GROBBER’S WEEK 13 NFL PICKS

AFC GAMES:
BUFFALO over Cleveland
BALTIMORE over San Diego
HOUSTON over Tennessee

NFL GAMES:
Arizona over ATLANTA

INTER-CONF GAMES:
INDIANAPOLIS over Washington
NY Giants over JACKSONVILLE
ST.LOUIS over Oakland
Cincinnati over TAMPA BAY
PITTSBURGH over New Orleans

THANKS GIVING GAMES(other than Bears):
DALLAS over Philadelphia
SAN FRANCISCO over Seattle

SUNDAY NIGHT: KANSAS CITY over Denver
MONDAY NIGHT:Miami over NY Jets

NFL NORTH GAMES:
MINNESOTA over Carolina
New England over GREEB BAY
DETROIT over BEARS(Thanksgiving)

HOME TEAMS in ALL CAPS
Last week: Les 11-4, Adam 12-3, Kevin 12-3, Zach 10-5
Through Week 12: Les 119-60-1, Adam 117-62-1, Kevin 112-67-1, Zach 105-74-1

Rose held out of second half, Bulls fall to Nuggets

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

DENVER—Ty Lawson scored 20 points, including a key jumper in the waning seconds, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Bulls¬†114-109 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight win.Arron Afflalo added 19 points and Danilo Gallinari had 15 for the Nuggets, who defeated the Bulls for the eighth straight time in Denver.¬†Derrick Rose was limited to 10 minutes in his second game back from a left hamstring strain. Rose, who scored 18 points in his return Monday night against Utah after a four-game absence, felt tightness in the hamstring during the first quarter and didn’t play the rest of the way.Jimmy Butler had 32 points, and Pau Gasol finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds.Trailing 56-49 at halftime, the Bulls closed to 64-61 when Mike Dunleavyswiped the ball from Lawson to start a fast break that he finished with a layup.But the Nuggets pushed back. When Dunleavy later made a 3-pointer, Lawson answered with a three-point play to help Denver to an 86-76 lead heading into the fourth quarter.The Nuggets used a 6-0 burst that included a pair of dunks by Alonzo Geeto stretch their lead to 94-80 with 8:25 remaining, but then had to fend off a late rally by the Bulls.Gasol scored a pair of baskets to get the Bulls within 10. After a video review erased a 3-point basket by Gallinari because he stepped out of bounds, Gasol converted a three-point play, making it 105-98 with less than two minutes left.Butler’s three-point play with 31.4 seconds remaining trimmed Denver’s lead to 109-106, but Lawson then hit a step-back jumper with 8.3 seconds left. After a Bulls turnover, Lawson hit one of two free throws and it was enough to hold off the Bulls.

NOTES—Joakim Noah was inactive because of an eye abrasion suffered in the win at Utah. … Taj Gibson missed the game because of a left ankle injury. … The Bulls haven’t won in Denver since Feb. 8, 2006. … Gasol leads the Bulls with seven double-doubles….Former DePaul Blue Demon Wilson Chandler finished with 14 points for Denver and has had 10 or more points in 10 of his last 11 games…..The Bulls are at Boston on Friday.

Bulls blow 21 point lead, but still beat Jazz 97-95

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

SALT LAKE CITY—Injuries have made it tough for the Bulls to realize their full potential this season. The Bulls can dominate any team for a quarter or a half, and let that team back into the game before the final horn.This maddening inconsistency was put on full display in the Bull’s 97-95 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday night. The Bulls imposed its will defensively and built up a double-digit lead. Then the Bulls lost that lead early in the fourth quarter and barely survived a Utah rally.The Bulls needed a basket from Mike Dunleavy and a free throw from Pau Gasol in the final seconds to avoid an embarrassing loss.

”It’s just a learning experience,” Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said. ”When we get a team down like that, we got to learn how to keep them down. Know the strategy and know the plays where we’re going to get a good shot. But, if anything, our defense always has to be there. That’s something we got to learn too.”

