<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sat, 23 May 2015 10:23:05 -0500 Sat, 23 May 2015 10:23:05 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Hawks Recall van Riemsdyk ]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 13:45:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*126/456929468.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks have been dealing with issues on their blue line throughout the postseason, but they finally got some good news on Friday as the team recalled defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk from the Rockford IceHogs.

Van Riemsdyk, who was out with a broken kneecap he suffered playing for the Blackhawks in November, suffered a second setback in March when he injured his wrist on a rehab assignment. That injury required surgery, and he was originally given an eight week timetable to return. It’s been around six weeks since the surgery, but he was out on the ice skating with the team during an optional workout on Friday.

The defenseman was having a solid rookie season before the two injuries robbed him of more playing time, picking up an assist in 18 games with the Blackhawks earlier in the year. He mostly played third defensive pairing minutes, occasionally subbing in alongside Niklas Hjalmarsson as well.

While head coach Joel Quenneville said that van Riemsdyk will not be available to the Hawks in Game 4 Saturday night, he didn’t rule him out for the remainder of the series. Even still, it seems highly unlikely that the Blackhawks would insert him back into the lineup at this stage, but if they sustain another injury on their blue line, they may feel as though they have no other course of action.

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<![CDATA[Kruger Takes No Face-Offs in Game 3, Raises Injury Concerns]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 13:43:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/183*120/474031896.jpg

There is plenty to take from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss against the Anaheim Ducks Thursday night, but one thing that isn’t getting enough attention is the fact that Marcus Kruger played almost no role in the outcome of the game.

Out of the 12 forwards that the Blackhawks dressed on Thursday, Kruger had the second-lowest ice time, skating for just under nine minutes in the game. He didn’t register a single shot on goal in the game, registered only one shot block, and didn’t take any face-offs as the Blackhawks dropped a home game for the first time this postseason.

With Antoine Vermette out of the lineup, it’s even more puzzling that Kruger played such a limited role in the Hawks’ loss. Joakim Nordstrom and Andrew Desjardins spent a lot of time playing center in the contest, and even as he struggled in his first game back in the position in several weeks, Andrew Shaw also saw plenty of action up the middle of the ice.

Of course Quenneville isn’t going to acknowledge if a player is injured at this stage of the postseason, but one has to wonder if that’s part of the reason Kruger was limited in the game. If a center isn’t taking face-offs, it usually means that he’s dealing with some type of arm injury, and even though he did score the game-winning goal on Tuesday night in Game 2, Kruger only took seven face-offs in a game that lasted for nearly six periods.

He did take a hellacious hit in the first period of that game courtesy of Clayton Stoner, so there is a very real possibility that Kruger injured himself on that play and couldn’t take face-offs. If that is an issue that’s going to carry over into games for the rest of this series, the Blackhawks are certainly facing a tough obstacle as they try to come back and advance to the Stanley Cup Final.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Police Seek Criminal Charges After Basketball Brawl]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 10:30:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_basketball_generic2.jpg

Griffith police have sought criminal charges against players connected to a season-ending on-court basketball brawl in February.

The police department announced Thursday that it recommended the charges to the Lake County prosecutor’s office “after a thorough investigation and proposals for an alternative resolution were unsuccessful.”

“We have been in contact with representatives in the criminal justice system, the schools and attorneys in an effort to offer a productive and educational half-day experience for the individuals involved and are disappointed that this proposition was rejected,” Griffith Police Chief Greg Mance said in a statement. “Consequently, I reviewed and analyzed all of the evidence available and moved forward with providing the Prosecutor’s Office with the charges that fit the evidence in the case. The Prosecutor’s Office now decides whether it will move forward with the charges by filing with the court what it deems appropriate.”

In a joint statement, attorneys for both schools said they were told no charges would be brought against the student-athletes after the Feb. 7 incident.

“We were advised by the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office that no charges would be brought against any of the student-athletes involved in the February 7, 2015, incident, which was communicated to the Chief of Police in Griffith,” Rhett Tauber, an attorney for Griffith High School, and Michael Jasaitis, an attorney for Hammond High School, said in a statement. “Thus, upon that reliance, any alternative proposal became moot. Therefore, we are hopeful that the recommendations brought will be examined and rejected accordingly.”

The Northwest Indiana Times reports that while police did not name the people involved or the specific charges sought, the recommendation involves juveniles from both basketball teams and an adult.

The brawl has been a source of criticism for both teams, with the Indiana High School Athletic Association canceling the remainder of their basketball seasons.

The governing body is also suspending the schools from participating in the boys state basketball tournament and directed that Sectional 17, hosted by Hammond Gavit, be reconfigured as a five-team tournament. The two schools were also told to pay a $500 forfeiture fee to each hosting school remaining on their schedules for away games.
 


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<![CDATA[Did Coach Q's Line Up Changes Hurt?]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 13:02:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ducks-Blackhawks-21-May-2015.jpg

In what could be called their most disappointing loss of the season, the Chicago Blackhawks dropped a 2-1 decision to the Anaheim Ducks Thursday night, falling behind by a 2-1 margin in the Western Conference Final.

Before the game even started, there was already reason for skepticism about the outcome as head coach Joel Quenneville made two late changes to the lineup. He benched Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette, who had formed a nice third line combination with Patrick Sharp, and inserted Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom into the lineup.

To say that the changes failed to have a positive impact would be an understatement. Andrew Shaw struggled at the center position for the Blackhawks, frequently skating out of position and showing none of the flash that he had in the previous games at the winger spot. Meanwhile, Versteeg looked rusty as he skated around the ice and failed to convert on several scoring chances, and Nordstrom made a key tactical error as his poor defense led to the second Anaheim goal late in the second period.

