CSN to air 'Chicago Bulls Classics' telecasts featuring 15 of the greatest games in franchise history

CSN to air 'Chicago Bulls Classics' telecasts featuring 15 of the greatest games in franchise history

COMCAST SPORTSNET TO AIR CHICAGO BULLS CLASSICS TELECASTS FEATURING FIFTEEN OF THE GREATEST GAMES IN FRANCHISE HISTORY Chicago Bulls Classics, featuring BullsNBA Legend Michael Jordan in all 15 games, to debut Wednesday, November 2 at 7:30 PM; Comcast SportsNets Bulls announcers Neil Funk & Stacy King to host each telecast

Chicago, IL (October 19, 2011) Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Bulls, will provide viewers with a special trip down memory lane beginning in November as the network has announced it will replay 15 Chicago Bulls Classics telecasts, which will include EVERY championship-clinching game from each of the teams six NBA titles.

Beginning Wednesday, November 2 at 7:30 PM, this extraordinary, 15-week telecast schedule (hosted in-studio by Comcast SportsNets always-entertaining Bulls announcing tandem of Neil Funk & Stacy King) will look back at some of the greatest games in Bulls history, with every game featuring numerous highlight reel moments from Bulls legendPro Basketball Hall of Famer MICHAEL JORDAN.

Comcast SportsNet will televise the first of its 15 Chicago Bulls Classics on Wednesday night, November 2 at 7:30 PM with a game from February of 1987 that featured a young Jordan setting a new team regular season scoring record with 58 points. Additional games on Comcast SportsNets Chicago Bulls Classics schedule include Jordans The Shot over Craig Ehlo in 89, his shrug 3-point barrage from Game 1 of the 92 Finals, The Shot II against Cleveland from 93, his double-nickel performance from MSG just days after his return to the NBA in 95 plus, the championship-clinching telecasts from each of the Bulls six NBA titles (91 vs. LA Lakers, 92 vs. Portland, 93 vs. Phoenix, 96 vs. Seattle, 97 vs. Utah & 98 vs. Utah). NOTE: These games will only be made available within Comcast SportsNet Chicagos regular viewing territory.

Fans are also encouraged to visit Comcast SportsNets newly-enhanced Bulls section on CSNChicago.com (CSNChicago.comBulls), for the latest NBA news 247 from Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam, along with the latest video and expert blog entries on the sites new Bulls Talk section (CSNChicago.comBullsTalk).


Wednesday, November 2

7:30 PM February 26, 1987: New Jersey Nets at Chicago Bulls (Bulls win 128-113)

Michael Jordan sets a new all-time Bulls scoring record with 58 points; also sets new Bulls record of 2627 from the free throw line, including 19 straight; terrific post-game interview with the late Johnny Red Kerr asking MJ Whats next?the youthful Jordans response: an NBA Championship.

Wednesday, November 9

7:30 PM February 16, 1989: Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls (Bulls win 117-116)

Jordan scores 27 of his 50 points in 4th quarter, including a 20-footer with one second remaining on the clock.

Tuesday, November 15
7:30 PM May 7, 1989: Rd. 1, Gm. 5 - Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers (Bulls win 101-100)
The Shot: MJ hits game-winning shot at buzzer over Craig Ehlo giving the Bulls a huge first round upset against the Cavs.

Tuesday, November 22

7:30 PM June 12, 1991: NBA Finals, Gm. 5 - Chicago Bulls at LA Lakers (Bulls win 108-101)

Bulls celebrate first NBA Championship; Jordan scores 30 points, to go along with ten assists and five steals; coverage includes post-game locker room coverage of MJ clutching the Larry OBrien NBA Championship Trophy with his father James Jordan at his side.

Wednesday, November 30
7:30 PM June 3, 1992: NBA Finals, Gm. 1 - Portland Trailblazers at Chicago Bulls (Bulls win 122-89)

Jordans infamous shrug told the story as he was six of ten from three-point range w35 points in the first half.

Tuesday, December 6

7:30 PM June 14, 1992: NBA Finals, Gm. 6 - Portland Trailblazer at Chicago Bulls (Bulls win 97-93)

Bulls win back-to-back NBA titles and celebrate their first home court championship at Chicago Stadium.

Tuesday, December 13

7:30 PM May 17, 1993: Rd. 2, Gm. 4 - Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers (Bulls win 103-101)

Jordan hits game-ending, series-clinching Shot IIreminiscent of his playoff series-clincher at CLE four years earlier.

