InternetFM presents sports content from our partner site YourSportsFan.com including podcasts of “The Weekend Sports Report” with Les Grobstein, Steve Leventhal and Alison Moran, along with “Dorf on Sports” with Fred Wallin and Andy Dorf. YSF also features original sports articles.
….long time friend of the show Les Grobstein joins us to discuss the Bulls and Blackhawks playoffs games. The “Grobber” offers his insights on the NBA Eastern Conference matchups. He also comments on the Cubs season so far.
Dave and Steve get a first look, and analyze the Packers and Bears 2015 NFL schedules. Hear audio comments from LeBron James as well as Jonathan Toews and coach Joel Quenneville of the Blackhawks.
Visit Les’ website at Grobber.com
You have to start with Monday, because that was rock-bottom. It was all Red Sox from the word go, and the thin line that may not exist between winners winning and losers losing, the Red Sox got to win this game in the court of public opinion in their Fenway opener, thanks largely in part to the play of one Mookie Betts. The box score won’t tell you this, but the tone was set when Betts, starting in center field, denied the Nats the early lead off Bryce Harper’s shot to straight-away center, which the Sox rookie brought back from the land of home runs and turned into a long out. The next time Harper came to the plate, his team was down 8-0.
You have to talk about that third inning, and if you didn’t see it with your own eyes, you’ll have a hard time believing there’s truth to any of it. Yes, we’re glancing past the fact that the aforementioned Betts has stolen two bases, scored two runs, and collected three RBI on a 2nd inning home run over the left field wall. It was only 4-0 Boston when Jordan Zimmerman took the ball to start his third inning of work. He yields a baserunner by hitting Hanley Ramirez with a 2-2 pitch. Not to be outdone, Pablo Sandoval also gets hit with a 2-2 offering from Zimmerman, and it hasn’t even gotten weird yet.
Good times for Michael A Taylor in center field, they were not. With two runners on and nobody out in the frame, Mike Napoli sent a long, but catchable ball to left center, right between Taylor and Jayson Werth, and I guess nobody called for it. It dropped for a single and the runners just went station to station. Boston shortstop Zander Bogaerts singled to Taylor for the first legitimate hit of the inning, scoring a run, and Taylor got busy again after Sandy Leon sent one to right-center field, which he and Harper each stood and stared at a ball that dropped no further than 5 feet from either of them. Zimmerman gave up a hit to Betts, and Matt Williams decided he’d seen enough. Dustin Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly, bringing home Boston’s fourth run of the inning and eighth of the day.
The visiting team salvaged some offense and made it look better with a 9-4 final, but it was viewed by many as one of the worst losses in franchise history. A day later, they couldn’t convert their 6-run fifth inning to a victory. At stretch time, they held a 7-5 lead, but it was more what we saw on Monday, a couple of hit by pitches and three errors that gave Boston three runs, without the benefit of a hit in the seventh inning, that led to an 8-7 defeat.
The return of the real Ian Desmond began on Wednesday. He found himself below the Mendoza line after an 0-for-4 performance on Monday, but has hit in every game since. It was Desmond’s 3rd inning home run, his first of the year, that sparked a 6-run frame for the Nats, en route to a 10-5 victory. It was nice to get in the win column, but there was nothing inspiring about Gio Gonzalez’s 4 earned runs over 6 inning outing, despite the nice amount of run support in that one. Desmond was 13-for-29 at the plate throughout the week, good for a .448 clip in the batting average column.
In the series with Philadelphia, starting pitching took over. Doug Fister has looked as good as anyone in baseball, and it was more of the same on Thursday. Another former Tiger and perhaps the most notable uniform change headed into 2015, Max Scherzer picked up his first win as a National on Friday. Zimmerman slipped a bit on Saturday, but they could have used a little more offense against Aaron Harang in a 5-3 loss Saturday, though Harper did tag him for a moon-shot to center field, but that wouldn’t be enough.