When asked after the game about why he had made the decision, Quenneville said that he wanted to get some “fresh legs” in the lineup, but that explanation isn’t sitting right with some Hawks fans. Why mess with the lineup that has won five out of six games and had just evened up this series on Tuesday night?

Since coaches in the sports world are notorious for giving vague and occasionally misleading answers, we’re going to run down some of the potential explanations for why Quenneville did what he did as we try to piece together the Game 3 loss.

He Genuinely Believes His “Fresh Legs” Sentiment

This explanation is not a satisfactory one on just about any level. Why replace the best face-off taker in the lineup and a player who barely cracks 10 minutes of ice time a game with two players who are going to be unquestionably rusty and haven’t practiced as full members of the lineup in weeks?

He is Unsatisfied With Teravainen and Vermette’s Offensive Performance

This has a bit more truth to it, but still raises questions about what exactly Quenneville expects from the duo. After all, having these two players in the lineup allows Patrick Sharp to have some really high quality linemates, and it also enables Andrew Shaw to stay in the winger spot, where he has looked truly outstanding in the first two games of this series.

He Wanted to Give Versteeg a Chance to Earn His Spot Back

This explanation feels like we’re getting closer to the truth. Versteeg has been a security blanket for Quenneville at the forward spot all season long, and trying to inject him into the lineup when the coach can dictate matchups on home ice seems like something that the veteran Quenneville would be willing to do.

He’s Trying to Deal With an Injury to One or Both Players

This explanation is a definite possibility considering that the team is just coming off of a triple overtime victory. Vermette is the player more likely to have sustained an injury out of the two, and if Quenneville had to remove him from the lineup, there is a possibility that he views him as a security blanket for Teravainen, and therefore both had to go.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hendricks' 5-Hitter, Bryant's 2-Run Homer Carry Cubs Over Padres]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 22:39:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cubs-padres2.jpg

Kyle Hendricks pitched a five-hitter for his first career complete game and shutout, and Kris Bryant hit a two-run home run as the Chicago Cubs beat the San Diego Padres 3-0 on Thursday night to take two of three games.

Hendricks (1-1) struck out seven with no walks. Only one Padres baserunner advanced to second base.

Hendricks came in with six no-decisions in seven starts, including one against San Diego at Wrigley Field on April 18.

Bryant homered to straightaway center field on the seventh pitch of the game by Odrisamer Despaigne (2-3). Dexter Fowler was aboard on a walk for Bryant's fifth homer.

Bryant made his big league debut on April 17 against the Padres at Wrigley Field. He starred at the University of San Diego before the Cubs took him with the second pick overall in the 2013 amateur draft.

Bryant won the Golden Spikes award in 2013, when his 31 homers were the most in a season since toned-down composite bats replaced aluminum bats in 2011.

Bryant's parents, Sue and Mike, made the trip from Las Vegas for all three games.

Addison Russell homered leading off the seventh off Dale Thayer, his third.

Despaigne allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked two.



Photo Credit: Denis Poroy, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks Beat Blackhawks 2-1 ]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 22:44:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/blackhawks-ducks-G3-2.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks seemed to leave their offensive punch in Anaheim on Thursday night as the team mustered just one goal in a 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. 

Simon Despres scored late in the second period on what was ultimately the winning goal for the Ducks as they grab a 2-1 series lead. Patrick Kane scored the lone goal of the game for the Blackhawks as they lost for the first time on home ice in this postseason. 

The Blackhawks started out the game with a couple of power plays, but they were unable to get anything good going on either of them as the Ducks pushed hard on the forecheck. Ultimately, that pressure paid off as Marian Hossa was sent off, and Patrick Maroon scored on the ensuing Ducks’ power play to give his team a 1-0 lead.

Despite the goal, the Ducks couldn’t stay out of trouble, and Jakob Silfverberg was sent off after high sticking Jonathan Toews in the offensive zone. The Blackhawks couldn’t take advantage of the four minute double-minor penalty however, and the Ducks retained their lead.

It looked as though the Hawks would head into the intermission trailing, but Patrick Kane had other ideas. Skating into the middle of the offensive zone, Kane found himself all alone after two different Ducks defenders flew past him, and the talented winger fired a no-look backhanded shot into the cage past Frederik Andersen to tie the game at 1-1 after 20 minutes of action.

Through the first three minutes of the second period, the Ducks attacked relentlessly, racking up seven shots in that short span. Andrew Cogliano had a fantastic scoring chance to cap off the furious rally, but Corey Crawford stopped it to keep the game tied.

After that initial onslaught, the Blackhawks did a nice job of dialing back the pressure a bit, and they started to assert themselves a bit more. Kris Versteeg barely missed on a shot attempt after he somehow corralled a wayward pass from Andrew Shaw, and then Bryan Bickell was stoned on a short side chance against Andersen.

With just under a minute to go, the Ducks grabbed the lead back. Off of a face-off win by Ryan Getzlaf, the Ducks cycled the puck around the zone, and Simon Despres stayed in the face-off dot after pinching in from the point. He eventually got a pass over to him across the ice, and he one-timed a shot past a sliding Crawford to make it a 2-1 game with one period to go.  

In that third period, the Blackhawks got off to a sluggish start, but they finally starting make a push late in the frame. The Hawks' top line generated several chances, with Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa each getting good looks, and Kane got a tremendous look late in the game as he pushed through the Ducks' defense for a shot on goal. The puck ended up skipping just wide however, and the Ducks walked out of the United Center with a hard-fought victory. 

The Blackhawks will look to even the series up on Saturday night as they welcome the Ducks back to the United Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. local time, and the contest will air on NBC 5 Chicago. 