Tuesday, December 20

7:30 PM May 31, 1993: E. Conf. Finals, Gm. 4 - New York Knicks at Chicago Bulls (Bulls win 105-95)

On this Memorial Day telecast, MJ shines once again with a stellar 54-point performance that tied the series at 2-2.

Tuesday, December 27

7:30 PM June 16, 1993: NBA Finals, Gm. 4 - Phoenix Suns at Chicago Bulls (Bulls win 111-105)

The Bulls go up 3-1 in the Finals against Sir Charles & the Suns as Jordan dominates with 55 points.

Tuesday, January 3

7:30 PM June 20, 1993: NBA Finals, Gm. 6 - Chicago Bulls at Phoenix Suns (Bulls win 128-113)

John Paxson hits 3-point championship-winning shot with 3.9 seconds left, giving the Bulls their first three-peat.

Monday, January 9

7:30 PM March 28, 1995: Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks (Bulls win 113-111)

In just his fifth game back from retirement, 45 Jordan scores 55 points and sets up Bill Wennington for a game-winning slam dunk at the famed Madison Square Garden.

Monday, January 16
7:30 PM June 16, 1996: NBA Finals, Gm. 6 - Seattle Supersonics at Chicago Bulls (Bulls win 87-75)

Bulls cap off record-breaking 72-10 regular season by downing the Sonics at the United Center for their 4th NBA title.

Monday, January 23

7:30 PM June 11, 1997: NBA Finals, Gm. 5 - Chicago Bulls at Utah Jazz (Bulls win 90-88)

A flu-stricken, yet determined Michael Jordan scores a game-high 38 points, giving the Bulls a 3-2 Finals series edge.

Monday, January 30
7:30 PM June 13, 1997: NBA Finals, Gm. 6 - Utah Jazz at Chicago Bulls (Bulls win 90-86)

Steve Kerr scores a 17-footer with five seconds left in the 4th quarter, followed by Toni Kukoc cementing the deal with a slam dunk with 0.6 seconds left, as the Bulls send the UC crowd into delirium winning their 5th NBA title.

Monday, February 6

7:30 PM June 14, 1998: NBA Finals, Gm. 6 - Chicago Bulls at Utah Jazz (Bulls win 87-86)

Jordan hits historic game-winning shot as the Bulls clinch their sixth NBA Championship; MJ finishes with 45 points in his final appearance in a Bulls uniform; named NBA Finals MVP for the sixth time.
All times are Central TimeSchedule Subject to Change

Taj Gibson starting for Bulls on Opening Night puts spotlight on shooting

Taj Gibson starting for Bulls on Opening Night puts spotlight on shooting

The Bulls’ starting five is set and healthy before Thursday’s season opener against the Boston Celtics, with Fred Hoiberg announcing that Taj Gibson will start at power forward after his strong preseason.

Or, if one chooses to be a little more realistic, Gibson won the competition in large part due to Nikola Mirotic’s underwhelming showing, as Mirotic came into camp as the favorite with his outside shooting making him a more natural fit offensively.

With Gibson’s insertion, the Bulls will be one of the worst 3-point shooting starting fives in the league, although Mirotic and Doug McDermott can balance things out when they’re on the floor.

“We feel like he has played excellent basketball throughout the preseason,” said Hoiberg of Gibson. “He’s been good in practices. We’ve talked to our guys about that. Niko has had a couple good practices in a row now. You try to get him in a good rhythm coming out of the gate. But that’s the way we’re going to start.”

Hoiberg has touted Mirotic’s practices as being stellar, but he struggled though most of the preseason. It seemed like Hoiberg was attempting to give Mirotic the benefit of the doubt before announcing what should’ve been obvious to those who’ve watched the Bulls in the preseason, that Gibson was the better performer.

“Taj is a fighter,” said Jimmy Butler, who wasn’t surprised with the outcome. “That’s one thing you know you’re going to get from him. He’s one of the toughest guys that we have, somebody that’s always working.”

One of Butler’s main concerns last season was that the Bulls lost their defensive identity, that their toughness left the building when Tom Thibodeau was fired and the offensive-minded Hoiberg was ushered in.

Presumably, Gibson’s nod can be taken as a return to the Bulls’ roots—although anyone in their right mind wouldn’t be wrong to think if Mirotic had been the least bit consistent, he would be a starter and Gibson would be a reserve.

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“I think everybody is trying, man,” Butler said. “I’m not going to say that we’ve got the best defenders, that’s for sure, but as long as you’re putting in the effort. Sometimes good defense is just getting in the damn way. I’m telling you.”