The nearly forgotten Stephen Strasburg picked up his first win on Sunday, pitching 7 plus. By all accounts, he pitched well, but the story, especially after Monday, was Denard Span’s return to the leadoff spot in the order. In the fifth inning, he reminded everyone of why he’s been missed so much, scoring from first on Ian Desmond’s double. The Nationals won 4-1, going 4-3 on the week and 6-4 on the year, which puts them 4 games behind the first place(holding) Mets in the National League East.
Last Week in Baseball
- Kris Bryant, the top prospect in the Cubs organization made his Major League debut on Friday to much fanfare, but was not able to reciporcate the hype, striking out three times and going 0-for-4 in a 5-4 loss to San Diego. Things got better when he wasn’t facing James Shields; in the Cubs’ next two games, he reached in 6 out of 10 plate appearances, including a first inning double off of Andrew Cashner on Sunday.
- Good work from the big righty in the Baltimore bullpen, Brad Brach, on Saturday in Boston. I was watching the Boston feed, so it was Don Orsillo introducing the pitching change, in what was a 1-run game at the time. The line on Brach early in the season was that he’d inherited three runners and they’d all scored. Protecting a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning, with runners on first and second, he got Daniel Nava to hit into a 4-6-3 double play. He also notched two strikeouts in a scoreless 7th, and the Orioles went on to win 4-1 on Saturday.
- If you have any interest in the Seattle Mariners, you have to happy, at least for a day, about the Nelson Cruz signing this off-season. Forget the fact that former Ranger and Oriole is hitting .354 with 8 home runs and an OPS of 1.258, just look at what he did on Sunday. First and third inning home runs kept it close, making the Rangers’ 7-run third inning survivable. He got his chance to win the game altogether with two out and the bases loaded in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth, and put it through the hole between third base and short, for the win.
- What’s wrong with the Giants? Odd year jokes aside, how does this team drop 8 straight to San Diego, Colorado, and Arizona? At least they found a way to win on the night they got their rings, a 4-1 win over Arizona at home Saturday, but one win so far on a 7-game homestand, with the Dodgers coming in for three. If they don’t right the ship soon, 2015 will be over for San Francisco, before we really get going.
- Matt Holliday has hit safely in all 11 of the St Louis Cardinals games in 2015. He was 1-for-3 in the Cardinals nationally televised 2-1 win over Cincinnati Sunday night. The real story of that game was that it ended in 2 hours and 2 minutes. The losing pitcher of record Mike Leake combined with Adam Wainwright, who notched the win, and Jordan Walden for exactly 200 pitches. Now, I’m not sure I’m one to fuss and fight about how long it takes to watch a ball game, but there are worse things than being able to do whatever you want 7:07 PM on Sunday night out west.
….Dave phones in from the Sports Book at Bally’s in Las Vegas, where he’s attending the National Association of Broadcasters Show. Despite all that technology, he manages to find the loudest, crappiest connection possible. But the show must go on. Regular contributors Jeff Rich and John Poulter join the program this week. Jeff and Steve give us a 2015 Masters review and talk opening week baseball. John previews the 2015 NHL playoffs. Dave also digs up the Vegas odds for the upcoming NFL season.
Don’t miss a cameo from ESPN’s Chris Berman.
Now, the Astros may not be anyone’s first choice of fodder for conversation when looking at the game in a league-wide scope, but if I’ve discovered anything in the years I’ve had every game (sans the local team) at my finger-tips with MLB.tv, it’s that I can appreciate the game more by getting deeper than just the contenders, my favorite team (the Cleveland Indians), and the home team (for me, the Arizona Diamondbacks). Look at teams like Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Washington, currently relevant teams that were left for dead on a national scale just a few years back. They built through the draft with the occasional trade for propsects, and developed contenders.
