Bulls beaten at their own game by similarly-styled Grizzlies


Bulls beaten at their own game by similarly-styled Grizzlies

MEMPHISBeaten at their own game. Monday nights 80-71 loss to the Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum was the type of rugged, low-scoring, defensive-minded affair that the Bulls usually thrive in.

But against a team thats just as physical, feels like they should own the glass and has the depth to send waves of bodies against their opponents, as well as weather the storm through a rough start, the Bulls didnt have enough in the tank against Memphis.

The Bulls lost the battle of the boards for the third straight game and notched their lowest point total since scoring 67 points against Minnesota on Jan. 30, 2008.

But beyond that, the frustration and feeling of helplessness in the visitors locker room was palpable late Monday evening off of the famed Beale Street strip in the downtown section of the Bluff City.

The combination of frontcourt stars Zach Randolph and Marc Gasoldespite not having great offensive nightswearing the Bulls down inside as a major part of the Grizzlies 51-39 rebounding edge, underrated point guard Mike Conley Jr. and a bench featuring unlikely contributors like backup shooting guard Wayne Ellington and his trio of long bombs in the second quarter were key elements to the final result.

I think its always what we failed to do. Thats what you can control. I think our defense was pretty good. We just got out-rebounded. Weve got to do a better job of rebounding the ball as a team. We got a lot of good stops and then we ran in transition, Joakim Noah said afterwards.

Weve got to get better at scoring in transition. Were getting good stops and were getting out on the break, and were just not getting those easy points. Were turning the ball over a little bit too much on the break. If we can score on those, well be better.

Weve just got to get in the battle a little bit more. Theyre a great rebounding team. I think that the last game was a little bit different, he continued. Their physicality hurt us a little bit. Weve definitely got to a better job.

Its a step back because we lost. Thats the only reason why its a step back.

Kirk Hinrich added: They did a good job. We got off to a pretty decent start and we had some opportunities on the break we couldnt finish on. We struggled to get rebounds and struggled to score. We just didnt make shots tonight. Youve got to give them credit.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, never pleased after any defeat, seemed especially displeased with the aforementioned second stanza of the game.

I saw the second quarter was the problem. Outscored 28-14. Great first quarter, terrible second quarter. You dont rebound on the road, you dont take care of the ball, youre not going to win, he said. They play hard. Thats how they play. Youve got to take care of the ball and we didnt do that. Then, we didnt get back and got in a hole, big hole. The whole game changed in the second quarter.

We didnt cover the line, let guys get loose, not reading penetrating drives and flat drives, over-helping, not recognizing whats going on in the game, throwing possessions away. Cant do that, not against a quality team. Not against any team, Thibodeau continued, listing a litany of his teams failures and necessary adjustments.

When youre coming in, its going to be hard fought. Theyre a tough team, so youve got to fight, youve got to know what youre doing, youve got to make the right reads, youve got to sometimes give yourself up, youve got to cut with force, youve got to replace with force, youve got to make the right play, youve got to be willing to move the ball. When you do that, youre going to get good shots. When you dont do that, youre going to take tough shots.

However, as disappointed as the Bulls were with the loss, their opponents came away impressed. Randolph and Conley both shared their thoughts on the retooled Bulls, without superstar Derrick Rose, who played his lone season of college basketball in Memphis, with CSNChicago.com.

Obviously when youre missing an All-Star like Derrick, you cant really replace that with much in this league, but with Kirk and Nate, you know theyre going to try to run the offense and try to get other guys involved more. Theyre the Bulls not as point guard-oriented as they are with Derrick, so you just expect to not hit as many screens and not have to guard as much, Conley explained.

I think theyre one of the best defensive teams in the league. As long as you play D, you can beat anybody and regardless of who your personnel is, so with Derrick back, theyre one of the top teams in the East.

Randolph chimed in: Theyve got a good team. Theyve got Kirk running point. Kirk is solid. Theyre a good team and they can play. They play smart and theyve got a great coach.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and for a perfectionist like Thibodeau, things look grim right now. But when have things ever been pretty for these Bulls, still a respected team in the NBA, a team that requires opponents to take their best shot and perhaps most importantly, a team that, for the most part, is in every game, every night, regardless of the caliber of the competition.

