Bulls beat Cavs, Wade “collects” on bet with James from World Series

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LeBron James wasn’t holding back.Cleveland’s superstar had plenty to say after the Cavaliers gave up 78 points in the paint on the way to another loss. The condensed version was this: It’s time to start playing like a championship team again.Jimmy Butler scored 26 points, Dwyane Wade had 24 and the Bulls beat James and the slumping Cavaliers 111-105 on Friday night.Taj Gibson added a season-high 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls. Rajon Rondo had 15 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds as the balanced Bulls handed the Cavaliers their third straight loss.

”We got to get out of the honeymoon stage,” James said. ”You got to play the game, the right way. We’ve got to battle every night like we ain’t won nothing. Last year is last year. After ring night is over with, now it’s a new season and everybody is gunning for us every night and we have to understand that. The honeymoon stage is over. It’s time to play some real ball and be physical, especially in the trenches. Giving up 78 points (in the paint) is ridiculous. We’ve got to man up. Everybody.”

James manned up to the tune of 27 points and 13 assists, a championship-level performance on a night when he showed up dressed as a World Series champion: He arrived at the arena in a Cubs uniform to honor a World Series bet with buddy Wade.Kyrie Irving added 20 points and eight assists, but the Cavaliers matched their longest losing streak in a year.The Bulls dominated Cleveland 78-60 in the paint, outrebounded the Cavaliers 49-33 and came out on top despite shooting 3 of 18 on 3-pointers. It was a big turnaround for the Bulls coming off a loss to the Lakers.

”I think we know what we’re capable of if we play basketball the right way and do what we’re supposed to do,” Butler said.

The Bulls used a strong third quarter to turn a one-point halftime deficit into an 88-80 lead. And they withstood several pushes in the fourth to knock off the defending NBA champions.Kevin Love nailed a 3 to cut the lead to 103-99 with about 4 minutes left, but the Bulls hung on.Wade drove for a layup to make it 107-101 with 2:39 remaining. Nikola Mirotic then stole the ball from James, leading to a putback basket for Wade.Mirotic came up with another big play when he blocked a 3 by Irving with 1:11 left to cause a shot-clock violation.James clearly wasn’t thrilled about having to wear a Cubs uniform after he rooted hard for his hometown Cleveland Indians in the World Series. But he was a man of his word, honoring the wager he made with Wade, his good friend and former Miami Heat teammate.James wore a No. 23 Cubs jersey with his last name stitched across the back, a Cubs hat partially covered by a Cubbie-blue hoodie, pinstripe pants and long baseball socks. James’ uniform even had the 2016 World Series champions shoulder patch.

”I actually thought he looked good,” said Wade, who was waiting for James when he arrived at the arena and took a picture of his ex-teammate. ”He actually did look like a baseball player.”

The two hugged before tipoff and had some playful moments during the game.James patted Wade on the backside as they ran down the court together after he hit a tough fadeaway jumper over his pal in the third quarter. Wade returned the favor after burying a 3 in James’ face moments later.

NOTES—G/F Mike Dunleavy Jr. missed his second consecutive game because of a concussion…Rondo’s triple-double was his first with the Bulls and the 29th of his career. … Butler has 12 straight games with 20 or more points. … With the Bulls playing four times in five days, coach Fred Hoiberg said Wade won’t travel to Dallas for Saturday’s game. … Hoiberg said F Doug McDermott (concussion) could be cleared for contact shortly and might practice with the D-League’s Windy City Bulls…..The Bulls visit Dallas on Saturday.