Jeff Luhnow replaced Ed Wade as the team’s general manager following the 2011 season, after winning the World Series in St. Louis as the Cardinals’ VP of Baseball Development. It may be a little while before we see what his top picks Carlos Correa and Mark Appel are capable of when they reach the bigs, but he already had George Springer in the system when he got the gig. He was also able to inherit Jose Altuve, who is a two-time All-Star and most definitely the face of the franchise, but had to dump the salaries of the likes of Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence, among others in the wake of an ownership change and a migration to the American League. The transition has been rough, with the club failing to win even 60 games for three consecutive seasons, before winning 70 in Bo Porter’s final season at the helm last year.
So, on to 2015, and it’s AJ Hinch replacing Porter as the manager, Hinch’s second go-around as a skipper. He was 89-123 in his year and half leading the Arizona Diamondbacks. The line between the present and the future is starting to blur a little, as Dallas Kuechel has assumed his role as the team’s ace, a year after a breakout season that saw him go 12-9 on a pretty bad Houston team, and 2011 first-round pick (11th overall) George Springer has become the team’s everyday right fielder. Early on in the season, it looks like Jake Marisnick (24 years old) and Jason Castro (28) are figuring things out offensively, picking up where the usual suspects aren’t getting it done.
Considering the extremely small sample size, and hey, it’s all we have to go on right now, no one is popping champagne over the fact that the Astros sit atop the AL West at the moment, tied with Seattle at 3 wins and 3 losses, but it sure beats getting buried in the cellar 8 days into the season. Of course, they’ve done it without leaving the state of Texas, though that may be neither here nor there in the long run, but if they can stay anywhere near .500 when they venture out to the rest of the lower 48, they would be just fine. Problem is, they won’t.
Their pitching staff has been fine. Kuechel got them started off right with a gem against Cleveland on Opening Day, holding the Indians scoreless with just 3 hits in seven innings of work. He gave Hinch another seven in Arlington on Sunday, but left with a 1.29 ERA and a no decision in a game that wasn’t decided until after the ‘Stros put up a 2-spot in the top of the fourteenth. Behind him in the rotation, Scott Feldman, Collin McHugh, and Roberto “Fausto” Hernandez all boast ERAs under 2 through their first start. The bullpen hasn’t been perfect, though we’ve seen Sam Deduno, Will Harris, and Luke Gregerson give Hinch some really good innings. Again, this staff has either overachieved or shown promise for what’s to come, 14 earned runs over 6 games is something to smile about down in those parts.
The team has won three games, but you could argue they stole two of them, barely getting it done with the bats. Altuve might have single-handedly sent the 43,753 in attendance home happy, simply by creating a run in a game where they were coming at an absolute premium. He broke Corey Kluber’s groove, breaking Kluber’s streak of setting down 10 consecutive batters, with a 2-out liner to left. Springer was up next, and knocked one through the hole, giving Houston all they’d need to beat the visiting Indians on Monday. The Astros won 2-0, scoring their second run on Marisnick’s sacrifice fly an inning later.
Thus far, Jake Marisnick has been a nice surprise. He’s played in 5 games and he’s batting .400, but even if we ignore early season batting averages (and we do, almost all of the time), but the Astros are 3-0 when he drives in a run and 0-2 when he does not. We’re talking about a guy who had 19 driven in all of last season. Looking at OPS (On-Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage) alone, Jason Castro has show decent enough plate discipline for a .429 OBP (On-Base Percentage) and you’ve got high slugging percentages from Colby Rasmus and Jed Lowrie, thanks to extra base-hits and the long-ball.
Lowrie’s first jack, a ninth inning shot off Cleveland’s Nick Hagadone on Thursday afternoon, was the team’s first of the day off Indians pitching, and it would end up being the only one they’d get in a 5-1 defeat, after mustering up just four off of Carlos Carrasco and the Cleveland bullpen in a shutout the day before. They managed 11 base-knocks against the Rangers on Saturday, but the timely hitting was nowhere to be found with runners in scoring position, and they were 1-for-7 at the plate in those situations, losing the game 6-2.
