dennis Rasmussen sat out.

NOTES—The Blackhawks are home to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night in first of two regular season meetings between the teams.

Illini remain, hot with road win over Nebraska

Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)

LINCOLN—Malcolm Hill scored 19 points and Illinois went on a 3-point shooting spree in the second half in a 73-57 victory over Nebraska on Sunday.Tracy Abrahams added 13 points and Maverick Morgan had 12 for the Illini (17-12, 7-9), who won their third straight road game and for the fourth time in five games overall.Tai Webster had 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists to lead the Cornhuskers (12-16, 6-10).The Illini, who came into the game 12th in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting in conference games (32.9 percent) made seven of their first eight 3s of the second half to go up 61-44 with 9:15 to play. They finished 13 of 26 from beyond the arc.The Huskers are last in the Big Ten in 3-point defense in conference games (41.3 percent).Hill scored 14 of his 19 points after half. He and Abrams each made four 3-pointers.Illinois led 30-28 at half, and Abrams and Hill hit a couple 3s during a 10-3 spurt that gave the Illini a seven-point lead. Jalen Coleman-Lands’ 3 pushed the lead to 47-37 with 13:41 to play, and the Huskers never got closer.

NU drops another as Indiana gets three point play from Bryant with 2.6 seconds left

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

BLOOMINGTON—Thomas Bryant completed a 3-point play with 2.6 seconds left Saturday night and James Blackmon Jr. finished with 13 points to help Indiana rally from a seven-point deficit in the final 93 seconds to beat Northwestern 63-62.The win snapped a five-game losing streak and was the only time Indiana (16-13, 6-10 Big Ten) led in the final 13 1/2 minutes.Bryant McIntosh scored 22 points for Northwestern (20-9, 9-7) but just missed a half-court heave at the buzzer to win it.The Hoosiers seemed to take control with a 22-0 run to close the first half – the last coming on Devonte Green’s heave from 60 feet that made it 36-26.But after retaking the lead with a 17-3 second-half run and taking a 62-55 lead with 1:33 left, Northwestern didn’t score again.Blackmon’s 3-pointer with 38.6 seconds left made it 62-60 and Bryant won it with a fortuitous bounce on the free throw.Bryant finished with 11 points and six rebounds.Scottie Lindsey finished with 13 points and Derek Pardon had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, who lost their second straight.Northwestern looked like it would cruise when it jumped to a 26-14 lead with 5:29 left in the first half but didn’t score again until McIntosh opened the second half with a layup.Then it all happened again in the second half.Lindsey’s jumper gave the Wildcats a 42-41 lead and they led the rest of the game until Bryant’s 3-point play.Just a few weeks ago, the Wildcats looked like a lock to make their first NCAA Tournament. But now they’ve lost five of seven and two in a row against teams in the lower half of the conference standings. With two home games remaining, the Wildcats need to get things righted quickly.NU tries to rebound Wednesday at home against Michigan.

Kane’s Hat Trick leads Hawks past Coyotes 6-3.

Patrick Kane scored three goals for his third career hat trick to lead the surging Blackhawks past the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Thursday night for their third straight win and eighth in nine games.Kane has 23 goals to lead the Blackhawks, who closed within three points behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.Rookies Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and assist. Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season in his first game since Jan. 15.Jonathan Toews added two assists to extend his points scoring streak to five games and increase his output to 22 points in his past 13.Jakob Chychrun, Ryan White and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes. Chychrun and Vrbata each scored for the second straight game.Corey Crawford made 34 saves. Arizona’s Mike Smith stopped 23 shots.Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson left after skating five shifts in the first period.Hjalmarsson didn’t appear to suffer an injury and the Hawks gave no reason why he left when the team announced he wouldn’t return. The 29-year-old, second on the Blackhawks with 21:59 of ice time per game, didn’t participate in the team’s morning skate on Thursday.The Blackhawks jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period, but the Coyotes took advantage of a Hawk defensive breakdowns to score goals 57 second apart late in the period to tie it 3-all after 20 minutes.Schmaltz, celebrating his 21st birthday, opened the scoring just 37 seconds in, taking Toews’ cross-ice feed to complete a 2-on-1 break. Chychrun tied it at 1 on a screened shot from the left circle at 7:36.Set up by Marian Hossa, Hartman connected from the low edge of the right circle at 10:28 to make it 2-1. Kane extended the advantage to 3-1 just over six minutes later on sharp-angle shot than banked in off Smith’s torso on the short side.White cut it to 3-2 with 2:18 left in the first when his initial shot hit the backboards and bounded in front. White skated around Rozsival and buried the loose puck.Vrbata was alone at the edge of the crease and tapped in Martin Hanzal’s feed from the left boards with 1:21 left in the first.Rozsival and Kane scored in the second to put the Blackhawks back in front, 5-3.Rozsival trailed in and fired a shot past Smith’s glove 2:56 into the period after taking a pass from Schmaltz.Kane’s second goal, with 7:19 left in the period, gave the Hawks their second two-goal lead.Kane broke in down the right wing, then pulled up in the circle. Instead of making a cross-ice pass to Tanner Kero, he shot and beat Smith between the pads.Kane completed his hat trick at 9:49 of the third when he fooled Smith on the stick side with an off-balance wrist shot from the edge of the right circle.