Photo Credit: Tasos Katopodis, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Lakers Express Interest in Thibodeau ]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 16:47:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/205*120/Thibodeau_2014.jpg

The Chicago Bulls haven’t decided whether or not to part ways with head coach Tom Thibodeau after their second round loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but there could be at least one team willing to discuss acquiring the coach from the Bulls.

That team, according to a report from Jordan Schultz of Huffington Post and Bleacher Report, is the Los Angeles Lakers.

The team is currently coached by Byron Scott, but with the number two overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft and a potential free agent bonanza coming up this offseason, the team could be looking for a more proven coach to take the reins.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, there could be a couple of items blocking such a move from happening. For starters, Lakers G.M. Mitch Kupchak denied that interest on Thursday, saying that he was getting ready to call Scott to assure him of his status with the team. There is also the matter of compensation, as it seems highly unlikely that the Lakers would part with enough to make it worth giving up the amount necessary to pry Thibodeau away from the Bulls.

At any rate, there are still other teams besides the Lakers that could be interested in Thibodeau’s services.

The New Orleans Pelicans and Orlando Magic both have coaching vacancies and could potentially offer Thibodeau some control of player personnel decisions, and with Anthony Davis serving as a building block in the Big Easy and the Magic holding some tremendous young talent, there is plenty to entice him if he wants to leave Chicago.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kane Looks to Rebound After Rough Stretch]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 12:05:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/474027552.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks returned from southern California with a much-needed series split against the Anaheim Ducks, but they have yet to get any meaningful production from arguably their most important player as the series shifts to the Windy City.

That’s because winger Patrick Kane has been bogged down through the first two games by numerous factors. So far in the series, Kane has racked up a minus-19 Corsi rating for the Blackhawks, which ranks as the worst on the team. He has managed seven shots on goal so far in the series, but he also has a minus-3 rating and has spent far too much of his time pinned in the defensive zone.

One of the reasons for Kane’s lack of success has been Bryan Bickell’s lack of production alongside him. Normally when Kane is out there with the veteran forward, Bickell is expected to use his physicality to clear out space on the ice to allow the speedy Kane to find scoring areas. Bickell has registered plenty of hits in this series with 15 to his credit, but that hasn’t translated into offense, as Bickell’s poor possession numbers have weighed Kane down like a boat anchor.

Another factor limiting Kane has been the matchups he’s had to play against. While Jonathan Toews has been busy battling the Ryan Kesler line and Marcus Kruger has been faced with the prospect of tangling with the Ryan Getzlaf line, Kane has been stuck playing against the Ducks’ third line more often than not in this series. They aren’t an offensively impressive group normally, but Nate Thompson has looked really solid in this series and Kyle Palmieri and Andrew Cogliano have each had their fair share of offensive punch thus far.

Combining that line’s offensive success against the Kane line and the physical toll exacted by being out against that line, it’s clear that Joel Quenneville has to do something to help his winger get kick-started in this postseason. His normal remedy of putting Kane with Toews isn’t really feasible at this point, considering the amount of success that the top line is having, but there are several other alternatives that he can explore.

First and foremost on that list is to try to get Kane more favorable matchups on the ice. Putting him out against either the Kesler line or the Ducks’ fourth line would provide Kane with a bit more breathing room, and he would likely succeed against those less defensively-stout groups.

Another alternative would be to shuffle up the line combinations. It isn’t an ideal circumstance to have to break up either the top line or the third line at this point, but getting Kane some time with Brandon Saad or Patrick Sharp on his wing could be just what the doctor ordered as he looks to break out of his scoring funk.

The final option would be to reconstitute the second line entirely, but it’s not the most palatable of options when discussing who should replace Bickell. That would likely mean a return for Kris Versteeg into the lineup, and the team has really played some great hockey without him. That change should rightly wait until after Game 3 when Bickell has had a chance to prove he can succeed when matchups are more favorable for him and his linemates.

Whatever Quenneville ends up doing, there really is no question that Kane has to get going in order for the Blackhawks to be successful. He is their best scorer and their primary offensive weapon, and he’s been rendered inert throughout this series. Game 3 is a golden opportunity for him to get his game kick-started, and all eyes will be on him when the puck drops at the United Center.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bryant Drives in Go-Ahead Run in Cubs Win Over Padres]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 00:28:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cubs-padres1.jpg

Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada struck out nine in 4 2-3 innings in his season debut and Kris Bryant drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 3-2 victory against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night.

Wada opened the season on the disabled list with a left groin strain and made six rehab starts. He struck out seven of the first nine Padres batters.

His only mistake was allowing a two-run homer to Justin Upton to straightaway center field to give the Padres a 2-1 lead with two outs in the fourth. It was his team-leading 11th, and Derek Norris was aboard on a one-out single.

The Cubs retook the lead in the fifth against Tyson Ross (2-4). Wada drew a leadoff walk and scored on Dexter Fowler's triple to right, just beating the relay throw by Jedd Gyorko. Fowler came in on Bryant's sac fly to left.

Wada allowed two runs and four hits.

Justin Grimm (1-0) got the win after pitching 1 1-3 scoreless innings. He struck out three and walked two. Hector Rondon pitched the ninth for his ninth save in 11 chances, striking out Abraham Almonte with a runner on third to end the game.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the first when Bryant singled with one out, advanced when Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch, stole third and scored on Starlin Castro's groundout.

Ross (2-4) allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings, struck out eight and walked three.



Photo Credit: Denis Poroy, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Crews Install New Scoreboards at Soldier Field]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 19:03:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/soldier-field-scoreboard-1.jpg The Chicago Bears say the new displays will have the best picture quality in the NFL.]]> <![CDATA[Top French Open Stars, and 1 Who Missed the List]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 12:28:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/thumb-458711872.jpg

NBC’s coverage of the 2015 French Open begins this Sunday, May 24, at 1 p.m. ET. Follow along for live opening-round coverage, and don't miss the the live Women’s Final on June 6 and the live Men’s Final on June 7.