Rose scored 18 points in his return to the Bulls’ lineup after missing four games because of a hamstring injury.Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 25 points and Gasol added 23 points and nine rebounds for the Bulls, who beat the Jazz for ninth time in the last 12 games between the two teams.After trailing by 21 points in the second quarter, Utah took its first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter when Trevor Booker made a layup to put the Jazz up 80-78.The Bulls took an 87-84 lead when Aaron Brooks hit a 3-pointer. Utah answered by scoring seven unanswered points, going up 91-87 on a running jumper from Favors with 3:30 left.The Bulls regained the lead 96-95 on Dunleavy’s put back with 22.5 seconds remaining. Gasol then hit 1-of-2 free throws after winning possession on a jump ball with 3.2 seconds remaining. Utah had a final shot, but Hayward’s game winner fell short at the buzzer.Tom Thibodeau said injuries haven’t given the starting five enough time together to work out all the kinks.

”There is a lot of rust,” Thibodeau said. ”You can’t build chemistry unless they are out there playing, practicing, working together. If you include the preseason, it hasn’t happened a lot, so we got to get that straightened out.”

Derrick Favors scored 21 points and pulled down a season-high 15 rebounds for Utah. Enes Kanter had 19 points and eight rebounds while Trey Burke had 18 and 10 assists.

”If we would have come out with more energy in the first half, we would have had this game,” Favors said. ”But we dug ourselves a deep hole in the first half and it kind of hurt us.”

NOTES—The Bulls started 6-0 on the road and improved to 7-2 away from home. The Bulls have posted a winning road record in each of the last four seasons.Jazz: Utah has not shot below 42 percent from the field in a game this season. The Jazz shot 48.8 percent (42-of-86) against the Bulls. . Gordon Hayward is just the ninth Jazz player to make more than 300 3-pointers in his time with the franchise. Hayward has made 301 career 3-pointers for Utah.The Bulls play at Denver on Tuesday

Illini move past Brown with strong second half

Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)

CHAMPAIGN—In 59 seconds, Illinois took control of a tie game and never looked back.Over those 59 seconds in the beginning the second half against Brown on Monday, the Illini went on a 9-0 run that turned a tie game into a nine-point lead that they would not relinquish.Aaron Cosby scored 18 points, with 13 in the first five minutes of the second half, as Illinois (4-0) topped Brown (1-4) 89-68 on Monday night.Brown took a 35-31 lead into halftime by shooting 51.9 percent from the field. Illinois’ offense, which entered the game averaging 100.3 points per game, was limited to 30.6 percent from the floor in the first half.

”Obviously a tale of two halves,” Illinois coach John Groce said. ”They played with a little more toughness than us and a little more sense of urgency than us.”

The game-changing run started with a steal by Rayvonte Rice, who was fouled on a fast break layup after he picked off a pass.On the next possession, Jaylon Tate got a steal off of a deflection from center Nnanna Egwu and pushed the ball coast to coast. Hanging in midair, Tate wrapped around a Brown defender in the paint and found a wide-open Cosby in the corner for three.Cosby did the work himself on the Bears’ next possession, making a steal and drawing an intentional foul by Steven Spieth. Cosby nailed both free throws and followed it with a layup on the ensuing possession to push the lead to nine.After that, Brown never threatened and the lead reached as high as 24 in the second half.In the second half, Illinois shot 73.1 percent from the field and was 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point line. After its sluggish first half, Illinois dropped 58 points in the second half.Rice added 15 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Five Illinois players reached double figures.Spieth led Brown with 21 points and seven rebounds. He was an efficient 7-of-10 from the field but had four turnovers. Sophomore Leland King was held to seven points after back-to-back games of scoring 25 points.After only a combined six rebounds in the team’s first two games, Egwu gathered eight rebounds Monday.

