Alex Smith looked sharp in leading three scoring drives in the first half and the Kansas City Chiefs got a 23-7 preseason victory over the Bears on Saturday.Jay Cutler had a rough game playing behind a line that was missing star right guard Kyle Long. The three-time Pro Bowl pick injured his shoulder at New England last week, forcing more shuffling for an already thin group.Cutler played into the third quarter and completed 6 of 15 passes for 45 yards.Alshon Jeffery had two catches for 18 yards and dropped a wide-open pass in the second quarter that could have led to a big gain. Kevin White had just a 3-yard catch, another quiet performance for the 2015 first-round draft pick.And quarterback Connor Shaw, vying for a spot behind Cutler and Brian Hoyer, suffered a left leg injury that coach John Fox said was serious.It turned out to be a season ending broken leg.He was taken from the field on a cart in the closing minutes of the game after Kansas City’s Rakeem Nunez-Roches stepped on his leg following a pass to Josh Bellamy. Shaw screamed in agony and players kneeled as he was tended to on the field. ”Our thoughts and our prayers are with him and his family,” said Fox, adding Shaw was ”off to the hospital.” Smith completed 20 of 30 passes for 181 yards before Nick Foles came in to start the third quarter. The defense strangled the Bears offense, and the Chiefs (1-2) came away with the win after dropping their first two exhibitions.Kansas City has one more tuneup against Green Bay before opening against San Diego on Sept. 11. But in what is generally the final dress rehearsal for the starters, the Chiefs dominated. ”I certainly feel like we’re ready as far as game speed, as far as getting the trials, getting enough plays,” Smith said. ”I felt like we got in a lot of different situations – the goal line, short yardage, red zone, got a little two-minute today. That’s kind of what you want, I feel like, in the preseason.” Kansas City got two second-quarter field goals from Cairo Santos and a 1-yard touchdown run by Spencer Ware in the closing seconds of the half to take a 13-0 lead. But the score didn’t reflect just how lopsided the game was.The Chiefs outgained the Bears 239-20 in the half, had 16 first downs compared to the Bears two and dominated time of possession 21:54 to 8:06.KC had 177 yards passing compared to minus-7 for the Bears through the first two quarters.Chiefs Coach Andy Reid on Smith: ”I thought he had an opportunity to sling it around a little bit with those guys.” Cutler on the offense’s struggles: ”We’re going to have a flux of guys kind of come into the lineup that we’ve been without the last couple weeks, which is going to help us, make us look a little more dynamic, a little more explosion out there.” Fifth-round pick Tyreek Hill caught a 58-yard pass from Foles in the third quarter that set up a touchdown.The Bears held out OLB Leonard Floyd. The No. 9 pick in the draft, he has been dealing with a hamstring injury.CB Phillip Gaines, working his way back from a torn ACL sustained last season, made his first preseason appearance but wasn’t challenged. Gaines is in the running to start opposite Defensive Rookie of the Year Marcus Peters along with rookie D.J. White. Daniel Braverman and Marc Mariani, vying for the slot receiver spot, did little to distinguish themselves.Among the missing starters and backups for the Chiefs were pass rusher Tamba Hali (knee), running backs Jamaal Charles (knee) and Charcandrick West (elbow), and linebacker Josh Mauga (groin).CB Tracy Porter was being evaluated for a concussion after taking a knee to the head from teammate Harold Jones-Quartey while tackling Demetrius Harris on a reception late in the second quarter. Jones stayed down for several minutes while being tended to by medical personnel before walking slowly toward the locker room.