TV SCHEDULE

Sunday, May 24 1 - 3:30 p.m. ET First round (LIVE)
Monday, May 25 12 - 3 p.m. (all) First round (LIVE ET)
Saturday, May 30 12 - 3 p.m. ET Third round (LIVE)
Sunday, May 31 12 - 3 p.m. ET Fourth round (LIVE)
Thursday, June 4 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (all)  Women's semifinals (LIVE ET)
Friday, June 5 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (all) Men's semifinals (LIVE ET)
Saturday, June 6 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. ET Women's final (LIVE)
Sunday, June 7 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. ET Men's final (LIVE)



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Blackhawks Play Longest Game in Team History Tuesday]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 11:49:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/183*120/474032386.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks have played in 17 overtime games over the past three postseasons, but Game 2 against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night Wednesday morning was noteworthy as it ended up being the longest game in team history.

The game, which at ended 116:12 was the 17th-longest in the history of the NHL, finally ended in the third overtime period as Marcus Kruger scooped up a rebound and pushed it past Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen to finish the game and tie the series at 1-1 as it heads back to Chicago.

The game eclipsed the previous Blackhawks team record for longest overtime game, surpassing a 1931 contest between the Hawks and Montreal Canadiens. That game also went to three overtimes, and it ended with 6:10 remaining in that period on a goal by Cy Wentworth as the Blackhawks won by a 3-2 margin.

The Blackhawks are on an interesting streak at the moment, as they have played in the NHL’s last four triple-overtime games. They played in one earlier this postseason when they beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 just one minute into the third overtime session on a Duncan Keith goal, and they also won Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final on Andrew Shaw’s double-deflection tally. They did lose a game during that stretch, falling in Game 1 of their first round series against the St. Louis Blues in 2014.

As for the Ducks, the game was only their second-longest affair, as they played in one of only four games in league history that ended up going to five overtimes. That game, which took place on April 24, 2003, was played against the Dallas Stars, and the Ducks won 4-3 on a goal by Petr Sykora.

Kruger ended up becoming the 10th member of the current Blackhawks to score an overtime winner in the postseason, but he still has a long way to go to get to the top of the list. Patrick Kane currently occupies that spot, with his four overtime winners ranking as the best total in team history.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Why Andrew Shaw's Head-Butt Goal Wasn't a Goal]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 10:36:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/164*120/474029526.jpg

Head-butting a hockey puck into the net isn’t a scoring strategy you typically see in hockey, but that’s exactly what Andrew Shaw did as the Hawks continued to battle the Anaheim Ducks in double overtime during Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.

While the team celebrated and fans cheered at the thought of the already-long game coming to an end with a Hawks win, the referees didn't.

The play was reviewed and the goal was overturned.

According to the NHL’s rulebook, the reason behind the no-goal call was Rule 78.5, which states a goal will be disallowed "when the puck has been directed, batted or thrown into the net by an attacking player other than with a stick."

This wasn't the first time that Shaw had been involved with a disallowed head-butt goal. In a junior league hockey game in 2011, former Ducks winger Devante Smith-Pelly used his head to knock a puck into the net, and it was eventually disallowed. Shaw happened to be playing for the opposing team that evening, so perhaps that's where he stole the idea from? 
 

At any rate, the call may have upset Chicago fans who were already up well beyond their bedtimes, but it appears rules are rules. The Hawks went on to win the game in triple overtime with a goal by Marcus Kruger.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks Give Fans Late-to-Work Excuse Note ]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 06:46:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/blackhawks-ducks-G2-3.jpg

Can you call in "hockey" to work? The Blackhawks say so. 

Following the Blackhawks' triple overtime win in Game 2 against the Anaheim Ducks, a game that is now the longest game in Hawks history, the team shared their latest excuse note for fans who stayed up late to watch the game. 

The note, signed by the Chicago Blakchawks, asks for employers and teachers to excuse fans from their "lateness" or "sleepiness" Wednesday.

"He/she was up too late celebrating the win," the note reads.

But fans won't have much time to recover. The Blackhawks will look to defend home ice when the series resumes at the United Center Thursday night. The puck will drop at 7:00 p.m.



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn, Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Curry's Daughter Steals the Show]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 20:38:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/0519-2015-RileyCurry.jpg

Few, if any, can steal the spotlight away from Steph Curry during this year's jaw-dropping, MVP season.

But 2-year-old Riley Curry did just that Tuesday night after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

Curry, who dropped 34 points en route to the 110-106 win, brought along his daughter to the post game press conference.

Riley instantly stole the spotlight, waving to the media and telling her All-Star dad to "be quiet" after he was talking "too loud."

At one point during the press conference, Riley got off Curry's lap and disappeared from the camera's view while her father fielded questions from reporters.

But moments later she re-appeared under the press table and again waved at the audience.

Riley Curry, you are the real MVP.

Visit NBC Bay Area's Warriors page for more team coverage.


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<![CDATA[Blackhawks Beat Ducks 3-2 ]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 01:15:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/blackhawks-ducks-G2-3.jpg

In the longest game in Chicago Blackhawks history, Marcus Kruger's goal in triple overtime lifted the team to a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final. 

The victory ties the series up at 1-1 as the scene shifts back to Chicago for Game 3. Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw each scored goals, and Corey Crawford made 60 saves as the Hawks knotted the series. 

For the second consecutive game, the Blackhawks got an early first period power play, but this time they were able to capitalize to take the early lead. Duncan Keith got the puck at the point after a quick cycle around the zone by the Blackhawks, and his shot was deflected by Andrew Shaw to beat Frederik Andersen and give Chicago a 1-0 lead.