Cutler’s season officially over–surgery Saturday

Jay Cutler’s 2016 season is now officially over, and it seems very likely that his career with the Bears is over as well.On Thursday the team announced Cutler would miss the remainder of the year and undergo surgery on a torn labrum, which will result in him being placed on injured reserve.Matt Barkley is the guy moving forward for the Bears, who are going nowhere fast at 2-9 and host the 1-10 49ers on Sunday in a game that has implications for positioning near the top of the 2017 NFL Draft.There’s a very good chance that Cutler is no longer with the Bears next year. The dead money on his contract drops from $19 million — which made him essentially uncuttable coming into the year — to $2 million, which makes him imminently cuttable, especially when his cap hit is $16 million.It’s entirely possible that Cutler remains the Bear’s the best available option in 2017, even at a pretty high price, given what’s considered a weak QB class in the draft. There could be some big names in free agency, like Kirk Cousins, but it’s not guaranteed.John Fox is no guarantee to be around next year, either, and a new coach could potentially favor Cutler. We’ll assume it won’t be Josh McDaniels, who originally traded Cutler to the Bears in the first place.Assuming that, there are some pretty solid landing spots for the former first-round pick, who will have his pick of teams and will likely be looking for a would-be contender. The Browns and 49ers need a quarterback but won’t want to pay Cutler and Cutler won’t want to play there.The team he’s likely most interested in won’t have any competition at the quarterback position. This is where the Dolphins get tricky.Sponsored By Lowe’s Make Your Home Happy Find quality appliances, paint, patio furniture, tools, flooring, hardware and more for all your home improvement needs at Lowe’s.He’ll need an offensive coordinator or head coach who empowers him and is someone either he’s worked with previously or someone willing to let him be Jay. Again, the Dolphins get tricky.Here are seven candidates: With some help from colleague Sean Wagner-McGough, who broke down four options previously for Cutler, here’s a list of seven teams that could be options for the grizzled veteran, from least to most likely.

Hossa does it again as Blackhawks edge Devils in OT

Marian Hossa scored his team-leading 12th goal through a screen at 1:31 of overtime to lift the Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.Hossa’s shot through traffic from high in the slot beat Cory Schneider on the glove side, moments after New Jersey’s Mike Cammalleri hit the post on a prime chance against Corey Crawford.New Jersey’s Travis Zajac scored his third goal of the game at 8:49 of the third to tie it 3-all after scores by Artem Anisimov and Niklas Hjalmarsson late in the second period had put the Blackhawks ahead.Marcus Kruger also connected for the Western Conference-leading Hawks to end a 22-game drought as the Blackhawks won their second straight and played beyond regulation for third consecutive time. They are 3-0-1 in their last four.The Devils have dropped four straight (0-2-2).Zajac completed his second career hat trick from the low edge of the left circle after taking a slick cross-ice pass from Cammalleri. He fired into a wide open net before Crawford could react.Zajac, who had a two-goal game on Oct. 25 against Arizona, has eight goals this season.Crawford finished with 30 saves, Schneider made 29.The Blackhawks played without captain Jonathan Toews, who missed his fourth straight game due to a possible consussion. The 28-year-old center has four goals and eight assists in 21 games.New Jersey forward John Quenneville, the 20-year-old second cousin of Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, made his NHL debut. John Quenneville was the Devils’ first-round draft pick, 30th overall, in 2014.Anisimov tied it 2-2 when he drove to the net and backhanded in a loose rebound. Schneider made a pad save in Anisimov’s initial tip-in attempt of Duncan Keith’s shot from the point.Hjalmarrson put the Hawks in front for the first time, 3-2, with 1:35 left in the second on a fluttering screened shot from high in the slot.

NOTES—New Jersey acquired the 25-year-old Hall in a trade from Edmonton last June. He had five goals and seven assists heading into Thursday night. . Anisimov appeared to be at 100 percent, despite limping off the ice in the third period of Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout win over Florida after Keith’s shot hit the inside of his lower right leg. …. The Hawks sat out F Jordin Tootoo and D Gustav Forsling…..The Blackhawks visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon

Bulls and Lakers in a STINK-A-THON as Bulls lose by 6.