The Bulls finished as a middle of the pack team in terms of defensive efficiency last season, but experienced a steep decline after the All-Star break, leading to their first lottery appearance since 2008.

“As long as guys are out there competing, we’ll take it if someone hits a tough shot over you or whatever,” Butler said. “When we think about the offensive end entirely too much that’s when we get down a lot.”

With Dwyane Wade, Butler and Rajon Rondo needing Mirotic to provide the necessary floor spacing to keep defenses honest, it means there’s more pressure on Hoiberg to stagger minutes and alter his rotations early in games.

Wade has shot the ball well in the preseason, but is a career 28-percent shooter from deep. Rondo shot 36.5 percent last season but like Wade, is at 28 percent for his career.

Butler is the best of the bunch, having shot 37.8 percent in 2014-15 but dipped to 31 percent last year, and is a 32.8 percent shooter for his career.

“We just have to step up, take them, shoot them with confidence like we do every day in practice,” Butler said. “I think we’ll be fine. As long as we’re guarding, the offense will take care of itself. We’re constantly in attack mode. There’s more than just shooting 3s.”

Which means a tough task just became all the more complicated. Hoiberg typically replaced Wade with McDermott midway through the first quarter and then brings Wade back to finish up in place of Butler.

More tinkering and some downright wizardry will have to be worked for things to go smoothly—but then again, it doesn’t have to be smooth to be effective.

“if we can things staggered it the right way---and we’ll continue to look at things---what you see on Thursday might not be what you see in the middle of the season,” Hoiberg said. “We have to start somewhere. We’re comfortable with the lineup and the rotation plan we have.”

Cubs not surprised 'good dude' Mike Napoli is on another winning team

Cubs not surprised 'good dude' Mike Napoli is on another winning team

CLEVELAND — As the Cubs readied themselves to play in the franchise’s first World Series game since 1971, a number of players were able to look over at the Cleveland Indians and seen an opposing team transformed by good-dude-in-chief Mike Napoli.

Those players, specifically, were catcher David Ross and starters Jon Lester and John Lackey, all of whom teamed up with Napoli to win the 2013 World Series with the Boston Red Sox. 

“I know their players are going to be ready just based on one player alone and that’s Mike Napoli, I know what he brings to the table,” Lester said during the Cubs’ pennant-clinching celebration. “He helped transform our 2013 team.”

Napoli’s impact on the 2016 Indians stretches beyond his career high totals in home runs (34), RBIs (102) and runs (92). While he was only worth 1.0 WAR despite those gaudy totals, Napoli’s unquantifiable presence on the field and in the clubhouse helped keep Cleveland from breaking apart despite injuries to outfielder Michael Brantley and starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. 

“Having a guy that’s playing every day can unify the group is really tremendous,” Indians hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo said. “I think it’s undervalued sometimes.”

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Napoli played a key part in the Red Sox’ worst-to-first turnaround in 2013, quickly becoming a leader in a clubhouse Lackey said was a “zoo.” It was one of the 34-year-old’s best seasons in the majors, too — he hit 23 home runs with an .842 OPS — and he became a guy his teammates knew they could trust to come through in key situations. 

“He’s a guy you want in your foxhole,” Lackey said. “He’s a winner. He steps up in big situations and wants to be in them. I’m not surprised to see him on another winning team for sure.”

Ross sees a lot of Napoli in the personality first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who’s emerged as one of the Cubs’ best leaders during their rapid ascendance to the top of the National League over the last two years. 

“When you do things with Rizzo off the field, you have a good time. Napoli’s one of those guys (too),” Ross said. “No matter what you’re doing, you’re going to enjoy yourself. He’s one of those guys you’re like, Yep, I gotta have Napoli go with me, I gotta have Rizz go with me, because we’re going to have fun.”

A few minutes after Ross, Lester and Lackey filed out of Progressive Field’s posh club lounge, Napoli walked in wearing a Party at Napoli’s T-shirt. Ross said he wanted to get his hands on one of those shirts in time for Monday’s World Series media day, but had to settle for wearing a Cubs hoodie. But the whole “Party at Napoli’s” thing encompasses why he’s been such a good fit in clubhouses in Cleveland, Boston, and everywhere else he’s been in the majors. 

“I’m just myself,” Napoli said. “I like to have a good time, I enjoy my teammates on and off the field.”

Said Lackey: “He’s a great teammate, a gamer and just a good dude.”