Maybe the abberation hasn’t been them stealing those games. Maybe they’re actually better than their record right now, and the real Astros will reveal themselves when a few key players start hitting. Despite his Opening Day heroics, Altuve is hitting .192 through 28 plate appearances. Springer is at .174, but we’ll count on him to come around. Luis Valbuena is at .143, and we won’t count on him to improve. Instead, we’ll wonder how shallow the talent pool is at third base that we keep seeing this guy in Opening Day lineups. Chris Carter, their big bat, has one hit, a single in 5 games; batting average reads .053 in the present tense. Then there’s Evan Gattis, who doesn’t have a batting average, pulling the Blutarsky and earning golden sombreros (4 strikeouts) on consecutive nights in the opening series. He has 12 on the season, good for the league lead.
Last Week in Baseball for Everyone Else
- The team Gattis left, so he could swing and miss so regularly in Houston, the Atlanta Braves finally dropped one in their sixth contest of the season. How are they getting it done? Nothing jumps off the page at you with the offensive stats, aside from Alberto Callaspo’s ridiculous batting average (.538) and Andrelton Simmons getting almost an RBI per game (5). Starting pitching has been adequate too, but games are legitimately shortened when they can throw Jim Johnson at you in the eighth and have Jason Grilli close the door on you in the ninth the way they have thus far.
- You have to feel for the people in the Los Angeles market, dealing with this Time Warner/Prime Ticket mess. The only way many of them are seeing the Dodgers play is with a ticket to Chavez Ravine. They’re missing Adrian Gonzalez and his .609 batting average that we DO respect. In his first week of action, he’s proven to be a tough out, but it hasn’t been tough for him to put the ball out of the ballpark with his league-leading 5 bombs. On the other hand, maybe those fans in SoCal were ignorant to the fact the reigning NL MVP and Cy Young winner was beat up in front of a Dodger-centric crowd on Saturday night in Phoenix. Clayton Kershaw is 0-1 with a 5.84 ERA through two starts, but conventional wisdom suggests we’ll see improvement there.
- The Dodgers’ rival in NoCal, the Giants, appear to be geared up for another odd year hibernation. Despite winning World Championships in 2010, 2012, and last season, the year after doesn’t seem to go well for the Giants, for whatever reason. The big departure in the off-season was obviously the departure of free agent Pablo Sandoval, and the Giants plan to replace him with Casey McGehee wasn’t an awful one, but he hasn’t been getting it done for Bruce Bochy just yet. Another notable newcomer, Nori Aoki, has done everything they could have hoped for, hitting safely in every game the team has played, plus playing flawlessly in right field where there’s a lot of real estate, at Chase Field and PETCO Park.
- Aoki’s old team, the Kansas City Royals are rolling. They’re 6-0, and they’ve needed their bullpen in close games. It doesn’t matter who goes between the starter and Greg Holland, who has been perfect. In 16+ innings, Royals relievers have not allowed an earned run. Holland hasn’t allowed as much as a base-runner en route to his 3 saves, all 3-out deals.
- The Tigers went a perfect 6-0 through their first two series of the season, taking out division rivals Minnesota and Cleveland with series sweeps. Back in 2012, the Indians bested the Tigers 10-8 in their season series. Since the beginning of 2013, Detroit is 29-12 against their division rivals to the southeast. Miguel Cabrera made it his personal mission to torment Cleveland in their home-opening series, batting .786 with 11 hits, a double, two home runs, and six RBI in the series against the Tribe.
- So much for pace of play, right? On the fourth day of the season, I watched the Reds and Pirates start late, then play four hours anyway, I had a hard time staying awake for that one on a west coast clock, couldn’t imagine the die-hards in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh waiting on that one. To me, stalled pace of play makes me think of two teams that go together like you wouldn’t believe, especially when it comes to length of games, the Yankees and Red Sox. Friday night saw the two battle it out for almost 7 hours in a 19-inning affair. The Yankees had to erase one-run deficits in the bottom of the ninth, the bottom of the sixteenth, and the bottom of the eighteenth, but ran out of bullets in the bottom of the 19th frame, and lost 6-5.