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The Los Angeles Lakers needed a basket, and Julius Randle wanted the ball.Coach Luke Walton loved the whole thing.”If it’s a one-on-one situation with space, we feel very confident that he’ll win that matchup,” Walton said.Got it done in a big moment Wednesday night.Randle made a strong move against Nikola Mirotic for a tiebreaking layup with 45.1 seconds left, and the Lakers held off the Bulls for a gritty 96-90 victory.Randle had 13 points and matched a career high with 20 rebounds as Los Angeles bounced back from a 105-88 loss at New Orleans on Tuesday night. Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points apiece, and Larry Nance Jr. finished with 12 points and 11 boards.

”Our guys just played hard, stayed mentally locked in,” Randle said.

Randle’s drive and layup gave Los Angeles a 92-90 lead. After Jimmy Butler missed on the other side for the Bulls, Williams went 1 for 2 at the line with 20 seconds to go.Butler then missed another 3 and Randle and Nance combined for three foul shots to help Los Angeles hold on.

”Our guys have proven that when their backs are against the wall they can step up for a challenge,” Walton said. ”They did it tonight. That’s a great win against a very talented team.”

Butler had 22 points on 4-of-18 shooting for the Bulls, who were hoping to build on a 4-2 road trip. Dwyane Wade, who was listed as doubtful after getting some dental work on Tuesday, scored 17 points, and Robin Lopez finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and a career-high eight blocked shots.

”It was an ugly game,” Wade said. ”We have to find a way to win those games. No excuses.”

The Bulls used 40 points from Butler to beat the Lakers 118-110 in Los Angeles on Nov. 20. But the Lakers held the Bulls to 35.2 percent shooting in the rematch and enjoyed a 60-46 rebounding advantage.

”I think the missed shots definitely affected us,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. ”You can’t let that happen. That and rebounding has to be your constant.”

It was an impressive response from Los Angeles after the team announced before the game that Nick Young strained his right calf muscle in Tuesday night’s loss to the Pelicans, sidelining the guard for two to four weeks.The Lakers also were without guard D’Angelo Russell, who missed his sixth straight game due to left knee sorenes.

The Bulls led by as many as 14 in the first quarter before settling for a 28-17 advantage after one. But the Lakers rallied in the second and it was tied at 47 at the break.

”We stopped rebounding. We stopped getting to loose balls. A lot of stuff,” Butler said. ”It changed in their favor and they caught us slipping.”

Randle leads the team with five double-doubles this season. He has 39 double-doubles in 99 career games. … It was Los Angeles’ first win at the United Center since a 96-87 victory on Dec. 15, 2009. It had dropped five in a row in Chicago. … The Lakers committed 24 turnovers, leading to 26 points for the Bulls.Doug McDermott (concussion protocol) missed his seventh consecutive game. … Butler has scored 20 or more points in his last 11 games, setting a career high. His previous best was six in a row. … The Bulls dropped to 8-1 this season when its opponent scores fewer than 100 points. … The Bulls matched a season high with 15 steals.Play another back-to-back when they visit Toronto on Friday night and Memphis on Saturday night. Host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, and LeBron James pays up after he lost his bet with buddy Wade over the World Series. James is expected to wear a Cubs uniform before the game.


AFC GAMES—Den over JAX, Mia over BALT, OAK over Buff


INT CONF GAMES—ATL over K.City, N.ENG over LA Rams, CIN over Phil, SD over T.Bay,NY Giants over PITT

SUN NIGHJT—SEAT pver Car,Indy over NYJ,

NFC NORTH GAMES—Dal over MINN, N.ORL over Det, GB over Houston, and

BEARS over S.Fran



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CHAMPAIGN—Malcolm Hill made sure Illinois didn’t blow another double-digit lead on Tuesday night in an 88-74 win over North Carolina State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.The senior scored 22 points to lead an Illini team that bounced back following a 0-3 Thanksgiving week.When Illinois showed signs of faltering like it had in the past, Hill and other role players like Tracy Abrams (17 points) helped secure the win.

