Bulls to celebrate championship anniversary

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Bulls to celebrate championship anniversary

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Posted: 11:08 a.m. Updated: 3:27 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

Although he's a Chicago native, the face of the Bulls has a hard time recalling the franchise's first championship. Not because he was in a celebratory haze, but because "I was 2," Derrick Rose told reporters before Friday's win over the Hawks.

"To tell you the truth, it had to be when I was in grammar school, like fifth or sixth grade, just watching the Bulls, wanting to get Jordan shoes--I wasn't able to, but wanting to get them--but just being a fan. I wasn't an NBA fan or anything--I was a Bulls fan, of course--but most of the time, I was always in the parks, just playing basketball myself, so I wasn't that tuned in to every game that they played. But in the playoffs, you had to watch," recounted Rose about his memories of the era in general. "I remember watching games--everybody in my living room, watching big games--but I never paid attention to them."

"I just remember having a shirt on--after they won a championship, guys on the streets would sell shirts with the newspaper article on it--I remember having on one of those shirts."

At halftime of Saturday's matchup with the Utah Jazz--fitting, as the Jazz fell to the Bulls in the NBA Finals in Chicago's last two championships; additionally, it will be the first time Utah visits the United Center since three of its former players (Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver and Carlos Boozer, who is unlikely to play in the contest because of a sprained left ankle) defected to Chicago over the summer--the organization will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the team's first title. Expected to be on hand are Scottie Pippen (the Hall of Famer is currently the team's ambassador), Horace Grant (the power forward sat courtside with Pippen at Friday's game) and others, including Michael Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.

Pippen previously told Bulls.com, "Of all my six championships, the first one is the one I treasure the most."

Perhaps that's because, unlike their vaunted 72-win season or any of their other fabled campaigns, the Bulls weren't expected to pull off the feat in the 1990-91 season. After years of playoff frustration against the Boston Celtics and hated Detroit Pistons, few truly believed the upstarts from Chicago could defeat the Magic Johnson and the heralded Los Angeles Lakers.

However, behind the transcendent talent of Jordan and the emergence of a young Pippen--while Jordan's legendary right-to-left soaring layup was the lasting image of the series, Pippen's defense against Johnson was considered the turning point--Bulls head coach Phil Jackson's team began its run of six championships. The current version of the Bulls, while certainly aware of the significance of the anniversary (although they'll likely miss the halftime celebration, as Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau plans to keep them in the locker room for the intermission), will use the festivities for motivation.

I know tomorrows going to be a big celebration, but whats the celebration if we lose? Were not trying to do that, said Rose after Friday's win. Were trying to focus on winning. The celebration is great, I hope that Im able to do that one day, but were just trying to focus on Utah.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

J.T. Barrett becomes Buckeyes' all-time TD leader in crushing of Rutgers

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J.T. Barrett becomes Buckeyes' all-time TD leader in crushing of Rutgers

J.T. Barrett threw an interception on Ohio State’s first offensive possession, but that was in no way an indication of how his day would go.

The redshirt junior became the program’s all-time leader in touchdown passes Saturday, throwing four in the first half in a 58-0 blowout of Rutgers at Ohio Stadium.

Despite a slowish start for Ohio State — it was just 6-0 after a quarter — Barrett and the Buckeyes turned on the jets in a 24-point second quarter and ended up out-gaining the Knights, 360-84, in the first 30 minutes of play. That trend continued after halftime, too, with Ohio State adding four more touchdowns, all of them of the rushing variety to turn this one into a merciless blowout.

After Barrett's interception, Ohio State scored on every drive until the game's last, when a fourth-and-goal try from 11 yards out was unsuccessful. That included seven straight touchdown drives.

Barrett had touchdown passes to four different receivers in the first half: Curtis Samuel, Dontre Wilson, Marcus Baugh and Terry McLaurin. Barrett's day was over before the third quarter was, and he finished 21-for-29 with 238 yards to go along with that quartet of scoring throws. Samuel had a big first half with 70 receiving yards to go along with his touchdown catch and an additional 58 rushing yards. He finished with 154 total yards.

Mike Weber also had a huge day running the ball. He went for 144 yards on just 14 carries, including a 46-yard touchdown run.

And, as it’s been doing all season, the Buckeyes’ defense certainly came to play, blanking the Knights and limiting them to just 107 total yards on the game. With 84 of those in the first half, the Knights had a shocking second-half yardage total of just 23. Ohio State out-rushed Rutgers, 410-74, holding a ridiculous 669-107 total-yardage edge on the day.

Throwing the ball, Rutgers was 3-for-16 as a team.

Ohio State, the second-ranked team in the country, improved to a perfect 4-0 with the win and will take on Indiana next weekend.

Rutgers fell to 2-3 with the loss and takes on Michigan next weekend.

Blackhawks will consider breaking up Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane

Blackhawks will consider breaking up Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane

Saturday morning’s potential lineup looked different for a few reasons. First, there were more familiar faces, thanks to players trickling in after their World Cup of Hockey work.

Second, Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane weren’t on the same line. While part of that is because the Blackhawks are still short a few players, it’s also an experiment that could carry over into the regular-season.

Kane was with Nick Schmaltz and Artem Anisimov and Panarin was with Vinnie Hinostroza and Richard Panik and they’ll see how that works starting Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues. Granted, this is only part of the change. The main gist is to give Jonathan Toews, who hasn’t joined the Blackhawks for camp yet, a good playing partner on that top line. Still, it’s a first look coach Joel Quenneville would like to take.

"It’s definitely a thought process and we’re saying ‘Let’s have a look at it in camp," Quenneville said. "And maybe we can have a different look or something to think about, at least, going into the season with Johnny and Kaner being on different lines and having more balance on both lines."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The Blackhawks struggled with finding the right combinations, outside of that top line, last season. Panarin did play with Toews for a few games but the combination didn’t click as well as the Panarin-Kane one, and that second line of those two and Anisimov was quickly restored. This season the issues facing the Blackhawks’ forward depth are obvious, so it’s worth another look to see, once Toews gets here, if he and Panarin can get something going.

"[It’s] more so about having balance on both lines and having more depth and scoring throughout the lineup," Quenneville said.

BRIEFLY

- Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger and Brent Seabrook will also play vs. St. Louis.

- Quenneville said Duncan Keith (knee) is progressing well and, "we’re hoping that he can get a [preseason] game in or so."

- Scott Darling is slated to play the entire game against the Blues.