- Finally, a shot out to those who flirted with history. I know we watched David Price and Toronto’s Drew Hutchison go late into games, but Sonny Gray was perfect for seven innings against the Rangers at home on Opening Day, the biggest threat we’ve seen to Bob Feller’s infamous lone-standing Opening Day feat, keeping the White Sox hitless on April 16, 1940. It was a 1-0 game.
I know it’s hard to get the younger generation turned on to 1-0 games and the thought of this becoming a pitcher’s game has to terrify most marketing departments around Major League Baseball, but they are the best games to see. They just are. The long ball is nice, but too many of them spoil the novelty. I don’t have a problem with the way pitching dominated baseball’s first week of 2015, and though I think the bats will catch up, and soon, the game is better when the pitchers are having all of the fun.
on the Weekend Sports Report with Packer Dave and Steve Leventhal
….with our guest Rory Spears from GolfersOnGolf.com, gives us a 2015 Masters Preview. Also Jeff Rich from Sports Byline Sunday talks about the Final Four last weekend and also gives us his take on baseball. Jeff managed to attend fifteen spring training games in the Cactus league.
Don’t miss cameos from Rodney Dangerfield and Bob Costas.
It’s that time of year again… spring is in the air, the weather is changing and baseball is right around to corner. But more importantly… it is time to unveil the roster for the 2015 SCUBS!
Unlike previous years, the 2015 SCUBS had position battles across the board, which was not the case last year. Neither the Sox (73-89) nor the Cubs (73-89) were a contender in their divisions last year but Rick Hahn and Theo Epstein have made key additions this offseason that have their respective fan bases buzzing.
The past couple rosters were put together to try and compete for a Wild Card spot in either league but with the surplus of current talent, the below roster would not only compete for a division title but would make a serious run for a World Series ring.
Batters were selected based on how they performed at the dish, as well as in the field. There are some young players selected for the SCUBS and those decisions were based off of 2015 projections and the potential ceiling for that respective player.
The San Francisco total regular season total WAR numbers for their top 10 hitters and top 7 pitchers are given below to compare against the 2015 projected SCUBS stats. The Giants may not have been the best team when considering the WAR statistic during the 2014 season but they did win the World Series with solid postseason defense and pitching. In comparison, the 2001 Seattle Mariners (116-46) total regular season total WAR numbers are also provided below to show how the SCUBS would compare against one of the best regular season teams of all time… despite the amazing regular season, the Mariners lost in the ALCS to the New York Yankees.
Manager: Joe Maddon (781 – 729, 2x AL Manager of the Year)
Projected Stats by www.FanGraphs.com
Catcher: Miguel Montero (.258/12 HR/57 RBI/2.7 WAR)
First: Anthony Rizzo (.280/34 HR/112 RBI/5.6 WAR)
Second: Arismendy Alcantara (.256/14 HR/20 SB/2.2 WAR)
Short Stop: Starlin Castro (.290/16 HR/75 RBI/3.9 WAR)
Third: Kris Bryant (.264/23 HR/80 RBI/3.9 WAR)
Left Field: Jorge Soler (.278/26 HR/92 RBI/3.5 WAR)
Center Field: Adam Eaton (.292/84 R/18 SB/3.6 WAR)
Right Field: Melky Cabrera (.296/13 HR/64 RBI/2.0 WAR)
DH: Jose Abreu (.300/36 HR/115 RBI/5.0 WAR)
2015 Chicago SCUBS Batters Total WAR: 32.4
2001 Seattle Mariners Batters Total WAR: 40.1
2014 San Francisco Batters Total WAR: 24.7
The 2015 SCUBS starting rotation would be the best in the MLB if they were actually teammates… 4 of the starters remain on the list from last year (Samardzija switched jerseys) and with the addition of Jon Lester, this rotation is formidable. The rotation consist of 3 LHP, 2 RHP and is projected to win 68 games, which is 6 more wins than the top 5 starters of the 2001 Mariners. Even though Rondon had a better WAR in 2014, I took my chances with the veteran Robertson, who converted 39/44 saves last year and has proven he can close out games on a consistent basis.