”Really proud of the way the guys responded,” Illinois coach John Groce said. ”We ratcheted it up to another level (in the second half).”

Illinois (5-3) shot 30 of 60 from the field for 50 percent to outlast N.C. State in what was a tightly contested game in which neither team had a double-digit lead until the Illini led 67-57 with about eight minutes left.The Wolfpack held a 33-32 edge at the half but Illinois came out firing, shooting 68 percent in the second half and creating large leads that the Wolfpack could not overcome.The Illini bench outscored the Wolfpack’s 39-22 and was led by Leron Black, who scored 15 points and brought in eight rebounds.Black has only played the last three games before Tuesday (suspension) and noted the adaptation it takes to understand how each player performs.

”We just kind of come together each game. We get used to playing with each other,” Black said. ”We’re just getting better as a team and getting more chemistry.”

Torin Dorn scored 17 points to lead N.C. State (5-2), which shot 53 percent from the field.Despite the hot shooting, the Wolfpack committed 19 turnovers, which prevented the offense to consistently produce and resulted in 17 Illinois points.

”The game was experienced versus inexperienced,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. ”I thought we played like an inexperienced team.”

The Illini got a much-needed win against a respectable ACC opponent after a disastrous Thanksgiving week. Illinois will need to win most if not all of the remaining nonconference games if it wants to prove it’s a NCAA Tournament team.North Carolina State: Time will tell whether this was a respectable loss. The Wolfpack will have a relatively easy path to the start of conference play.Malcolm Hill showed his potential in the NBA with a drive down the lane in the second half that left all the North Carolina State players standing still. When asked about the move, Hill said strength coach Adam Fletcher will probably tell him he should’ve dunked it.”When we play like that, we can compete against any team.” Tracy Abrams. Illinois travels to Miami on Saturday where it will play VCU in the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

Panik carries Hawks to 2-1 Shootout win over Panthers


Richard Panik raised his stick in the air with his left hand as he skated away from a defeated Roberto Luongo.At long last, his slump was over.Panik scored in regulation and then had the deciding goal in a shootout, helping the visitors Blackhawks beat Florida 2-1 on Tuesday night in the Panthers’ first game since Tom Rowe took over as interim coach.Artemi Panarin also scored in the tiebreaker and Corey Crawford matched a season high with 38 saves in the Hawks first home game in 16 days. The Blackhawks went 3-3-1 on their annual circus trip.

”That was a long trip. We were excited to come back home,” Crawford said.

Panarin beat Luongo with a slick backhand in the second round. After Aleksander Barkov was stopped by Crawford at the other end, Panik converted his chance with a well-placed wrist shot past Luongo on the glove side.

”I’m really grateful for Corey being behind us,” Panarin said through a translator. ”If it weren’t for him, the last couple games would have turned out differently. We’re lucky to have him.”

Florida (11-10-2) returned to the ice for the first time since coach Gerard Gallant was fired after a 3-2 loss at Carolina on Sunday night. Jaromir Jagr scored in the third period and Luongo made 32 saves, but the Panthers lost for the third time in four games.

”We got back to getting pucks to the net, getting 39 shots against a heck of a hockey club,” said Rowe, who was serving as Florida’s general manager at the time of the coaching change. ”So a lot of positives and a lot to build on after tonight.”

The Blackhawks (15-6-3) played without captain Jonathan Toews, who missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Fellow center Artem Anisimov left in the third after teammate Duncan Keith’s shot went off the inside of his lower right leg.

”We’ll see how he is. He seemed to be OK,” coach Joel Quenneville said. ”We’ll know more tomorrow.”