NOTES—Blackhawks rookie C Vinnie Hinostroza was a scratch. … Rozsival returned to the lineup after sitting out 14 games – six because of a foot injury and eight as a healthy scratch. … Arizona D Anthony DeAngelo was in the lineup following his recall from Tucson of the AHL on Monday. He filled a spot created after the Coyotes D Michael Stone was traded to Calgary for draft picks.The Blackhawks host St. Louis on Sunday in the final regular-season game between the Central Division rivals.

Bulls deal Gibson, McDermott & a future second rounder to OKC for whom?

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

The Bulls finally made a move and the Thunder upgraded for their playoff run Thursday. Multiple outlets report that the Bulls have traded longtime power forward Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, along with a second-round pick, to the Oklahoma City Thunder for guards Cameron Payne and Anthony Morrow and forward Joffrey Lauvergne. The Bulls have basically gone all in on Payne. Giving up Gibson and McDermott, along with a pick, to get two bit players and Payne is a massive reach. The Thunder are getting a quality defender and a shooter, without giving up anything significant. It’s a big-time move, as they set up a great combination of veterans and young guys. It’s a win for OKC. Let’s grade the trade.
THUNDER RECEIVE FROM BULLS: Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, 2018 second-round pick
THUNDER SEND TO BULLS: Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow, Joffrey Lauvergne
Complete win for the Thunder. Gibson was the Bulls’ third-best player, a tough-as-nails power forward who rarely misses games, is a great defender and can hit the mid-range jumper. He’s a good rebounder and has a terrific attitude. He’s going to fit perfectly with Steven Adams and give Russell Westbrook a pick-and-pop threat, as he’s reliable out to 18 feet. OKC’s identity is defense, and it gets even better there with Gibson stepping into the starting lineup ahead of rookie Domantas Sabonis, who will be great eventually but is too young for playoff crunch time. McDermott comes with a great reputation and is a 37.6 percent 3-point shooter. The move instantly helps OKC, the second-worst 3-point shooting team in the league, with spacing. The Thunder needed a knock-down shooter and McDermott brings that with size and athleticism. And they got a pick. Just highway robbery.

Toews scores three, assists on two others as Hawks beat Wild.

ST. PAUL—The relatively slow start to the season for Jonathan Toews has been buried by his recent surge.The captain is in prime form at the right time for the Blackhawks, reminding the Minnesota Wild that their postseason path will likely lead to Chicago.Toews had three goals and two assists, and the Blackhawks beat the rival Wild 5-3 on Tuesday night for their second win over the Western Conference leaders in less than two weeks.

“Johnny’s done so many things for us,” Joel Quenneville said. “He’s an amazing player with competitiveness you’re never going to find. What a great leader and a great captain.”

Toews notched his fourth career hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:02 left to stave off a spirited rally by the Wild, who began a franchise-record eight-game homestand on Feb. 8 with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks. Toews had a goal and two assists in that one and has 37 points in 35 career games against Minnesota.

“We always look at that team, especially with the way they’re playing, as a measuring stick right now,” said Toews, who has 20 points in his last 12 games. “Our respect level for what they can do is at an all-time high, and we know it’s going to take a heck of an effort to beat them.”

Toews’ wing men Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik had the other goals, giving the Blackhawks 34 goals in their last eight games and four five-goal outputs in their last five games. The first line totaled nine points, which rendered the shutdown of Patrick Kane and his line moot.Mikael Granlund had two power-play goals, the second of which brought the Wild within 4-3 before Ryan Suter just missed the tying goal with an attempt that hit the crossbar. Between the goals by Parise and Granlund, though, was the tap in by Toews made possible by a slick behind-the-net spin by Schmaltz that produced a perfect pass to the edge of the crease.