The Blackhawks got another power play a few minutes later thanks to a Clayton Stoner infraction, and they scored again to take a 2-0 lead. On an odd play, Brad Richards fired a shot toward the net, and even though Marian Hossa deflected it just short of the goal line and seemed to push it back out of the cage, a Ducks defenseman slid into it and knocked it into the net to extend Chicago’s lead.

Undaunted, the Ducks pushed back really hard after the second Chicago goal, and they got the benefit of a lucky bounce to cut the Hawks’ lead to one. Andrew Cogliano stuck his skate out as a shot headed toward the Chicago net, and after the puck bounced off of Corey Crawford and Bryan Bickell, it slowly rolled across the goal line to make it a 2-1 game.

The Ducks continued to hammer away over the final few minutes of the period, with their fourth line generating some sterling chances and Ryan Getzlaf hammering a slap shot off of the crossbar. None of their shots found their way into the back of the net however, and Chicago held onto their lead after 20 minutes of action.

The Blackhawks ratcheted up the pressure early in the second period, but after the first few minutes it was all Anaheim. Ryan Kesler stole a puck from Johnny Oduya and fired in a quick shot, but Crawford made the save. Andrew Cogliano then had an opportunity that bounced off of Crawford and nearly deflected in off of Oduya, but the goaltender was able to smother it and keep the game tied.

With about two minutes remaining in the period, the Ducks finally capitalized on their pressure and tied the game up. Ryan Getzlaf got to a loose puck at the top of the face-off circle, and his shot was deflected in by Corey Perry to tie things up at 2-2.

By the time the second period came to an end, the Ducks had outshot the Blackhawks by a 17-1 margin over the final 13 minutes of play, but the game remained tied with one period to go.

The Blackhawks got an early 5-on-3 power play in the third period as Ryan Getzlaf was sent to the box, but they were unable to convert as couldn’t muster much offense. Patrick Kane then gave the Ducks a power play of their own shortly thereafter, but the Hawks’ penalty kill stood tall again and kept the game tied.

Over the final minutes of regulation, the Ducks got another power play thanks to a Marcus Kruger penalty for holding, but the Blackhawks once again killed it off. Brandon Saad did some great work to finish off the kill, and the game headed to overtime with both teams seeking to make a serious mark in the series.

The overtime period saw several good chances for both teams, but neither could convert as the game was forced into a second extra stanza. The Ducks had a power play thanks to a careless Niklas Hjalmarsson penalty, but the Hawks’ penalty kill was once again stout. Two other Anaheim shots found iron in the period as well, with Perry and Sami Vatanen each ringing shots off the post. No shot would go however, and the game headed to a second overtime.

That second overtime also came and went without a goal going on the board, but not without some drama unfolding. The Blackhawks got a power play thanks to a too many men penalty on Anaheim, and it appeared they had won the game when Andrew Shaw hit a puck into the net, but it was ultimately waved off, as Shaw illegally head-butted the puck into the cage.

The Ducks got several more scoring opportunities of their own over the course of the final minutes, with Vatanen once again ringing a shot off the post, but nothing would get past Crawford as the game headed to triple overtime.

It appeared as though the game would go to a fourth overtime as it neared the end of the frame, but the Blackhawks had other ideas. Brent Seabrook rifled in a shot from the point that ended up hitting Marcus Kruger, but the Swedish forward picked up the loose puck and flipped it past Andersen to give the Hawks the victory and tie the series. 

The Blackhawks will look to defend home ice when the series resumes at the United Center Thursday night. The puck will drop at 7:00 p.m. 



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Bans "Belligerent" Man From Wrigley Field]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 14:30:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/daniel+krupa+mug.jpg

One Chicago Cubs fan who refused to leave Wrigley Field when he allegedly became belligerent and irate Sunday may not be able to go back to the field for a while.

A judge reportedly banned 20-year-old Daniel Krupa from Wrigley Field Monday after he allegedly swung at off-duty Chicago police officers who were taking him out of the venue.

Krupa was arrested Sunday after he allegedly refused to leave the stadium, despite being asked several times. Police claim Krupa became “belligerent and irate” as he was being escorted off the property and say he struck off-duty police officers working security.

He was charged with aggravated battery to a peace officer, criminal trespass, two counts of theft of property and three counts of resisting arrest.

Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. told Krupa in a bond court hearing Monday he was banned from Wrigley Field until his case is resolved, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The theft charges were reportedly in connection to two IDs Krupa had that belonged to people over the age of 21.

It was not immediately clear if Krupa had an attorney.
 



Photo Credit: Chicago Police]]>
<![CDATA['Hawks Bars in the Suburbs: Where to Watch a Game]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 18:02:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/blackhawks+fans.jpg

Blackhawks fandom stretches far and wide, and not everyone lives conveniently close to the United Center. 

If you live in the suburbs, cheer on the Hawks at one of dozens of official Blackhawks bars in the Chicago area and beyond. 

Official Blackhawks Bars in the Suburbs

Addison:

  • 601 Bar and Grill: 601 W. Army Trail Road
  • Pyramid Pizzeria and Sports Bar: 236 W. Lake St.

Algonquin:

  • Thirsty Whale Bar and Grill: 1700 S. Randall Rd.

Arlington Heights:

  • H.O.M.E. Bar Chicago: 1227 N. Rand Road
  • Peggy Kinnane's Irish Restaurant and Pub: 8 N. Vail Ave.

Aurora:

  • Chelios' Pub and Grill: 2150 Ogden Ave.

Berwyn:

  • Big Hurt Brewhouse: 6801 W. Cermak Road
  • Paisans Pizzeria: 6226 W. Ogden Ave.