Bears beat Lovie at his own game, turnovers lead to 14 of 21 third quarter points in comback win over Bucs

Matt Forte gobbled up the yards on the ground, and the defense made several big plays at key moments.The second-half rally was reminiscent of Lovie Smith’s time with the Bears, and that old familiar formula spoiled the coach’s return to Soldier Field.Forte rushed for two touchdowns in the third quarter, and the Bears forced four turnovers in a 21-13 victory over Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

”Lovie preaches that a lot — we felt we had to win the turnover battle,” Bears cornerback Tim Jennings said. ”That was huge for our success today. It was real huge. We needed that.”

Jay Cutler threw a 2-yard TD pass to Alshon Jeffery as the Bears (5-6) scored 21 straight points to erase a 10-0 halftime deficit. Forte had a 13-yard run that put the Bears ahead to stay, and then added a 1-yard plunge that made it 21-10.

”Our defense did a great job in the second half of getting turnovers so that we can convert those into touchdowns, you know, down in the red zone,” Forte said.

Smith coached the Bears to three playoff appearances and a trip to the 2007 Super Bowl during his nine-year run in Chicago. He was hired by Tampa Bay in January, and his return to Chicago showed just how far he has to go to get the lowly Bucs (2-9) back on track.

”Won a lot of games here at Soldier Field,” Smith said. ”Lot of great memories, but this is a bad memory right now.”

Tampa Bay had three turnovers in the third. Josh McCown, who played with the Bears off and on for the previous three seasons, lost a fumble and threw an interception. Vincent Jackson fumbled at the end of a 24-yard reception that would have resulted in a first-and-goal.Each of Forte’s touchdowns came after a Buccaneers turnover. McCown also threw an interception in the first quarter that ended another promising drive.

”When you’re on the road, it’s tough when you give them more opportunities,” said Jackson, who had five receptions for 117 yards.

Forte had 23 carries for 89 yards as the Bears won consecutive games for the first time since September. Cutler was 17 for 27 for 130 yards.McCown was 25 for 48 for 341 yards for Tampa Bay, which has dropped six of seven. Rookie Mike Evans had a touchdown reception for the fourth consecutive game, and Louis Murphy added six receptions for 113 yards.The Buccaneers managed just 156 yards and six first downs in the second half after getting off to a fast start on a rainy day on the Lake Front.

”We did much better on third down,” said safety Ryan Mundy, who had the third-quarter interception for Chicago. ”At the start of the game they were converting at a much higher rate. Once we settled in and started getting stops on third down that really helped us out.”

Smith was let go by the Bears after they failed to make the playoffs for the second straight season in 2012 despite a 10-6 record. He was 81-63 in his first stint as a head coach in the NFL.Most of Smith’s tenure in Chicago featured a stout defense and an ineffective offense, and general manager Phil Emery replaced him with a coach with an offensive background when he hired Marc Trestman last January. It has been a rocky start so far for Trestman, and Smith’s return seemed to increase the pressure on the former CFL coach with Montreal.It got even worse for Trestman when Tampa Bay controlled most of the first half, with the Buccaneers playing like some of Smith’s winning teams in Chicago.Gerald McCoy knocked the ball loose when he had a big hit on Cutler in the first quarter and Clinton McDonald recovered for the Buccaneers. McCown then capped a six-play, 46-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Evans for a 7-0 lead.Tampa Bay scored again right before halftime, making it 10-0 on rookie Patrick Murray’s 32-yard field goal. Murphy had a key 54-yard reception when he spun out of a tackle attempt by Jennings, and Jackson had a 27-yard grab on a third-and-23 on the drive.

NOTES—The Bears had a season-high five sacks. … Tampa Bay FB Jorvorskie Lane was carted off in the second quarter with what Smith said was a ”serious” right ankle injury. … Bears LB Lance Briggs was sidelined by a groin injury, and CB Kyle Fuller departed with a knee injury. … Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin returned after missing three games with an ankle injury. He had 27 yards on 11 carries.