“He just wasn’t getting the bounces there at the start of the year. He’s always worked so hard, so you knew at some point the tides were going to change for him,” Schmaltz said.

The game was played in front of the largest crowd of the season in Minnesota, an overflow paid attendance of 19,333 filled out with the usual smattering of boisterous Blackhawks fans. They got the first chance to fully cheer when Toews knocked in the rebound of Brian Campbell’s slap shot that Dubnyk wasn’t able to glove in the first minute of the second period.Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, back from a four-game absence because of a lower-body injury, was in Dubnyk’s way as the All-Star goalie tried to freeze the puck. The night didn’t improve for Dumba, whose turnover behind the goal line less than five minutes later gave Toews possession for a setup for Panik and a 2-1 lead.Dubnyk, who stopped 34 shots, was awfully busy in that middle frame, making a diving save to deny Kane’s chip from the edge of the crease a little later and then letting Brent Seabrook’s shot ping off the post. The Blackhawks outshot the Wild 13-5 in the second period.The Wild took a five-point lead over the Blackhawks, with one game in hand, into their five-day bye.

“They outplayed us today, but what wouldn’t make me think that we couldn’t play with them?” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “They’re a great team. But we’re right there.”

The Blackhawks are 20-5-1 when Toews gets at least one point. … Corey Crawford had 29 saves. … Parise had a third-period goal waved off for a high stick. … The Wild lost by more than one goal for only the fifth time this season. … Exactly one year ago, the Wild beat the Blackhawks 6-1 in an outdoor game at the University of Minnesota’s football stadium.The Blackhawks return home to start a four-game homestand, beginning with Arizona on Thursday.

Illini complete sweep of NU as Cats go stone cold!

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)

CHAMPAIGN—Malcolm Hill scored 18 points to lead Illinois to a 66-50 win over Northwestern on Tuesday night.The two teams played a tight contest where the deficit didn’t grow larger than four points for much of the game. But Northwestern suffered an eight-minute scoring drought in the last 10 minutes and Illinois build its lead to double digits for the first time.Illinois (16-12, 6-9 Big Ten) controlled the pace for much of the game, including offensively where the Illini shot 40 percent from the field and 6 of 18 from 3-point range.Leron Black had a strong presence, scoring seven of the Illini’s first eight points. He finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.Bryant McIntosh led the way for Northwestern (20-8, 9-6) with 16 points.The Wildcats shot well from the field, 32 percent, but failed to take advantage of the numerous open 3-point opportunities, shooting 4-18.

NOTES—The Wildcats have now lost twice to a bad Illini team. Northwestern has three more games before the Big Ten Tournament and what will likely be the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth….The Illini got another win against their rival, one that will help their NIT Tournament chances. With three games left in the season before the Big Ten Tournament, wins against Northwestern are the bright spot for a season that doesn’t look good for John Groce’s team or his future…..Northwestern travels to Bloomington for a Saturday night matchup against Indiana…..Illinois heads back to the road for a Sunday evening game at Nebraska.

ISU escapes with 2 late free throws to edge Loyola

NORMAL—Deontae Hawkins scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, including a late go-ahead free throw, and Illinois State held off Loyola 65-63 on Sunday to win its fourth straight.The Redbirds missed three straight shots, and the Ramblers one, before Hawkins was fouled by Milton Doyle and hit two free throws with three seconds left. Ben Richardson’s 3 at the buzzer rimmed out.The Redbirds extended a seven-point halftime lead to 11, but the Ramblers closed to 45-40 on Aundre Jackson’s layup, tied it at 55 on Doyle’s layup, then led 58-57 on Donte Ingram’s 3 with 4:53 left. MiKyle McIntosh’s back-to-back 3s put the Redbirds back on top, but Doyle’s jumper tied it at 63 with 2:04 to go.McIntosh scored 13 points, Paris Lee hit three 3-pointers and made nine assists, and the Redbirds (23-5, 15-1 Missouri Valley) used 18 assists to score 25 of 53 field goals.Doyle scored 17 for the Ramblers (17-12, 7-9).