RIO DE JANEIRO—It had the sound, from an omen perspective, of the flat-out wrong address. A booking gone bad.Housing all those famous faces from the NBA on a luxury cruise liner called The Silver Cloud?At the Olympics? You were moved to question the wisdom of that choice once or twice in the early stages Sunday, when stubborn Serbia managed to hang with mighty Team USA for a quarter at Carioca Arena 1. You couldn’t help but think: Imagine the storms and ridicule that would greet the Americans if they only managed to bring silver home from these Rio Games.And then Kevin Durant, turning ruthless in the last game we’ll see him play before he starts his new under-the-microscope life with the increasingly villainous Golden State Warriors, staged a hostile international takeover to make you laugh at yourself for wasting any brain cells on the idea.There would be no storms, or lasting fears of silver, on this afternoon. The Americans ultimately rolled in a 96-66 rout, with Durant erupting for 24 of his 30 points by halftime — 15 of them in the second quarter — to turn an edgy 19-15 game after a period into a 23-point laugher at the break.Five mostly d-e-e-p 3s from Durant in the first half, with a couple of memorable dunks thrown in, put KD on a path to match his 30 points from the gold-medal game in London 2012, essentially clinched a record third gold medal for teammate Carmelo Anthony before the second half and ensured that Mike Krzyzewski would bid farewell to the international game with a 76-game winning streak to take back to Duke.Best of all, Durant made the Americans’ final hours on Brazilian soil their most comfortable of the whole trip.What followed after the break was a predictable in-game party for the Americans, with Durant eventually serving as head cheerleader at the end thanks to a lead that stretched as high as 41 points, all of which banished the memories of those nervy three single-digit victories in their first seven games here. “We were pissed going into the locker room,” Durant said the other day, reflecting on Serbia’s near upset of the tournament’s overwhelming favorites in group play on Aug. 12. “Not because we wanted to blow every team out. Just because we didn’t play well at all.But now I’m just like, ‘Hey, man, if we lose this game, we lose it.’ If we win it, then great, we move on. That helps me. It may not help other players, but it helps me. I’ve just embraced who I am as a basketball player.” He truly couldn’t have looked more comfortable in his last act on the Rio stage. A summer that began with U.S. players loathing the Molten brown-and-white ball used in international play and struggling to adjust to the slightly shorter 3-point line came to a close with Durant routinely squaring up from far beyond NBA range and hitting triple after triple.This one changed completely once Krzyzewski put reserves Paul George, Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler and DeMarcus Cousins around Durant. The Serbs couldn’t cope with their length and athleticism and pressure on the ball, then watched helplessly as Durant sailed in for a slam and a 45-25 cushion when multiple defenders rushed out to try to crowd him on the perimeter.Making 3s was the Serbs’ only realistic shot of hanging in, but they were hounded into fatal 4-for-24 shooting from deep. Any remaining hope was snuffed out by Team USA’s crushing 54-33 edge on the boards.As Durant said after the Yanks’ semifinal win over Spain: “We’ve got two lineups — guys who can just score and we got energy lineups — and we mix them together pretty well.” Few close calls in Coach K era Only eight of Mike Krzyzewski’s 76 consecutive wins with the U.S. men’s national team were decided by single digits, but three of those “scares” have occurred at these Olympics.
The USA won 121 Medals(96 Gold).China was second with 70,England 67,& Russia 56.
FOXBOROUGH—Tom Brady sat out his second straight preseason game, while the guy that will replace him at the start of the regular season continued to make progress.Brady did not go through pregame warmups Thursday night and never made it to the field for the New England Patriots’ 23-22 win over the Bears. He had been expected to make his debut after missing last week’s game to attend memorial services for a family member.Jimmy Garoppolo will start the first four games of the regular season while Brady serves his ”Deflategate” suspension, and he made the most of the extra playing time.
Asked about a report that Brady accidently cut his hand pregame, coach Bill Belichick said it was his call to only play Garoppolo and rookie Jacoby Brissett.
”I made the decision for him not to play tonight,” Belichick said.
Garoppolo threaded a 16-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to A.J. Derby late in the first half for his first TD pass of the preseason. He played the entire first half and one series in the second half, finishing 16 of 21 for 181 yards.Jay Cutler and the Bear’s offense started the game with a lot more pep following an anemic effort in the opener last week.The Bears gained 78 yards of offense in the first half of their 22-0 loss to Denver last week. The Bears gained 59 yards in its first drive Thursday and surpassed last week’s total in its second possession.Cutler played three series, completing 8 of 12 passes for 83 yards. Jeremy Langford also had a nice game, rushing eight times for 55 yards and a touchdown.The Patriots are away for their final two preseason games, so Thursday marked Brady’s last opportunity to play in Foxborough until at least Oct. 16. His four-game suspension ends Oct. 3, but New England plays at Cleveland on Oct. 9 in what is expected to be Brady’s regular-season debut.Bears DL Jonathan Bullard, a third-round pick out of Florida, and Georgia first-rounder LB Leonard Floyd got together to corral Brissett for a sack late in the third quarter. Though he never got a clean hit on a Patriots quarterback, Floyd did force some quick throws, and was one of the few positives for Bear reserves. …TE Rob Housler showed off some speed with a 52-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter.