SIU beats UIC 67-60 in Men Against Cancer Classic finale

KENT—Anthony Beane scored 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds as Southern Illinois defeated UIC 67-60 in the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic on Sunday.The Salukis shot 50 percent from the field and had a 35-28 edge in rebounding. Sean O’Brien and Deion Lavender each finished with 12 points and Jordan Caroline had five with 11 boards.Southern Illinois (2-3) raced out to an early 21-5 lead as Lavender hit a pair of 3-pointers. They led 35-21 at halftime and pushed that lead to 21 after Beane’s jumper and layup at the 14:55 mark.UIC (1-4) couldn’t keep pace, being limited to 19-of-55 shooting (34.5 percent) and trailing by double digits the entire second half until a late run provided the final margin.Jay Harris led the Flames with 19 points and D’Juan Miller added 16, but no other UIC player had more than six.

Canucks explode for three goals in third period, beat Hawks 4-1

VANCOUVER—Jannik Hansen scored the first hat trick of his career Sunday as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Blackhawks 4-1.Radim Vrbata had the other goal for the Canucks and Ryan Miller made 24 saves to get the win as Vancouver (14-6-1) celebrated assistant captain Daniel Sedin’s 1,000th NHL game with a hard-fought win.Bo Horvat had his first three NHL assists, while Derek Dorsett added two of his own.Corey Crawford finished with 26 stops for then Blackhawks (12-8-1) in the loss.After giving Vancouver a 1-0 lead in the first period, Hansen snapped a 1-1 tie with his fourth goal in the last three games at 6:24 of the third. Dorsett chipped the puck down the boards into the Hawk zone before directing a shot toward the goal that Hansen deflected into the top corner for his eighth of the season.Prior to Hansen’s second goal, Nick Bonino had a great chance to give the Canucks the lead about five minutes into the third. But his shot from the side of a wide open net hit the far post and stayed out.The Hawks had a power play with about eight minutes left in the third, but Vancouver’s penalty kill was effective. The Blackhawks, playing their second of a back-to-back and third game in four nights, pressed for the tie late, but were caught out on a rush when Vrbata scored his 10th of the season at 17:36.Hansen then won a race for the puck and scored into an empty net with 42 seconds left for the hat trick.The Hawks had won three straight – including Saturday night’s 7-1 thrashing of the Edmonton Oilers – and five of their last six, but was down 1-0 after the first period before imposing its will as the second wore on.Kris Versteeg, who had two goals and four assists in his last three games, scored his seventh of the season tie things at 7:55 on the power play, deflecting a point shot from Duncan Keith past a helpless Miller.Hansen wired a shot off a face off earlier in the period that Crawford saved before the Blackhawks goalie snagged Vrbata’s deflection with his glove.The Canucks had a great chance to restore the lead on a power play of their own later in the period, but Crawford robbed Henrik Sedin with the heel of his skate after taking a pass at the side of the net from Daniel Sedin.Vancouver opened the scoring at 13:13 of the first period on the power play when Dorsett’s pass off the rush glanced off Horvat’s stick to Hansen, who buried his sixth of the season and third in as many games over Crawford’s blocker.The assist was Horvat’s first in the NHL after scoring his first goal in Thursday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

NOTES—Henrik Sedin played his 1,000th game with Vancouver in March. … Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis sat out with a lower-body injury after getting hurt on Thursday. … Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. … The Canucks host Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday before starting a season-high seven-game road trip in Columbus against the Blue Jackets on Friday. The trip will also take Vancouver to Detroit, Washington, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. … The Blackhawks continue their six-game road trip on Wednesday night against the Colorado Avalanche.

NU hammer’s Purdue, loses Siemian

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

WEST LAFAYETTE—On a day when starting quarterback Trevor Siemian was lost in the second quarter with a left knee injury, Northwestern’s defense and special teams compensated, producing a much-needed victory.Linebacker Jimmy Hall set up 14 points with an interception and a fumble recovery, and the Wildcats beat Purdue 38-14 on Saturday.

”I was just at the right place at the right time, really,” Hall said of the two plays that established the early momentum. ”It was just guys stepping up, getting forced fumbles, and I was just there at the right time.”

