Bulls' Robinson has Seattle reunion vs. Wolves

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Bulls' Robinson has Seattle reunion vs. Wolves

On one hand, Timberwolves point guard Will Conroy, a journeyman hoping to make Minnesotas roster, isnt at those Berto Center practices, so he doesnt know the wrath of Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.

On the other hand, hes known Nate Robinson since their pre-teen days and played alongside him at the University of Washington.

I think Nates smart enough to figure it out. One thing I know about Nate is Nates going to be Nate. Thats the reason why hes in the position hes in, being successful in the NBA. Sometimes they say what your strength is also your weakness, Conroy told CSNChicago.com, referencing, in part, his fellow Seattle natives off-the-backboard alley-oop in the Bulls win Tuesday over Milwaukee.

Hes smart enough to adapt to where he knows, Okay, I need to get on the floor. Im not going to do that, and when youre successful at a high rate, coaches are going to allow it. I think the play was completed and Jimmy Butler finished it with a dunk, right? So it didnt look bad on SportsCenter.

Conroy has known Robinson since the diminutive freak athlete was making a name in the sport that he was awarded a scholarship to college for... football.

He played for the rival team of my little league football team, so Ive kind of known Nate since we were in middle school, Conroy said of Robinson, who was a freshman starter at defensive back for Washington before giving up the sport to play basketball on a full-time basis, and whose father, Jacques, was an NFL player.

Just like Darren Sproles. Hes the same kind of talent. Nate, hes one of those guys, when he gets the ball in his hands, its so hard to bring him down. Watching him play football, he scored like six or seven touchdowns in a high school game. He was one of those guys, when the ball gets in his hands, hes going to make something special happen.

When Conroy and Robinson played together at Washington, Conroy was the Huskies point guard and Timberwolves starting shooting guard Brandon Roy, also shared some of the ballhandling duties. Robinson was mostly deployed as a scorer, something hes known as in the NBA, but Conroy, a traditional playmaker whos excelled in the D-League but has yet to find a permanent NBA home, thinks his former teammate has made a lot of progress.

Hes made great adjustments. Hes matured so much at the point-guard position. I thought it started a lot when he went to Boston and kind of continued on when he was in Golden State, and I watched him play when he played us in Minnesota last week, he observed. Hes really starting to understand the position, and pick and choose when to get his, and look for other guys continuously. Ive thought, so far, hes done a great job in transitioning to being a true point guard.

Friday was a bit of Seattle and Washington reunion, as Robinson and Conroy guarded each other for a stretch, with Roy also on the court.

All Seattle people are a close-knit group. We all worked out in the summertime together and we all root for each other, said Conroy. When we see each other doing well, it just gives Seattle a bright spot.

Elena Delle Donne scores 18, leads Sky over Wings

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Elena Delle Donne scores 18, leads Sky over Wings

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Elena Delle Donne had 18 points and eight rebounds to help the Chicago Sky beat the Dallas Wings 92-85 on Sunday.

Courtney Vandersloot added 15 points and nine assists, Cappie Pondexter scored 14 and Erika de Souza had 12 for Chicago, which is sixth in the AP power poll.

The Sky (13-13) had an 18-1 run spanning the first and second quarters to make it 40-16 on de Souza's basket with 6:09 left in the first half.

The 10th-ranked Wings (9-18) cut the deficit to 60-54 in the third quarter but Chicago answered with a 12-3 run. From there, the Wings trailed by double-digits until a late 13-2 run brought them within 90-85 with 15 seconds left.

Odyssey Sims scored 22 points and Skylar Diggins added 16 to lead Dallas, which dropped its eighth in a row.

Cubs close out road trip with narrow loss to Dodgers

Cubs close out road trip with narrow loss to Dodgers

LOS ANGELES – Joe Maddon watched John Lackey board the team bus on Sunday morning wearing a Team USA onesie. The Cubs manager later noticed Aroldis Chapman in pajamas in the clubhouse on his way out to the dugout for his pregame media session at Dodger Stadium.

“We’ve created our own little culture, our own little identity,” Maddon said. “I just love the fact that they buy into those moments. Your stars are buying into it.”

The Cubs are in their own world, followed like rock stars on the road, freed from baseball’s unwritten rules and checked out from the daily anxiety and scoreboard-watching stress during a normal pennant race. 

But this afternoon still had a playoff-type atmosphere, with a crowd of 44,745 watching a scoreless game finally pivot in the eighth inning. Cubs reliever Trevor Cahill hit Andrew Toles with a pitch, jammed Howie Kendrick and threw the soft groundball into right field. An intentional walk to Corey Seager loaded the bases, setting up a matchup between Carl Edwards Jr. and the heart of the Los Angeles lineup.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

The rookie unleashed a 97-mph fastball and struck out Justin Turner on a foul tip. Edwards then went right back at Adrian Gonzalez, inducing a chopper toward third baseman Javier Baez, who threw the ball to second base. The Cubs missed escaping the jam by a split second, with Seager’s right foot sliding into second just before Ben Zobrist’s left foot touched the bag.

That would be the difference in a 1-0 loss that again showed the narrow margin between these two big-market, first-place teams. The Cubs needed 10 innings to secure a comeback win on Friday night before Los Angeles won one-run games on Saturday and Sunday at Dodger Stadium.  

The Cubs would still leave Los Angeles with a 14-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals, their magic number to clinch the division now 20, ending a West Coast trip with a onesies theme almost exactly one year after Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium, showing this team would be a force in October.

With John Lackey ramping up for return, could Cubs go to six-man rotation?

With John Lackey ramping up for return, could Cubs go to six-man rotation?

LOS ANGELES – John Lackey is ramping up for a return to the rotation and all those “Big Boy Games” the Cubs are supposed to play in October.

The Cubs expect Lackey to test his strained right shoulder and throw two bullpen sessions this week, manager Joe Maddon said Sunday at Dodger Stadium. If everything goes smoothly for the two-time World Series champion, the Cubs will tentatively schedule Lackey’s next start for either the Labor Day weekend showdown against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field, or near the beginning of a three-city road trip in early September.     

Lackey (9-7, 3.41 ERA) has accounted for 158-plus innings, making 24 starts and stabilizing the rotation before going on the disabled list on Aug. 15. Jason Hammel should eventually cool off and will be “well-rested” after Maddon’s quick hook on Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. The Cubs also like what they’ve seen from Mike Montgomery, believing the lefty can develop into a solid big-league starter.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

Could the Cubs go to a six-man rotation down the stretch?

“We haven’t planned that specifically yet,” Maddon said. “I’m not opposed, let me put it that way. We’ll see how it all plays out with Mikey the next time through. Again, to do anything we possibly can to conserve our arms for the end of the year is important. 

“It’s being proven throughout the industry right now. Moving forward, the biggest trick there is to get the sixth guy that you like. Most teams are clamoring to get (No.) 4 and 5. We got five that we like. Now we’re working on 6.”

It’s not like the Cubs are fighting for a wild-card spot or clinging to a one-game lead in the division. The best record in baseball allows them to look at the big picture and get creative in September. The counterargument to keeping starters fresh for October would be keeping creatures of habit like Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta in a rhythm. 

“Starting pitchers have always rallied to say that they need to stay on that particular plan,” Maddon said. “But I think it’s kind of been proven – just give them that extra day or two on occasion and it really benefits them. So I just think you’re fighting this old view of specifically how it needs to be done."