NOTES—Bears CB Jacoby Glenn started in place of Kyle Fuller (sore knee), but left in the third quarter with a concussion. TE Zach Miller and WR Eddie Royal both sat out Thursday’s game as they recover from concussions……New England WR Julian Edelman was held out as he continues to take it easy after having a minor procedure this spring on his surgically repaired left foot. TE Rob Gronkowski, also sat out for the second consecutive game after leaving the first practice of the week early with an undisclosed issue. WR Malcolm Mitchell (left elbow) was also out…….Bears Coach John Fox on the offense’s effort this week: ”We were disappointed in our performance last week. That was pretty well documented. And so guys get challenged. And they responded.”…..Patriots Coach Belichick, on Garoppolo having to adjust after the decision not to play Brady: ”Sometimes things happen and they change. On offense quarterbacks refer to that as an audible.”
Mark Sanchez made a strong opening argument for the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback job, throwing for 99 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter, and the defending Super Bowl champions beat the Bears 22-0 in the preseason opener on Thursday night. Sanchez came through with just the sort of performance he needed if he’s going to beat out Trevor Siemian. He completed 10 of 13 passes in the first quarter and led a game-opening 76-yard touchdown drive. He was intercepted on the Broncos’ second possession when Jerrell Freeman picked off a tipped pass. But overall? Not bad. Sanchez maintained his cool against the Bears pressure and kept the opening drive going by completing three third-down passes – including a 32-yard TD to a wide open Demaryius Thomas along the right side. As for Siemian, the former Northwestern star looked comfortable throwing short passes and was 7 of 12 for 88 yards in the second quarter. It was a rough start for a Bears team looking for more after going 6-10 in coach John Fox’s first season. Jay Cutler threw for 18 yards and got sacked twice in the first quarter. Brian Hoyer threw for 81 yards in the second period but was sacked three times. On a positive note for the Bears, Alshon Jeffery played after being limited by a strained hamstring and caught a 12-yard pass. And Kevin White caught his first pass for Chicago after missing his rookie season because of a fractured shin. Sanchez on what he has to do to clinch the starting job. Broncos: ”Not too much differently. Just kind of do what I’ve been doing, stay within myself, and the plays will come. I’m on a pretty good team. Whoever’s pulling the trigger back there, guys are going step up and make plays.” – Siemian when asked what he has to do to win the starting job. ”We need to get better. It starts with everybody. It starts with me. So we’ll take a look at it, the limited amount of plays we were in and look at it.” – Cutler on the Bears’ play. Bears: ”I was disappointed personally. I think our team was disappointed. We were expecting more. I don’t know that we executed as well as any of us expected. It is preseason, you don’t game plan. It’s pretty basic.” – Fox on the Bears performance. NO MILLER Broncos star LB Von Miller sat out because he said he was not mentally ready after a busy offseason. The Super Bowl MVP had a tense contract negotiation and made several TV and public appearances.
January seems a long, long way away right now, but the NHL held its annual late-summer press event to promote the forthcoming Winter Classic. The 2017 event, which will take place Jan. 2 at Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, will feature the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. There’s usually not a ton of news that we didn’t already know that comes out of these events, but we now know the rink configuration for Busch, which isn’t much different from previous Winter Classics at a baseball venue. The end boards will stretch from first to third, with the St. Louis skyline as a nice backdrop (photo below). While the press conference didn’t spend much time on it, we also know which logos the two teams will be using for the event. With the Blues celebrating their 50th season since entering the league as an expansion franchise in 1967, it appears the team will be using their original logo for their jerseys. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks, who will be playing in their third Winter Classic and fifth outdoor game overall, appear to be using a logo similar to the ones that adorned their jerseys in the late 1950s to mid-1960s. The actual uniforms have not been unveiled, however, so we won’t know if their true throwbacks or jerseys that take a few liberties with the old look like we’ve seen a bit in years past. It was also announced that Blues and Blackhawks alumni teams will play in a special alumni game on Dec. 31. Rosters for those squads will be revealed at a later date. With so many Blues alumni still living in St. Louis. The league also introduced its official logo for the event, which prominently features the Gateway Arch, of course:
|Monday, Oct. 3||vs Milwaukee Bucks||7:00 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|
|Thursday, Oct. 6||at Indiana Pacers||7:00 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|
|Saturday, Oct. 8||vs Indiana Pacers||7:00 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|
|Friday, Oct. 14||vs Cleveland Cavaliers||7:00 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|
|Saturday, Oct. 15||at Milwaukee Bucks||7:30 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|
|Monday, Oct. 17||vs Charlotte Hornets||7:00 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|
|Thursday, Oct. 20||vs Atlanta Hawks*||7:00 p.m.||CSN Chicago/WLS-AM 890|
Omaha CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.