1st: Chris Sale (210 IP/15 W/2.67 ERA/1.03 WHIP/6.1 WAR)
2nd: Jon Lester (214 IP/15 W/3.07 ERA/1.15 WHIP/4.2 WAR)
3rd: Jeff Samardzija (215 IP/13 W/3.36 ERA/1.18 WHIP/3.7 WAR)
4th: Jose Quintana (204 IP/12 W/3.46 ERA/1.19 WHIP/ 4.1 WAR)
5th: Jake Arrieta (185 IP/13 W/3.17 ERA/1.15 WHIP/3.3 WAR)
Set up: Hector Rondon (61 IP/34 SV/2.68 ERA/1.11 WHIP/0.9 WAR)
Closer: David Robertson (67 IP/40 SV/2.80 ERA/1.07 WHIP/1.1 WAR)
2015 Chicago SCUBS Pitchers Total WAR: 23.4
2001 Seattle Mariners Pitchers Total WAR: 18.2
2014 San Francisco Pitchers Total WAR: 12.2
Cubs/Sox fans will never see eye to eye on anything and I would imagine that each one will feel slighted by this roster. Whether it is Castro vs Ramirez or Alcantara vs Johnson, there are positions that can be argued up and down the line up. At least there are “arguments” this year… enjoy your summer, enjoy your team because baseball is finally relevant in Chicago again. GO SCUBS!!!!
…. Mark Grote, Cubs pre- and post-game host on WBBM 780-AM joins us for a Cubs 2015 preview. He also looks at other contenders in the NL Central.
Jeff Rich from Sports Byline Sunday checks in with a NCAA Final Four preview. It should be pretty exciting, with three number one seeds and the feisty Spartans of Michigan State.
Don’t miss a cameo from comedian Jeff Foxworthy.
….our guests are Don Guzan, with more useful lawn and gardening tips, John Poulter talks about advances in Internet radio, Smart TV’s, and ways to cut the cable, and one of our original hosts, Ken Walchak from Clark-Devon Hardware, makes a return visit to update us on how independent hardware stores are doing in this age of Internet shopping and big box retailers.
Lastly, we debut a new feature, Sports Break USA, with a look at Arizona sports history.
On The Weekend Sports Report with Packer Dave and Steve Leventhal
…. Jeff Rich join us for a discussion of Thursday night’s Sweet Sixteen action in the NCAA tournament, including a look at the North Carolina – Wisconsin and his thoughts on where does the Kentucky team rank among great college basketball teams of the past thirty years. Steve traveled to Arizona this week and accompanied John Poulter and Dave to several spring training games. Dave makes fun of Steve for his frugality on the trip. They also continue the discussion of March baseball in the Cactus League.
Don’t miss cameos from Chris Berman and Bob Uecker, as well as his alter ego, Harry Doyle from “Major League.”
….SRN assistant sports director and basketball guru Phil Meyers joins us for a look at the brackets and discusses who, if anyone can step up and challenge undefeated Kentucky for the NCAA title as 2015 March Madness gets underway.
John Poulter also chimes in on spring training baseball, as well as a brief chat on hockey and English soccer this weekend. Steve and Dave take a quick look at the most recent free agent deals in the NFL, including audio comments from Dallas’ Tony Romo on his attempts to persuade his team to keep DeMarco Murray.
Don’t miss cameos from Chris Berman and Dick Vitale.
on The Weekend Sports Report with Packer Dave and Steve Leventhal
…Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune gives us a Cubs Spring Training update, and more from around the Cactus League. John Poulter also chimes in on the AL East, hockey and soccer. Plus, Steve and Dave talk about the latest NFL free agent moves. Catch the worst 40 minutes in sports radio right here.