Jake Arrieta brings his A-game as Cubs even up World Series

Jake Arrieta brings his A-game as Cubs even up World Series

CLEVELAND — The Cubs are a team that can make it hard to focus with so many big-money players running around, so much young talent bubbling up, all of Joe Maddon’s antics and ultimately so many different ways to beat their opponent.

That’s how Jake Arrieta going for a no-hitter in the World Series sort of became an afterthought on Wednesday night at Progressive Field. After getting shut out in Game 1, the Cubs lineup kept extending innings, making these Cleveland Indians pitchers work. Kyle Schwarber’s at-bats are becoming must-see TV more than six months after shredding his left knee. Honestly, Arrieta hasn’t been giving off that same best-pitcher-on-the-planet aura.

But this is exactly what a Cy Young Award winner is supposed to do, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning, shutting down the Indians in a 5-1 win and tying up this Fall Classic before Wrigley Field stages its first World Series game in 71 years on Friday night.

Arrieta had a 1-0 lead before he threw his first pitch in Game 2, working around back-to-back walks to Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli in the first inning and breathing a sigh of relief when Jose Ramirez drove a flyball out to the warning track in center field. Instead of those command issues signaling trouble, Arrieta got locked back in, retiring eight batters in a row from there, and 13 of the next 14, the Indians managing only two hits in the sixth inning.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

If the Indians are planning to start Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber two more times on short rest in this best-of-seven matchup — and unleash lefty reliever Andrew Miller at the most crucial moments — then the Cubs will need Arrieta to pitch like an ace.

Mission accomplished, even though Arrieta didn’t put a third no-hitter on his resume. Jason Kipnis — the Glenbrook North High School graduate who grew up a Cubs fan — ended Arrieta’s no-hit bid with one out in the sixth inning. Kipnis hit a ball into right-center field and hustled for a double, sliding headfirst into second base and eventually scoring on an Arrieta wild pitch.

Maddon gave Arrieta one more batter and pulled him after 98 pitches. If there were times last year where it felt like Arrieta had to be a one-man team, the Cubs now have an unrelenting lineup, the best defense in the game and a multidimensional bullpen, more than enough to win their first World Series since 1908.

Cubs roll over Indians to even up World Series

Cubs roll over Indians to even up World Series

CLEVELAND - The Cubs called their shot again.

The week after showing no sense of panic after being shut out by the Los Angeles Dodgers in back-to-back NLCS games, the Cubs once again exuded a calm confidence after running into the brick wall of the Cleveland Indians pitching to start the World Series.

From Joe Maddon to Anthony Rizzo to David Ross, the Cubs felt they had some nice at-bats against the Indians' best pitchers - Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen - but just couldn't score and predicted runs would be coming.

They were right, getting men on base early and often to win their first World Series game since 1945, a 5-1 victory over the Indians in front of 38,172 fans at Progressive Field Wednesday night.

The Cubs continued the trend of winning when scoring first as Rizzo drove home Kris Bryant with an RBI double in the top of the first inning.

From there, the Cubs added a solo tally in the third on Kyle Schwarber's RBI single and then broke out for three in the fifth on a Ben Zobrist triple, another Schwarber single and then an Addison Russell bases-loaded walk.

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The Cubs could've had more, leaving 13 on base in the first seven innings against starter Trevor Bauer and the Indians bullpen. The Cubs didn't go down in order until the top of the eighth. 

It was still all the offense Jake Arrieta needed as the reigning National League Cy Young winner took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Jason Kipnis doubled with one out.

Kipnis was the only Indians run of the game, scoring on a wild pitch two batters later.

Arrieta struck out six in 5.2 innings, surrendering only two hits, three walks and the solo tally.

The outing lowered Arrieta's 2016 postseason ERA to 3.78 and gave him his first victory this October.

Game 2 was moved up an hour because of impending rain and the move by Major League Baseball paid off as the Cubs and Indians didn't have to worry about any suspended game drama.

The two teams travel to Chicago for Games 3, 4 and 5 at Wrigley Field over the weekend.

Kyle Hendricks and Josh Tomlin will go in Game 3 Friday evening with the World Series now tied.