CSN announces 2012-13 Bulls game schedule & surrounding on-aironline coverage details

CSN announces 2012-13 Bulls game schedule & surrounding on-aironline coverage details

CHICAGO BULLS BASKETBALL RETURNS TO COMCAST SPORTSNET

Pre-Season Action begins Oct. 9, First Regular Season game on Nov. 2, Plus Live PrePost-Game Shows all season long and comprehensive nightly coverage on SportsNet Central, Highlight 2012-13 Schedule

CSNChicago.com to feature 247 reporting from Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam; website to also feature live video of Post-Game Press Conferences, Daily PlayerCoaches Interviews, Game Highlights,
plus - On-Air Talent Blogs, In-Game Twitter updates from CSN talent, Live Chats, Live interactive Scoreboard and more!

Chicago, IL (October 3, 2012) Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the two-time defending regular season NBA Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls (who also finished tied for the 2011-12 regular season with the NBAs best overall record at 50-16), is once again ready to deliver another thrill-packed season of NBA excitement with 42 live regular season Bulls games (20 home, 22 away), including in-depth pre-game and post-game shows, and the most thorough 247 online Bulls coverage to date on CSNChicago.com!

The 2012-13 Chicago Bulls regular season on Comcast SportsNet gets underway on Friday, November 2 as NBA All-Star Luol Deng, along with Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Richard Rip Hamilton, and the return of fan favorite Kirk Hinrich, visit the Central Division rival Cleveland Cavaliers at 6:30 PM (NOTE: Expanded coverage gets underway on Chicago Tribune Live presented by Captain Morgan at 5:00 PM; McDonalds Bulls Pre-Game Live begins at 6:00 PM). Kia Bulls Post Game Live immediately follows the game featuring Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeaus post-game press conference (to also be streamed on CSNChicago.com), along with live locker room player interviews and complete post-game analysis.

Comcast SportsNets first home game telecast of the 12-13 campaign takes place on Tuesday, November 6 vs. Orlando (with expanded, live coverage from the United Center beginning at 5:00 PM on Chicago Tribune Live; tip-off at 7:00 PM). (IMPORTANT NOTE: Even though it will not be carrying the game, Comcast SportsNet will be airing a special Opening Night edition of Kia Bulls Post Game Live immediately following the 2012-13 Bulls homeseason opener vs. Sacramento on Wed, Oct. 31 at approx. 9:30 PM).

In addition to the 42 regular season games, Comcast SportsNet will also televise six Bulls pre-season games starting on Tuesday, October 9 at 7:00 PM, when the Bulls host the Memphis Grizzlies. Additional pre-season match-ups will air on Oct. 12 vs. Cleveland (in Champaign, IL), Oct. 16 vs. Milwaukee (currently scheduled on CSN), Oct. 19 vs. Minnesota, Oct. 23 vs. Oklahoma City (currently scheduled on CSN) and Oct. 26 vs. Indiana (in South Bend, IN).

Fans can also look forward to a thorough look ahead to the upcoming BullsNBA season on SportsNet Central: Chicago Bulls Season Preview on Tuesday, October 30 at 10:30 PM. The season preview special will feature interviews with Bulls playerscoaches, along with a review of all the off-season transactions from the around the league and how these moves impact the Bulls this season.

This seasons Bulls regular season schedule on Comcast SportsNet features 27 games against Eastern Conference foes, ten of which are against Central Division opponents. In addition, Comcast SportsNets Bulls schedule features a highly-anticipated home court battle against reigning NBA Champions LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat (Mar 27), plus three games against the defending Atlantic Division champion Boston Celtics (Nov. 11, Dec. 18 & Feb. 13), a road rematch against last seasons NBA Playoffs first round opponent Philadelphia (Dec. 12), a pair of road games against Carmelo Anthony and the rival New York Knicks (Dec. 21 & Jan. 11), home game against Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and rising L.A. Clippers (Dec. 11), the teams first-ever road game against the newly-located Brooklyn Nets (Feb. 1), and both the home and road match-ups against the defending regular season Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs (Feb. 11 & Mar. 6). (See attached sheet for Comcast SportsNets complete 2011-12 pre-season and regular season Bulls schedule).

For the fifth-straight season, veteran Bulls play-by-play announcer Neil Funk will be teamed up with former Bulls standout center Stacey King, who will handle color analysis all season long. SportsNet Centrals Gail Fischer will be the primary courtside reporter for Bulls home game telecasts this season, along with Luke Stuckmeyer and Susannah Collins on a rotating basis.