Don’t miss cameos from Mr. Baseball, Bob Uecker and Dick Vitale.
Like most brothers, Pau and Marc Gasol like to compete against one another. After all they have been competing against each other since they can remember and even became the first brothers to start opposite each other in an All Star Game last month.
“ We’re always competitive, we always compete” Pau would add after the game. The Bulls forward would score 13 points on 6-14 shooting from the field while grabbing 11 rebounds to record his 43rd double-double of the season. Pau has been fantastic for Chicago this season while leading the NBA in double-double’s and already trying his career high as well.
Marc would get the best of his brother on Monday night however, when the Grizzlies topped the Bulls 101-91. Marc scored 23 points and added 4 rebounds and 4 assists to guide Memphis to their 21st road victory of the year.
”My teammates found me at the elbows and in the post, and I was able to make some shots,” the Grizzlies big man told the media. ”That makes their bigs come out and pick up their coverage a bit more. You get confidence. You get in a rhythm.”
And as for his thoughts on competing against his younger brother? “It is an honor honestly,” Marc said. The two brothers had lunch early Monday before competing for the second time this season.
With the loss, the Bulls tied their season-long losing streak (three games) and continued to rely on their young core to find scoring in the fourth quarter.
Nikola Mirotic scored 18 points of the bench and added 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Mirotic has quickly become a fan favorite in Chicago and is becoming a reliable option in only his first season. Mirotic scored in double figures for the sixth straight game and is averaging 20.8 points and 8.0 rebounds during that stretch.
Tony Snell would do his best to bring the Bulls back in the fourth quarter with the Bulls trailing by 13 points. Snell scored 11 of his 21 points in the final period and shot 4-7 from the field in his highest scoring effort since February 12th against Cleveland.
While the Bulls (39-26) would get a boost from their young players,they struggled to find scoring late in the paint. Gasol would admit to being frustrated after being hit with two early fouls and Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau would touch on that in his post game presser as well.
“I thought he got a tough whistle, I really did” Thibodeau said. “It was his second foul and Marc is a physical player. I just didn’t like the consistency, so sometimes it goes your way sometimes it doesn’t.”
Memphis (45-18) would receive a big third quarter from Zach Randolph who finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds and Jeff Green who finished with 19 points on 7-11 shooting from the floor, including 3-4 from the three point line. With Mondays victory the Grizzlies tied their season series with the Bulls. The road team in the series has now won each of the last five games.
“We have a good group of guys. We all feel like we have a chance to do something special this year,” Grizzlies coach David Joerger said. “You try to take care of your body, whether that be nutrition or sleep or staying in at night.”
The Bulls will not practice Tuesday morning and will take a much-needed day of rest before traveling to Philadelphia on Wednesday to take on the 76ers. (14-49)
Click below for Post-Game Audio
For the first time since having arthroscopic knee surgery back on February 27th, Bulls guard Derrick Rose spoke to the media on Monday night before the team hosted the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center.
While the former MVP would not give a definite return date, he did keep hopes of returning before the playoffs alive.
“I know something positive is going to come out of this.” Rose told reporters. “Whenever I come back, I come back. The way I feel right now, there’s a good chance I come back this season.”
Rose, was averaging 18.4 points and 5.0 assists in 46 games this season before an MRI revealed he had once again tore his medial meniscus in the right knee. Rose missed all but 10 games last season after having the meniscus reattached rather than having it removed. This time around team physician Brian Cole removed the damaged part of the meniscus rather than repairing it again, meaning the rehab was originally supposed to only be 4-6 weeks.
Rose said he didn’t know when the injury occurred, but cited the Golden State game on January 27th as a possibility for when he tore the meniscus.
Rose remained positive even when answering tough questions regarding his future, including his thoughts on the possibility of the team being finished building around him as their star.