Bloomington:

  • Elroy's: 102 W. Washington St.
  • Legends Bar and Grill: 712 S. Eldarado Road

Bolingbrook:

  • McQ's Bar and Grill: 730 N. Bolingbrook Dr.

Bristol:

  • Kennedy Pointe Restaurant and Pub: 2245 Kennedy Road

Brookfield: 

  • The Sanctuary of Brookfield: 3747 Grand Blvd.

Champaign: 

  • Firehaus: 708 S. Sixth St.
  • Green Street Cafe: 35 E. Green
  • Joe's: 706 S. Fifth St.
  • Kams: 618 E. Daniel St.
  • Legends: 522 E. Green
  • Murphy's Pub: 604 E. Green
  • White Horse Inn: 510 E. John St.

Charleston:

  • Panther Paw Bar and Grill: 1412 4th St.

Crystal Lake:

  • Finn's Crystal Lake: 72 N. Williams
  • Fire Bar and Grill: 435 Angela Lane

Darien:

  • Carriage Greens Country Club: 8700 Carriage Green

DeKalb:

  • Fatty's Pub and Grille: 1312 W. Lincoln Hwy.
  • Lord Stanley's: 142 E. Lincoln Hwy.
  • Rosy's Roadhouse: 930 Pappas Dr.

Dixon:

  • The Stables: 87 S. Galena Ave.

Downers Grove:

  • Another Round Bar and Grill: 5141 Main St.
  • Shanahan's Food and Spirits: 2009 Ogden Ave.

East Dundee:

  • Bandito Barney's Beach Club and Bordello: 10 N. River ST.

Elk Grove Village:

  • At The Post Sports Bar and OTB: 554 E. Devon Ave.
  • Coach's Corner: 152 W. Biesterfield Road
  • Real Time Sports: 1120 W. Devon Ave.

Elmhurst:

  • Fitz's Pub: 172 N. Addison St.
  • The Snuggery: 122 S. York

Evanston:

  • Bat 17: 1709 Benson Ave.
  • Tommy Nevin's Pub: 1454 Sherman Ave.

Forest Park:

  • Fat Duck Tavern and Grill: 7218 Madison St.

Franklin Park:

  • Sneaker's Sports Bar and Grill: 9721 W. Grand Ave.

Geneva:

  • Chelios' Pub and Grill: 1996 S. Kirk Road

Glen Ellyn:

  • Northside Sports Bar and Grill: 499 Pennsylvania Ave.

Glenview:

  • The Valley Lodge: 2132 N. Waukegan Road

Highwood:

  • Toadstool Pub: 327 Waukegan Ave.

Homer Glen:

  • Mullets Sports Bar and Restaurant: 14903 S. Bell Road

Island Lake:

  • Sideouts: 4018 Roberts Road

LaGrange:

  • Palmer Place Restaurant and Biergarten: 56 S. LaGrange Road

Lake Forest: 

  • Chief's Pub: 502 N. Western Ave.

Lexington:

  • Kemp's Upper Tap: 217 W. Main St.

Lombard:

  • JT's Porch: 665 W. Roosevelt Road

Loves Park:

  • Forest Hills Lanes: 7742 Forest Hills Road
  • JAX Pub: 4160 N. Perryville Road
  • Rocky's Loves Park: 5314 N. Second St.

Machesney Park:

  • Onyx Bar and Grill: 1001 West Lane Road

Macomb:

  • Sports Corner 124: 124 N. Randolph St.
  • The Ritz: 215 N. Randolph St.

Madison, Wis.:

  • The Red Zone: 1212 Regent St.

McHenry:

  • The Snuggery: 801 River Road
  • Twisted Moose Sports Grill: 2616 Schaid Court

Merrionette Park:

  • 115 Bourbon Street: 3359 W. 115th St.

Midlothian:

  • Durbin's: 14753 S. Cicero Ave.

Milwaukee, Wis.:

  • McGillycuddy's: 1135 N. Water St.
  • Steny's: 800 S. 2nd St.

Mokena:

  • Legends Grill and Bar: 9710 W. 191st St.
  • Stoney Point Grill: 19031 Old LaGrange Road

Moline:

  • Barrel House 211: 1321 5th Ave.
  • Okeefe's Sports Pub: 1331 5th Ave.
  • Pub 1848: 1601 River Dr.

Naperville:

  • Crosstown Pub and Grill: 909 E. Ogden Ave.
  • Tommy Nevin's Pub: 3032 English Row Ave.

Niles:

  • Chasers: 9003 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Normal:

  • Joes Station House Pub: 305 S. Veterans Pkwy.
  • Maggie Miley's: 126 E. Beaufort St.
  • Pub II: 102 N. Linden St.

North Aurora: 

  • Oak St. Restaurant and Bar: 945 Oak St.

Northbrook:

  • The Landmark Inn Bar and Grille: 1352 Shermer Road

Northfield: 

  • Stormy's Tavern and Grille: 1735 Orchard Lane

Oak Forest:

  • Blarney Stone Pub: 15400 S. Cicero Ave.

Oak Lawn:

  • Deja Brew Bar and Grille: 5219 W. 95th St.

Orland Hills:

  • Sam's Triple Crown: 9201 W. 159th St.

Palatine:

  • JL's Pizza and Sports Bar: 19 N. Bothwell St.
  • Durty Nellies: 180 N. Smith St.
  • TJ O'Brien's Bar and Grill: 53 W. Slade St.

Pekin:

  • Maquet's Rail House: 221 Court St.