Purdue finished with five turnovers.A victory against Illinois on Nov. 29 would make the Wildcats (5-6, 3-4 Big Ten) bowl eligible. Northwestern last week upset Notre Dame 43-40 in overtime, snapping a four-game losing streak.Siemian hurt his left knee trying to pick up a first down and did not return. He was replaced by Zach Oliver. Coach Pat Fitzgerald said the knee injury appears to be a serious one, although he won’t know specifics until after tests are run.

”We have had a lot of injuries, but our young men have persevered,” Fitzgerald said. ”They’ve kept on battling, and obviously, our backs are against the wall one more time next Saturday.”
Replacing Siemian was difficult emotionally for Oliver.

”Trevor and I are best friends, so it’s tough,” said Oliver, who completed 5 of 11 passes for 85 yards. ”We have to move on. We still have a win to get next week, and then a bowl win, and we are going to be playing for him. Coach Fitzgerald has been calling this little final streak our playoffs, so we have to get that W against Illinois.”

Hall’s interception of a pass by Austin Appleby – one of four first-half Purdue turnovers – set up Northwestern’s first score, a 24-yard pass from Siemian to Dan Vitale.Hall recovered a fumble by Akeem Hunt at the Northwestern 43, setting up a nine-play, 57-yard drive, capped by Justin Jackson’s 9-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead.Jackson finished with 23 carries for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

Brindza misses tying FG, Irish fall to Louisville

SOUTH BEND—Louisville didn’t panic when Notre Dame, aided by a 61-yard punt return, scored two quick touchdowns early in the third quarter to take the lead.The Cardinals answered with a pair of touchdowns of their own, stopped Notre Dame at the 9-yard line and avoided overtime when Notre Dame’s Kyle Brindza missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt as the Cardinals held on for a 31-28 victory Saturday.

”Things were a bit rough there for a minute,” Louisville quarterback Reggie Bonnafon said. ”We just kept our composure and knew that we were going to turn it back around and keep executing our game plan and that’s what happened.”

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said he was happy for his players.
”We knew it was going to be a fourth-quarter game,” Petrino said. ”They competed extremely hard. I think our assistant coaches on offense did a great job on the sideline of calming our guys down, keeping our poise.”

The Irish had a chance to force overtime but Brindza missed a 32-yard field goal wide right with 51 seconds left. It was the second straight time a missed field goal cost Notre Dame a game. Brindza missed a field goal in overtime a week earlier against Northwestern.

”We’ve lost back to back games because we couldn’t put down a ball and kick it 32 yards,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said.
Bonnafon ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw a 21-yard scoring pass to DeVante Parker for the Cardinals. Bonnafon was 8-of-31 passing for 180 yards with one interception.

Illini late field beats Penn State, keeps Bowl chances alive

Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)

CHAMPAIGN—Late in the fourth quarter Saturday, Illinois kicker David Reisner lined up for a 50-yard field goal and watched as a hard wind pushed it wide left of the target.The sophomore said he never would have made the next one if he hadn’t missed the first.Reisner adjusted for the wind and, with eight seconds left in the game, hit from 36 yards for a 16-14 win over Penn State.

”I would have thought differently if we didn’t have that 50-yarder,” Reisner said. ”That was a (long) kick and you could really see the wind take it.”

Reisner’s game-winner finished off the seven-play, 54-yard drive that backup quarterback Reilly O’Toole led Illinois on.They made for two of the least likely heroes for a team fighting to take the pressure off coach Tim Beckman – the kicker on an Illinois team (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten) that almost never tries field goals, and the backup quarterback who seldom plays unless the starter is hurt. O’Toole came on for an ineffective Wes Lunt in the second quarter.Reisner made three field goals Saturday, one more than Illinois had made all season.Before the last one, Beckman gave his kicker a vote of confidence.

”I looked him in the eye, and told him `This is easy for you,”’ Beckman said.

Illinois has one game left, next Saturday at Northwestern, to try to get a sixth win and a potential bowl trip. Penn State closes the regular season at home against Michigan State.