McDonalds Bulls Pre-Game Live (featuring hosts Mark Schanowski and former NBABullsFighting Illini great Kendall Gill) is a half-hour pre-game show featuring a breakdown of the evenings match-up, interviews with coaches and players and a look at the other games around the NBA. McDonalds Bulls Pre-Game Live will air prior to every Bulls game this season with the exception of 6:00 PM game time starts (pre-game coverage for these games can be seen at 5:00 PM on Chicago Tribune Live presented by Captain Morgan featuring host David Kaplan; CTL will also be the place to hear from numerous BullsNBA experts all season long).

Following every game this season, viewers can look forward to the most comprehensive post-game wrap-up show on Kia Bulls Post Game Live. Kia Bulls Post Game Live (hosted by SchanowskiGill) will also feature live coverage of Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeaus post-game press conference and locker room interviews with Bulls players. Following the majority of evening Kia Bulls Post Game Live airings, viewers can catch GMC SportsNet Central at 10:00 & 10:30 PM and SportsNet Central presented by CLR at 12 Midnight with the most complete recap of the days top local and national sports news.

Five regular season and two pre-season Bulls games are currently scheduled to be telecast on Comcast SportsNet Plus (see attached schedule). Comcast SportsNet Plus (CSN) telecasts are provided to Comcast SportsNet affiliates and distributed to viewers when two live events are scheduled simultaneously. Comcast Cable and RCN subscribers can watch all CSN games on CLTV. Cable and satellite operators who do not carry CLTV will place CSN telecasts on a to-be-determined channel. Viewers can visit CSNChicago.com for the exact channel location of Comcast SportsNet, CSN, Comcast SportsNet HD and CSN HD telecasts in their area.

From an online perspective, Comcast SportsNets website, CSNChicago.com, delivers comprehensive 247 Bulls coverage all season long, including the following highlights:
Live stream of Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeaus postgame press conferences.
Video highlights from EVERY Bulls game that airs on Comcast SportsNet.
Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam returns for his fourth season covering all home and away games. Sam will also file daily storiesvideo reports (including reports from practice and shoot-arounds) and will make regular on-air appearances throughout the season on McDonalds Bulls Pre-Game Live, Chicago Tribune Live, SportsNet Central and in all Comcast SportsNet Bulls games, highlighting BullsTalk on CSNChicago.com.
In addition to his on-air duties, Bulls PrePost Game Live host Mark Schanowski will partner with Sam this season on CSNChicago.com providing multi-platform coverage via on-going blogs, weekly live chats, fan Q&A mailbag segments and much more. Fans can also follow Schanowski (@MarkSchanowski), Sam (@CSNBullsInsider) and Gail Fischer (@gailfisch) via Twitter 247 for the latest teamplayers news, insight and insider access.
Twitter users should follow @BullsTalkCSN for all the latest news and views about the Bulls and can join in the Bulls conversation using the hashtag BullsTalk when tweeting their Bulls-related thoughts and comments.
Interactive Scoreboard featuring real-time, live data combined with timely editorial and compelling elements such as up-to-the-second game stats, detailed box score & play-by-play, photos, out of town scoreboard, Twitter feeds from talent and VIPs, LIVE in-game chat sessions, team headlines and much more.
In addition, CSNChicago.com will work closely with NBCSports.com and its ProBasketballTalk blog, plus CSNChicago.com brings back its Bulls Talk blog, a high-frequency blog covering all Bulls news, rumors, trades, etc., which will include contributions from Sam, Schanowski and Gill as they lend their knowledge and expertise to the latest happenings in the Central Division, as well as league-wide. It will also include special Sam and Sam weekly video segments, featuring CSNChicago.coms Aggrey Sam and Bulls.coms Sam Smith, talking up the Bulls and the NBAs biggest headlines.
Bulls content this season will also be distributed via its digital network of partnerships including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, NBCSports.com, SB Nation and Bleacher Report.

COMCAST SPORTSNET CHICAGO
2012-13 Chicago Bulls Schedule

Preseason:
1. Tue, Oct 9 vs. Memphis 7:00 pm
2. Fri, Oct 12 vs. Cleveland (Champaign, IL) 7:00 pm
3. Tue, Oct 16 vs. Milwaukee 7:00 pm CSN
4. Fri, Oct 19 vs. Minnesota 7:00 pm
5. Tue, Oct 23 vs. Oklahoma City 7:00 pm CSN
6. Fri, Oct 26 vs. Indiana (South Bend) 6:00 pm