Peoria:

  • Jimmy's Bar: 2801 W. Farmington Road
  • Kouri's Pub: 4421 N. Sterling Ave.
  • Tartan Inn: 428 N. Waverly Ave.
  • Tavern on Prospect: 5901 N. Prospect Road

Peoria Heights:

  • The Well: 4450 N. Prospect, Suite #1

Plainfield:

  • Moe Joe's Cajun and Caribbean Cuisine: 24033 W. Lockport St.
  • Nevin's Brewing Company: 12337 S. Route 59 #155

Pleasant Prairie, Wis.:

  • Mikey's: 10936 Sheridan Road

Poplar Grove:

  • Hydeout Bar and Grill: 13502 Julie Drive 

Prospect Heights:

  • Player's Pub and Grill: 2212 N. Main St.

Rockford:

  • Gene's Place: 4412 Manchester Dr.
  • Latham Tap: 2402 Latham St.
  • Mulligan's Pub and Grill: 2212 N. Main St.
  • Oscar's Pub and Grill: 5980 E. State St.
  • R.B.I's Bar and Grill: 3870 N. Perryville Road
  • Scoreboard Lounge: 7550 E. State St.
  • Souse's Lounge: 5855 Forest Hills Road
  • SportsPage: 3907 Broadway St.
  • Stumpy's Pub: 5801 Columbia Pkwy.
  • Tilted Kilt: 7801 E. State St.
  • Boomers Sports Bar and Grill: 908 W. Riverside Blvd.

Roscoe:

  • Firehouse Pub: 10670 Main St.
  • Poison Ivy Pub: 5765 Elevator Road

Roselle:

  • Pop's Pizza and Sports Bar: 817 Nerge Road

Rosemont:

  • Fresco 21: 5300 N. River Rd.
  • Shoeless Joe's: 10290 W. Higgins Road
  • Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill: 5441 Park Pl.

Schaumburg:

  • Finn's Schaumburg: 1941 E. Alonquin Road
  • The Snuggery: 1540 N. Roselle
  • Westwood Tavern: 1385 N. Meacham Road

St. Charles:

  • McNally's: 109 W. Main St.

Tinley Park:

  • Durbin's: 17265 S. Oak Park Dr.

Villa Park:

  • Crazy Pour Sports Bar: 105 E. North Ave.

West Dundee:

  • The Chubby Bullfrog Bar and Grill: 1959 Huntley Road

Wheaton:

  • Muldoon's: 133 W. Front St.

Wheeling:

  • Spears: 723 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Wilmette:

  • Valley Lodge Tavern: 1141 Central Ave.

Winnetka:

  • Little Ricky's Rib Joint: 540 Lincoln Ave.

Wood Dale:

  • T-Wood Bar and Grill: 1051 N. Wood Dale Road

Woodridge:

  • Shanahan's Food and Spirits: 1999 75th St.

Yorkville:

  • Legends Bar and Grill: 620 W. Veterans Pkwy. 

]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks vs. Ducks: Three Keys to Success ]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 17:42:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/218*120/ducks7.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks had some really good scoring opportunities during their Game 1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, but they weren’t able to convert often enough as they fell behind in a playoff series for the first time this postseason.

Now, as the Blackhawks look to even up the series and steal home ice advantage as the series shifts back to Chicago for Game 3, we take a look at some of the key areas that the team should be focusing on as they prepare for Game 2.

Power Play Must Improve

As we detailed after Game 1, the Blackhawks only averaged about 14.8 seconds of possession time in the offensive zone on their three power plays in that contest. They had difficulties dealing with the Ducks’ aggressive forecheck along the boards, and they couldn’t seem to find open shooting lanes through the middle of the ice either as they went 0-for-3 on the man advantage.

In Game 2, the Blackhawks need to double down on their strategy and move the puck through the zone more effectively. That starts with their zone entries, which were much more successful when they were controlled entries rather than dump-ins to the zone. The Ducks have the team speed to chase down the puck and force turnovers on those plays, so controlled entries and crisp passing are the way to go.

Stay Consistent With Line Combinations

In Game 1, head coach Joel Quenneville shuffled up his forward lines a bit as the game wore on, but the changes didn’t seem to have the desired effect as the Hawks’ scoring production seemed to slow down as the game progressed.

In this game, Quenneville needs to have faith that his team will be able to score with their current lineup. They have a very nice mix of physicality and speed throughout their lineup, and leaving lines the way they are will help maintain a more consistent offensive attack during the game.


Don’t Be Afraid to Be Aggressive

In Game 1, the Blackhawks ended up getting burned on a couple of gambles by their blue liners. David Rundblad was unable to stop a rush at the blue line that led to the first Anaheim goal, and Duncan Keith also failed to stop a play in the neutral zone, giving the Ducks an odd-man rush that resulted in their third goal of the game.

Despite those setbacks, the Blackhawks have to be careful not to be too conservative in this game. With the aggressive physical approach that the Ducks use, they do open themselves up to counter attacks, and that means the Hawks could take advantage if they play their cards correctly.


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<![CDATA[Three Key Players to a Blackhawks' Game 2 Win ]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 14:42:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/168*120/486346229.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks find themselves trailing in a series for the first time in the 2015 playoffs after dropping a 4-1 decision to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, but they have an opportunity to even things up on Tuesday night as the teams battle in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.

In order to win the game, the Blackhawks will need some big performances out of a couple of key players, and we highlight three of them that must produce in Game 2 in southern California.

Bryan Bickell

Originally on the second line to start Game 1, Bickell found himself pushed up to the first line as Joel Quenneville looked to increase the speed quotient on the second line for the Hawks. The move didn’t ultimately pay off, as Bickell struggled to find his comfort zone against a Ducks team that is able to seamlessly mix physicality and speed.

Bickell has to find the right formula on Tuesday night if the Blackhawks are going to succeed. He has the ability to play with physicality and to still contribute offensively, and that balance will be key as he tries to contend with whatever defensive adjustments the Ducks are going to throw at him.