The Bulls have obviously forgotten their plans to get younger. First they signed Rajon Rando, and now a huge surprise in that Dwyane Wade, a Chicago area native from Richards High School is leavinhg the only NBA team he’s ever played with, the Miami Heat and gets a two year, $47 million deal with the Bulls, whom he once called a dis-loyal Organizaion. That was in 2011 after he re-signed with the Heat and was joined by LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Wade is Miami’s all time leader in points,assists and steals. He and Shaquille O’Neal led the Heat to their first Title in 2006 when Wade was MVP of the Fianls against Dallas. They went to the Fianls in all four seasons that James was with them,winning Titles in 2012 & 2013. To make room for Wade, the Bulls sent Mike Dunleavy to Cleveland and recently aquired Jose Calderon to the Lakers.
The Bulls traded away Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks earlier this offseason. The move netted them Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and second-year point guard Jerian Grant. It was a sign of hitting the reset button around star player Jimmy Butler, even though trade rumors around Butler persisted. The Bulls still needed to find an addition this offseason to sell fans on in order to at least pretend they were trying to make progress with this roster. Sometimes that kind of move just means finding a name casual fans recognize.
Apparently, that name is Rajon Rondo. Multiple outlets are reporting that the Bulls have agreed to a two-year deal with Rondo, who led the league in assists this season at 11.7 per game. The second year of the contract is only partially guaranteed. You have to wonder if this can get Butler on board with what’s happening in this franchise.The Bulls and Butler agreed to a five-year deal last summer that pays him lot of money. At the same time, Butler has locked himself into a deal with a franchise that doesn’t resemble anything close to the team he re-signed with during that negotiation process. Rose being gone makes sense. There were issues with personalities on the team, he doesn’t look anything close to the player who won the MVP in 2011, and you had to avoid getting trapped by the possibility of re-signing the hometown name to a big deal if he couldn’t justify it with his play.
The Bulls are also losing Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah this summer, but the acquisition of Lopez on a cheaper deal at least lessens the blow of those veteran departures. But the addition of Rondo and not being able to make progress with more expensive, better options in the free agent market will be a tough sell to Butler. The move is likely all about the Bulls maintaining cap flexibility moving forward. They aren’t over-committing to future deals and can possibly make a run later. But a wasted year is a wasted year for Butler no matter how you slice it.
That’s what this next season is shaping up to be in Chicago; Rondo putting up cool individual stats for a bad team. He averaged a double-double with points and assists last year. He gets steals but he doesn’t play a lick of defense. And he’s not the veteran voice you need in a locker room that was so contentious this past season under Fred Hoiberg.
It may be unfair to compare the two situations, but the Bulls were frustrated with Hoiberg and each other last season while the Sacramento Kings were frustrated with George Karl and their own locker room issues. Rondo didn’t solve those problems in Sacramento. Maybe it’ll be less of an issue with a more mild-mannered coach in Hoiberg and star in Butler than the Karl-DeMarcus Cousins combination.
But you’re still adding potential lighter fluid to what’s quickly becoming a dumpster fire. Rondo is a familiar name and he’ll get assists. Management will sell it as helping the team in the short-term while maintaining flexibility. That can work with fans buying tickets, but will that work for Butler when the entire defense is focusing in on him and daring his inferior teammates to beat them? Will Butler feel like he’s wasted two seasons since his new contract began and start looking for a way out?
Should the Bulls just blow up the whole thing and do what they probably should’ve accomplished around the draft, which is to say move Butler for a bunch of assets that can accelerate the rebuilding process? Rondo is not the player to save the Bulls, not by a long shot. Getting him is not the move to assure Butler that the future is in good hands either.
Denzel Valentine | SG, Michigan StateHeight: 6-5 Weight: 220Yeah there are the knee questions about Valentine. Maybe he won’t be valuable after a certain while due to injury. But even if the knees eventually do give out-no certain bet- Valentine will be terrific in Fred Hoiberg’s offense as a wing that can move the ball and shoot it at a high level from deep. He’ll also help the team transition from the Derrick Rose era due to his ability to create looks for others.