The Blackhawks carried a 1-0 lead into the third, but the Panthers made the most of 69 seconds of leftover power-play time from Niklas Hjalmarsson’s second-period hooking penalty. Jonathan Marchessault’s centering pass went off Keith, and Jagr poked it in for his fourth of the season and No. 753 for his career.Florida had a chance to grab the lead when Crawford lost his stick after he was tripped by teammate Vinnie Hinostroza. But the goalie slid over in time to stop a shot from Derek MacKenzie and then fell on the puck after it went off the post.

Crawford also made a nice right pad save on Mark Pysyk with 8:09 to go, and stopped Jagr in front in the final minute.”I thought Jagr was unreal,” Rowe said. ”In this building with the speed they come at you with, and Jags was really unbelievable down low.”

Florida had 100 seconds of power-play time in overtime, but the Hawks killed it off. Luongo turned away two nice moves by Patrick Kane, and Crawford stopped Aaron Ekblad in the final seconds of OT.It was a really nice night for each goaltender, right from the start.Luongo got over to stop Panarin, and Crawford made a great pad save on Barkov before the Blackhawks jumped in front in the first. Panik got loose for a breakaway and slipped a backhand by Luongo for his seventh goal with 2:10 left in the period.It was Panik’s first goal since Oct. 22, stopping a 17-game drought. The winger had no points and a minus-2 rating in his previous 13 games.”(Dennis) Rasmussen flipped it over and the D-man touched it,” Panik said. ”So I had a breakaway and a nice score. A goal helps you with your confidence.”

The Panthers and Blackhawks each killed off a penalty during a scoreless second. Crawford also made a flashy glove save on a big drive by Keith Yandle, and Luongo stopped a long shot by Gustav Forsling. Jagr played in his 1,652nd game, passing Chris Chelios and moving into a tie with Mark Recchi for fourth on the NHL’s career list. … Toews did not participate in the morning skate, and Quenneville said he is questionable for Thursday night’s game against New Jersey. … Chicago D Brian Campbell played his first game against Florida since he left the Panthers for a one-year deal with the Blackhawks during free agency.The Blackhawks host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

NU beats Wake Forest in ACC-BIG TEN Challenge.

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EVANSTON—Bryant McIntosh scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half to lead Northwestern to a 65-58 victory over Wake Forest on Monday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.McIntosh struggled in the first half on 2-of-8 shooting, but caught fire midway through the second, hitting 8-for-8 from the field for 19 points after the 12:02 mark. His 3 with 1:02 left gave the Wildcats (5-2) a 61-56 lead.John Collins had 12 points and 16 rebounds and Keyshawn Woods added 12 points for Wake Forest (5-2).Woods’ 3 cut the Northwestern lead to 61-58 with with 30.3 seconds left, but Sanjay Lumpkin scored four straight points to finish the game off for the Wildcats.Scottie Lindsey added 12 points and Lumpkin finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for NU.McIntosh had to leave the game early in the second half after taking a shot to the face. After being tended to on the sideline he returned to ignite a 6-0 Northwestern run.Trailing 42-38, McIntosh scored the game’s next six points to give the Wildcats a 44-42 lead with 11:01 in the second half. The Demon Deacons began a stretch on Monday where they play four of their five opponents on the opposing team’s home court. After not being able to close out Notre Dame in the final seconds last week, the Wildcats bounced back with a win over another power five opponent. Last week, they defeated Texas, which was ranked No. 22 at the time.Northwestern faces DePaul on Saturday. The Wildcats defeated the Blue Demons on the road in overtime last season.

Barkley, not bad ,but too many dropped passes prevent a come from behind win for the Bears against Tennessee.