“Its to each his own.”- Rose said. “If they feel like they need to do that, this is a business too. I know the business side.” “I know they would be making a totally wrong mistake but I am not the owner, I’m not the GM or the president.”
on the Weekend Sports Report with Packer Dave and Steve Leventhal
….plus our guest John Poulter discusses whether the NHL trade deadline resulted in any good moves for the teams in contention. He also offers his baseball preview as spring training gets underway in Florida and Arizona. Dave and Steve discuss NFL moves as free agency approaches.
Don’t miss a cameo from Dan Patrick.
“Next man up”
has become the slogan for the Chicago Bulls for about three years now. Ever since Derrick Rose tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs, head coach Tom Thibodeau has been forced to change his lineup more than any other coach in recent memory.
Not only have the Bulls had to deal with injuries to Rose the past few seasons, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Kirk Hinrich are among a few others who have missed time due to injury, forcing the Bulls to juggle their lineup and do their best to win with what they have had.
The 2014-15 campaign has been no different. After entering the season as heavy favorites to represent the East in the NBA Finals, the Bulls have once again struggled to stay healthy. Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Pau Gasol, Doug McDermott and Joakim Noah have all had stints on the injury list this season and as a result, the Bulls have struggled at times to close out games.
After the loss of Rose for 4-6 weeks, the Bulls would once again be bitten by the injury bug.
Jimmy Butler will miss 3-6 weeks with a left elbow ailment, and Taj Gibson also sat out with an ankle injury. Without three of the team’s top scorers many figured the Bulls would struggle to find scoring especially late in the fourth quarter. However, the Bulls played up-tempo basketball on their home floor against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season and had the last words after a week beginning with some trash talk.
“I don’t want to talk about Chicago. You know I hate them. You can put that,” Wizard’s forward Nene told the Washington Post on Monday. Needless to say there is no love lost between the two teams, and it would show on Tuesday.
The Bulls would defeat the Wizards 97-92 on Tuesday behind a clutch performance from Noah, and the balanced attack of their young core. Rookie Nikola Mirotic scored 23 points with 8 rebounds, and Aaron Brooks added 22 points and 8 assists filling in for the injured Rose.
“It’s going to be the collective effort. You can’t replace a Derrick or a Jimmy or Taj individually. We have to do it as a team,” Thibodeau said after the win. “They’re going to keep coming, they’re all tough. We’re going to need a lot of resiliency and a lot of fight.”
Noah once again put the Bulls on his back, much like last season, when he became an unlikely MVP candidate. Noah scored 12 points and pulled down 12 boards while battling with his personal rival, Nene. Washington’s forward, and the Bulls’ new arch nemesis, would foul out after going scoreless and grabbing only 6 rebounds. He would also pick up a flagrant foul while taking a shot at Noah, who calmly walked away.
“I’m just happy we won, and I’m happy I kept my composure,” Noah said about the play. “Just trying to put out a video a couple hours before the game about non-violence. And trying to teach these kids about the big picture. You know what I mean? So it wouldn’t have been a good look, not today. But I’m really, really proud of this team and the way we stepped up tonight.”
The Bulls (38-23) would also get another solid game from Pau Gasol. Gasol scored 20 points and added 10 rebounds to add to his league leading 39th double-double this season. The veteran Gasol knows how important these next few weeks will be while the Bulls are without their starting backcourt and leading scorers.
“I think every game is going to be emotional from now on,” Gasol said. “Every game is meaningful, and this team, they’re a tough team. They try to play extra physical to try to take away stuff.”
The Wizards (34-27) were led by John Wall’s 21 points and 11 assists, and Paul Pierce who chipped in with 16 points including 4 of 6 from the three point line. They are now 3-7 in their last ten games and 13-16 on the road this season.
Chicago did a great job defensively on Washington guard Bradley Beal, who came up huge against them in last year’s playoff series loss.
“The game was lost in a variety of ways,” said Beal, who scored only 13 points on 6-of-18 shooting. “Just bad possessions. And I feel like I had a lot of open shots that I should have made which could have put us in a better position to win the game.”
The Bulls will again play at home on Thursday, when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have been hampered by injuries all season long as well.