DePaul drops 10th straight, 82-66 to Butler

INDIANAPOLIS—Nate Fowler scored 15 points and Kelan Martin added 14 points and eight rebounds Sunday as No. 24 Butler blew out DePaul 82-66.The Bulldogs (21-6, 10-5 Big East) won their second straight and retained their hold on second place in the conference standings.Eli Cain had 24 points for DePaul (8-19, 1-13), which has lost 10 straight. Joe Hanel had 10 points.DePaul led 27-22 with 4:52 to go in the first half but failed to score again until 17:11 was left in the game.Butler took advantage of the drought with a 21-0 run that made it 43-27.The Blue Demons didn’t get closer than 11 points the rest of the game, and the Bulldogs put it away with a 13-0 second-half run.

Davis sets record in NBA All-Star Farce


NEW ORLEANS—Anthony Davis had an All-Star Game for the record books.And on a night when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant provided a glimpse of the past, Giannis Antetokounmpo showed he’s clearly part of the future and a midcourt lob attempt from James Harden even went in, Davis absolutely stole the show.He scored 52 points, 10 more than Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star record that had stood for 55 years, and the Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 192-182 on Sunday night – the highest-scoring game in league history.Davis made 26 shots and took 39, both of those also All-Star records. He even outdid Westbrook, who had 41 points in just 20 minutes – which ordinarily would have been enough to merit him what would have been a third straight MVP award.Not this time. It was cChicago native Davis hoisting the trophy, to the delight of his New Orleans fans.

”It was a lot of fun,” Davis said. ”My teammates did a great job of looking for me.”

Durant had a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Stephen Curry added 21 points for the West – where a subplot emerged as DeMarcus Cousins played only two minutes, prompting some speculation that a trade sending him out of Sacramento might be looming.Antetokounmpo had 30 points for the East, with 12 dunks in his night. LeBron James scored 23 points to become the first All-Star to eclipse 300 in a career, Kyrie Irving had 22 points and 14 assists, and Isaiah Thomas scored 20 for the East.Davis became the story that overshadowed The Story coming into this game, that being the Durant-Westbrook whatever.And if there is any animus remaining between Durant and Westbrook, it was hidden. They passed each other the ball and slapped hands in the pregame layup line, and not long after Westbrook checked into the game the former Oklahoma City teammates provided one of the game’s top highlights – a give-and-go, capped by Durant lobbing the ball to set Westbrook up for a dunk.

”OH MY GOD! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” Curry shouted on the West bench, which moments later broke into celebration. Players jumped and threw hands skyward, Curry tossing a cupful of water onto a smiling Durant amid it all.

Draymond Green called the play ”cute,” and Westbrook and Durant seemed happy with it as well.

”It was a nice give-and-go, man,” Westbrook said. ”Good give-and-go. Made a good pass. I barely got over the rim, but it was a nice give-and-go.”

Added Durant: ”It was a great basketball play. He was open so I threw him the lob. He can jump really high so yeah, good play.”

Some fans were shouting ”De-Fense!” in the fourth quarter. West center DeAndre Jordan heard them, rising from his seat on the West bench to yell ”No, no, no” back in their direction.If those fans were serious, they were disappointed.Westbrook scored 12 points – all on 3s – in a 63-second span late in the third quarter, coming off the bench and firing over and over and over again. And then he opened the fourth quarter with another 3, giving him 34 points in just under 14 minutes played to that point.It looked like he was a cinch for MVP honors, until Davis scored 20 points in the fourth.Irving also led the East in rebounds with seven. … Kyle Lowry scored 19 points and DeMar DeRozan added 16. … No East player logged more than 24 minutes.Curry took cover in the third quarter, comically hitting the deck face-first as Antetokounmpo went in for yet another dunk. So later in the quarter, Antetokounmpo went over Curry for a rebound slam – one that left Curry staring at the scoreboard for a replay. … Kawhi Leonard had a steal and dunk in the opening minute, a defensive display that left West coach Steve Kerr in hysterics.Joel Embiid wanted to be in the All-Star Game, and he was close – literally and figuratively.The Philadelphia star sat on the edge of the baseline next to the West bench, meaning he got to greet players throughout the night and share a few words with some at halftime.A huge roar greeted Jon Batiste, who performed ”The Star-Spangled Banner” pregame, when he started the song.It wasn’t for him.That happened to be the moment when John Legend – the halftime performer – and Chrissy Teigen were shown at their sideline seats on the video screens around the arena. And a louder cheer came not long afterward when Beyonce and Jay Z got on-screen.Among the other celebs in the seats: Guy Fieri, Dave Chappelle, Julius Erving, Alonzo Mourning, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson and The Roots.