Regular Season:
1. Fri, Nov 2 @ Cleveland 6:30 pm
2. Tue, Nov 6 vs. Orlando 7:00 pm
3. Mon, Nov 12 vs. Boston 7:00 pm
4. Wed, Nov 14 @ Phoenix 8:00 pm CSN
5. Wed, Nov 21 @ Houston 7:00 pm
6. Mon, Nov 26 vs. Milwaukee 7:00 pm
7. Wed, Nov 28 vs. Dallas 7:00 pm
8. Wed, Dec 5 @ Cleveland 7:00 pm
9. Fri, Dec 7 @ Detroit 6:30 pm CSN
10. Tue, Dec 11 vs. Los Angeles Clippers 8:30 pm
11. Wed, Dec 12 @ Philadelphia 6:30 pm
12. Mon, Dec 17 @ Memphis 7:00 pm
13. Tue, Dec 18 vs. Boston 7:00 pm CSN
14. Fri, Dec 21 @ New York 6:30 pm
15. Wed, Dec 26 @ Indiana 6:00 pm
16. Wed, Jan 2 @ Orlando 6:00 pm
17. Wed, Jan 9 vs. Milwaukee 7:00 pm
18. Fri, Jan 11 @ New York 7:00 pm
19. Mon, Jan 14 vs. Atlanta 7:00 pm
20. Wed, Jan 16 @ Toronto 6:00 pm
21. Wed, Jan 23 vs. Detroit 7:00 pm
22. Fri, Jan 25 vs. Golden State 7:00 pm
23. Mon, Jan 28 vs. Charlotte 7:00 pm
24. Wed, Jan 30 @ Milwaukee 7:00 pm
25. Fri, Feb 1 @ Brooklyn 6:30 pm
26. Fri, Feb 8 @ Utah 9:30 pm
27. Mon, Feb 11 vs. San Antonio 7:00 pm
28. Wed, Feb 13 @ Boston 6:30 pm
29. Tue, Feb 19 @ New Orleans 7:00 pm CSN
30. Tue, Feb 26 vs. Cleveland 7:00 pm
31. Wed, Mar 6 @ San Antonio 8:00 pm
32. Fri, Mar 8 vs. Utah 7:00 pm
33. Wed, Mar 13 @ Sacramento 9:00 pm
34. Mon, Mar 18 vs. Denver 7:00 pm CSN
35. Thu, Mar 21 vs. Portland 7:00 pm
36. Wed, Mar 27 vs. Miami 7:00 pm
37. Sat, Mar 30 @ Dallas 1:00 pm
38. Tue, April 2 @ Washington 6:00 pm
39. Fri, April 5 vs. Orlando 7:00 pm
40. Sun, April 7 @ Detroit 6:30 pm
41. Tue, April 9 vs. Toronto 7:00 pm
42. Wed, April 17 vs. Washington 7:00 pm

6 pre-season, 42 regular season (20 Home, 22 Road regular season)
Total 48 Games
All Times Central Time Schedule Subject to Change

NBC Sports Regional Networks, part of the NBC Sports Group, consists of 14 local networks that deliver more than 2,400 sporting events annually along with breaking news and comprehensive analysis to more than 50 million cable and satellite homes. The NBC Sports Regional Networks are: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Comcast SportsNet California, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Comcast SportsNet New England, Comcast SportsNet Northwest, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, SNY, CSS, Comcast Sports Southwest, and Comcast SportsNet Houston (launching October 2012). NBC Sports Regional Networks also manages NECN (New England Cable News), the nations largest regional news network, and The Comcast Network, based in Philadelphia and Washington, which delivers community-oriented programming. For more information, visit CSNChicago.com or ComcastSportNet.com.

No need for Cubs to overreact when best years should be in front of Kris Bryant and Addison Russell

No need for Cubs to overreact when best years should be in front of Kris Bryant and Addison Russell

There’s no need to overreact when the injuries pile up and the Cubs lose 6-of-7 games in June, because Kris Bryant and Addison Russell are still possibly years away from their best seasons in an organization loaded with young talent.
 
Bryant and Russell have been such integral parts since debuting in April 2015 that it's hard to remember they're still around three-to-five years away from their prime. They're also in a perfect situation to keep developing, not having to worry about carrying the weight of the franchise on their shoulders, the way Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro used to feel those responsibilities.
 
The pressure is spread out among a young core, a battle-tested group of veterans and a manager that loves the spotlight. All of that can help explain why each player has avoided the dreaded "sophomore slump" that sometimes plagues second-year players in the big leagues.
 
"Last year, I thought both of them fought through some really different moments their first year up," Joe Maddon said. "And that's what it's really all about. The sophomore slump, for me, is where the league adjusts to you, and then you adjust back to the league. That's the definition."
 
Bryant currently has an OPS that’s 19 points higher than his 2015 numbers, while Russell's OPS is 23 points higher entering play Monday, and both second-year players have seen major improvement in important areas.
 
Bryant led the league with 199 strikeouts last season, but has seen his strikeout percentage drop from 30.6 percent to 23 percent this season. He's on track for about 162 strikeouts in 2016.
 