Kyle Cumiskey

After David Rundblad didn’t exactly blow the doors off the place on Sunday night in California, Cumiskey is going to get a chance to make himself a fixture in the Hawks’ lineup as he slots in for Game 2. Cumiskey’s arrival does continue to make the Blackhawks a left-handed dominant team on the blue line, but it also adds an element of speed and defensive discipline to the proceedings.

That being said, Cumiskey has to get back up to NHL speed on the fly in this game. He hasn’t played in an NHL game in some time now, and he is going to be expected to play anywhere from 15 to 18 minutes in Game 2. That’s a tall order for any player, but he’ll have to really step up his game if the Blackhawks are going to have a good shot at winning this one.

Jonathan Toews

The Blackhawks’ captain was an offensive dynamo in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but he looked a bit more pedestrian in Game 1. Having to go up against top forwards and play well offensively is a tall task for any player, but Toews has shown in the past that he has the ability to do so and he’ll have to repeat that performance on Tuesday night.

The big area that Toews will have to contribute on is the power play. He is good at moving the puck and can also set up shop in front to create screens when necessary, and the Blackhawks will need him to fulfill both of those roles as they look to improve upon a subpar power play performance in Game 1.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Can the Hawks Beat the Ducks in Game 2?]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 14:29:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/flash+survey+new.jpg

Following the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, the Blackhawks will look to tie the series up Tuesday. Can they bounce back from Sunday's disappointing loss with a win in Game 2?

 

 

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<![CDATA[Patriots Won't Appeal Punishment]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 15:17:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2015-05-19-13h12m20s15.jpg

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Tuesday that the team will not appeal the penalty handed down by the National Football League in the wake of the Deflategate controversy.

Speaking from the NFL owners' meetings in California, Kraft said he decided to accept the punishment in an effort to "end the rhetoric." He said that while he still believes the penalty handed down was "unreasonable and unprecedented," he respects Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"The entire process has taken way too long," he said. "I can try to end it, or extend it."

Kraft also acknowledged that his position on how to handle the situation has changed.

"I think maybe if I made the decision last week it would be different than it is today," Kraft said.

The NFL fined the Patriots $1 million and took away two draft picks as punishment for the deflation of footballs below the league-mandated minimum for the AFC championship game. 

Quarterback Tom Brady was also issued a four-game suspension, which he has already appealed. His appeal must be heard within 10 days of its filing on May 14.

The NFL Players Association formally requested Goodell recuse himself as an arbitrator in Brady's appeal later Tuesday afternoon and asked for a neutral party to set in.

"If the NFL believes the Ted Wells report has credibility because it is independent, then the NFL should embrace our request for an independent review," the union said in a statement.

If it is upheld, Brady would miss the first four games. The Patriots open the NFL season at home against Pittsburgh on Sept. 10, then travel to Buffalo before a home game against Jacksonville. After a bye week, their fourth game will be in Dallas.

Brady would be eligible to return for the fifth game on Oct. 18 at Indianapolis. The probe began after the Colts complained that Brady used deflated footballs in their 45-7 loss to the Patriots in the AFC title game.

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<![CDATA[Cumiskey Could Replace Rundblad in Game 2 Tuesday ]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 17:01:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*126/kyle+Cumiskey.jpg

In a bit of a surprising move, Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville held a practice on Monday afternoon in Anaheim after his team's 4-1 loss to the Ducks on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final. 

During that workout, the coach shuffled up his defensive pairings a bit, with Kyle Cumiskey slotting into the rotation and skating with Johnny Oduya. Niklas Hjalmarsson was on the top pairing with Duncan Keith during the practice, and Brent Seabrook and Kimmo Timonen were also paired up as the team prepares for Game 2 on Tuesday night. 

The decision to put Cumiskey in the lineup is an interesting one, as Quenneville had started David Rundblad in place of Michal Rozsival for the first game of the series. Rozsival broke his left ankle during Game 4 of the team's series against the Minnesota Wild, and Rundblad was chosen to replace him. 

The blue liner did struggle out of the gate on Sunday afternoon, allowing Jakub Silfverberg to bring the puck into the zone to help set up Anaheim's first goal. He also committed another costly mistake in the second period as he failed to clear the puck along the boards in the defensive zone, and Kyle Palmieri ultimately scored to give the Ducks a 2-0 advantage in the game. 

Even with the mistakes, Rundblad did seem as though he was getting better as the game wore on, but that wasn't enough as Quenneville seems ready to go with Cumiskey for Game 2. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bulls' Mirotic Named to All-Rookie Team ]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 16:43:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/176*120/459596814.jpg

The Chicago Bulls saw their season come to an end last week in their playoff loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the team continues to pick up hardware as forward Nikola Mirotic was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Team.

Mirotic averaged 10.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in his rookie season with the Bulls, and ended up finishing in second place in the NBA in Rookie of the Year voting, trailing only Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins was also named to the All-Rookie Team, joining Philadelphia’s Nerlens Noel, Orlando’s Elfrid Payton, and Los Angeles’ Jordan Clarkson.

In his first season with the Bulls, Mirotic adapted quickly to the North American game, spreading the floor with his three point shooting ability and helping the team adapt to more of an offensive-oriented style.

Along with Pau Gasol, Mirotic gave the Bulls the type of secondary scoring threats they have often lacked during Tom Thibodeau’s tenure with the squad, and his minutes and opportunities to play increased as the season went along.

Moving forward, it would certainly appear that Mirotic will continue to be a big part of the Bulls’ rotation. The team might have to make a few moves in the offseason to help fit in a new max contract for Jimmy Butler, and Mirotic could stand to benefit if guys like Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are sent elsewhere.

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