The Bears got some good QB play in Matt Barkley’s first NFL start. After a mostly sluggesh first half, the Rookie from USC hit on two TD passes in the fourth quarter, to go with one that had  given the Bears a brief 7-0 lead, but a last minute effort fell short when Barkey’s pass on 4th and goal from the Tennessee 7, fell incomplete and the Bears(2-9)frel short 27-21 before a half empty Soldier Field.Too many dropped passes, including one by Marquis Wilson in the end zone(which could have put the Bears ahead in the last half minute)did the Home team in. The Titans, scored 27 straight points to take a seemingly safe 27-7 lead, but when the Bears forced the Visitors into two field goals, that kept the door open. The Titans had little or no pass rush on Barkley and he took advantage. Marc Mariotta tossed 3 TD passes for the Titans. The question is now, will Barkley start next week against the once victorious San Francisco 49ers, or could Jay Cutler be a surprise starter since John Fox has refused to rule the Bears starter out for the season.


Cats rout Illini, become Bowl eligible and keep Land of Lincoln Trophy.

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

EVANSTON—Justin Jackson ran his way into the Northwestern record books in just three seasons and could finish his career as the school’s all-time leading rusher.Still, he is content right now to share the running back position with emerging newcomer John Moten.Jackson rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns, Moten added 128 yards and two touchdowns and Northwestern became bowl eligible with a 42-21 victory over Illinois on Saturday.

”It’s cool,” Jackson said. ”I think John’s come a long way. He’s obviously shown the player he can be. It’s pretty exciting.”

Clayton Thorson completed 13 of 20 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown as the Wildcats improved to 6-6 and 5-4 in the Big Ten.

”I’m excited that I get one more opportunity to be with them on the field in a game,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

”The first couple of weeks certainly didn’t look good, but it’s a credit to the seniors we were able to come back.”

Wes Lunt completed 28 of 54 passes for 377 yards and two touchdowns (with one interception) for Illinois (3-9, 2-7), which closed out its first season under coach Lovie Smith with three straight losses.

”We have an idea of what we need to do and what direction we need to go in all areas,” Smith said. ”This is the start. You don’t like to be in this situation, but that’s normally how it happens.”

After trailing 21-0, Illinois rallied for two touchdowns to pull within 21-14 at halftime and appeared headed for a game-tying score on its first possession of the second half when things fell apart.First, running back Reggie Corbin fumbled at the 8-yard line and safety Godwin Igwebuike recovered to give the ball – and momentum – back to Northwestern.Two plays later, Illinois safety Stanley Green was ejected after a targeting penalty for a hit on wide receiver Flynn Nagel. The 15-yard penalty (on top of the 10-yard completion) advanced the ball to the NU 46. Jackson then broke a 54-yard scoring run to make it 28-14 with 9:24 remaining in the third quarter.Leading 35-21 early in the fourth quarter, NU put the game away on a 4-yard TD run by Jackson. The score was set up by a 66-yard interception return by Montre Hartage to the 5.The Illini’s 28 first-time starters this season heading into Saturday were the most in the nation, which is a sign the program is in the early stages of a rebuilding plan. To have any chance of flipping the record next season, more consistent offensive production is a must. Lunt’s 19-yard TD pass to Malik Turner in the second was the Illini’s first TD in nine quarters.Although it’s a far cry from last year’s 10 wins, winning two of the final three games to become bowl eligible is an accomplishment for a program that doesn’t take winning for granted – especially after losing to Western Michigan and Illinois State to start the season.Jackson moved into second place on NU’s all-time rushing list – passing Darnell Autry (3,793) and Tyrell Sutton (3,886) – with 3,905 yards. Jackson, who has 27 career rushing TDs, trails only Damien Anderson (4,485).

”It’s pretty cool,” Jackson said. ”There’s obviously a history of good running backs coming through here. I’m just glad we could get a win on a day like this.”

Moten, a redshirt freshman, set the tone with two first-quarter touchdowns, including a 43-yarder. Jackson answered with three of his own, including a mesmerizing 54-yarder.He said his long run was aided by watching. ”Sometimes you can see stuff from the sidelines you don’t necessarily see on the field,” he said. ”I saw some things from his long runs and applied it when I was on the field.”

NOTES—The Illini’s season is over….Northwestern’s regular season is over, but the Wildcats will make a second straight bowl appearance