Russell, meanwhile, has experienced just an incremental decrease in strikeout percentage (from 28.5 to 27.2 percent), but he has seen a nice jump in walk rate (from 8 percent in 2015 to 11.2 percent this season). Despite drawing only one free pass in his last eight games, Russell is on track for 68 walks, which would've ranked 12th in the National League overall last season and first among shortstops. 
 
"The guys that don't adjust back quickly enough really have an extended period of negative moments," Maddon said. "I think they learned a lot last year. They made a lot of adjustments. Both of them made swing adjustments last year. And that, I think, is permitting their success this year.
 
"Addison's propensity to get big hits is unbelievable, and now he's using the whole field. He's not chasing balls out of the strike zone. Those are the adjustments he had to learn how to do last year when he was going badly, and now he's doing them.
 
"They're both going to hit a bad stretch, there's no question. But I think they're better able to handle that based on their experience from last year."
 
Bryant has settled in as one of the premier offensive threats in the game by following up his 2015 campaign (26 homers, 99 RBI) with a pace for 39 homers and 112 RBI.
 
In spring training, he said he considered 2016 an extension of his rookie season, just with a three-month break off in between. But as the regular season hit, he took that sort of thinking to another gear.
 
"I feel a lot more focused this whole year," Bryant said. "I don't know why. I don't know if it's a whole other level or just extra determination or the fact that I know we have a good team and we really want to win.
 
"I just feel really good up there. I feel like I'm having some quality at-bats. I'm doing all I can to help. I'm in a good spot."
 
Russell, meanwhile, has developed a reputation as a clutch hitter, posting a .429 average, 1.237 OPS and 23 RBI in 54 plate appearances in high-leverage situations. 
 
He's taken his game to another level at the biggest moments, not something often said about a 22-year-old with only 210 big-league games under his belt.
 
"Just a slow heart beat," Maddon said. "If you talk to the kid any time, he's always 'suavecito.' There's nothing really hurried about him. He's just got a great way about him.
 
"Again, he's going to keep getting better. Everybody's liking it when he's doing good. I'm here to tell you: He's going to get better."
 
However, Russell also just went through one of those bad stretches at the end of May/beginning of June where he hit .161 with a .569 OPS through 18 games, striking out 23 times. He felt he had gotten too passive during that span.
 
When the St. Louis Cardinals swept the Cubs at Wrigley Field last week, Russell stared at strike three right down the middle during his first trip to the plate. He instantly made a mental adjustment to be more aggressive and responded with three straight hits to close out that first game.
 
"I've been feeling good," he said. "I've been seeing the ball well. Just taking an opportunity of swinging the bat at the right moment. I felt like early on in that game, watching two balls go by that I would normally do some damage with, I kind of took it hard and realized maybe I'm letting these pitches go too frequently. 
 
"I still feel more comfortable [overall this season]. It's just a daily grind, man. You're going to go through these funks. You're going to hit balls day-to-day that don't tend to fall. You normally don't want to change anything, so my approach is just to stay the same, and I want to take my walks as well."
 
The Cubs understand this is a long season filled with adversity, injuries and losing streaks. But if Bryant and Russell cannot be considered sophomores anymore, would their maturity and advanced approaches put them at a junior level?
 
"I think so. Favorite year in high school, by far," Maddon said. "You're totally free your junior year. SATs don't matter. PSATs are OK. I got my license, among other things. It was a really good time."

Cubs ace Jake Arrieta nominated for two ESPY Awards

Cubs ace Jake Arrieta nominated for two ESPY Awards

Jake Arrieta had a 2015 season for the ages, and was rewarded for it by winning the National League Cy Young Award, becoming the fifth player in Cubs history to accomplish that feat.

He's also been nominated for a pair of ESPY awards because of it: best breakthrough athlete and best MLB player.

After struggling to find his groove in four seasons with the Baltimore Orioles (20-25, 5.46 ERA), Arrieta turned it around in Chicago, particularly in 2015 when he erupted for a 22-6 record with a 1.77 ERA. 

The Cubs ace followed that up in 2016 by jumping out to a 9-0 start, and went nearly a calendar year without a loss.

He's also one of 26 pitchers in MLB history to have thrown more than one no-hitter, and did so 11 starts apart from each other.

The voting ends at 7 p.m. CT on July 13, when the ESPY Awards will take place. Cast your vote here.

Report: Pau Gasol tells Bulls he has declined option, becoming a free agent

Report: Pau Gasol tells Bulls he has declined option, becoming a free agent

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but Pau Gasol is hitting the market.

Gasol told the Bulls that he has declined his option for the 2016-17 season and will become a free agent, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

The 35-year-old signed a three-year, $22.3 million deal with the Bulls in the summer of 2014.

In two seasons with the Bulls, he averaged 17.6 points per game and 11.4 rebounds and made an All-Star appearance.