Miller: Stopping Lynch should be top priority

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Miller: Stopping Lynch should be top priority

The Chicago Bears (8-3) face a Seattle Seahawks (6-5) team clawing to keep their playoff hopes alive. Seattle is coming off a close, gut-wrenching 24-21 loss to the Miami Dolphins last week. The biggest key to the game was Miamis ability to shut down Seattles biggest playmaker: running back Marshawn Lynch.
Former NFL executive Pat Kirwin and I caught up with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll during this week on SiriusXM NFL Radio. Carroll discussed the reasons why Lynch was unsuccessful. It may very well be the key for the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
The Seahawks rushed for only 96 total yards against the Dolphins. Lynch, for that matter, only averaged a paltry 2.4 yards per rush on 19 attempts for 46 total yards. After watching the game, Carroll seemed to think the Seahawks interior offensive line was the issue.
Carroll stated, We really got pushed very aggressively by their inside guys on our guards and center, that kind of set the tone for the game on the day.
Carroll felt his offensive tackle play was serviceable, but explained the offensive rushing problems were solely on the interior.
They beat us inside a little bit for really the first time that happened to us in a game. They got off on us really well in a number of ways and pressured us a little bit. It wasnt just the Seahawks offensive line; the Dolphins' defense was stuffing on the inside," Carroll said. The Dolphins knocked some runs around which were uncharacteristic in that Marshawn had to take a couple losses. He did not get a chance to get going very much.
Undeterred with their lack of success running the football through the first half, Carroll gave a window into the Seahawks mindset when he said, Very frustrated with that and, of course, we are committed to it so we kept pounding away and it did not work out as well as we wanted."
The Bears' defensive line has had plenty of time to study the Dolphin game tape. When watching the game Sunday, try and focus on the Bears' defensive tackles and see if they have similar push against the Seahawks' interior line. If the Bears are able to win the interior battle stopping Lynch, their percentages of winning increase greatly.

Bulls can't answer Wesley Matthews' game-winner in loss to Mavericks

Bulls can't answer Wesley Matthews' game-winner in loss to Mavericks

It was believed the Bulls needed no extra motivation going against a Dallas Mavericks team that's a half-game away from being worst in the Western Conference.

The Mavericks gave them a 25-point shellacking in Texas last month, giving the Bulls enough film to make a horror show. Usually these instances even out over 82 games.

But this is no ordinary season for the Bulls, and the Mavericks again emerged victorious when Wesley Matthews got free for a triple on one end and locked up his college teammate Jimmy Butler on the other end, leading to a 99-98 Mavericks win.

It looked like another Butler special when Butler nailed a step-up, contested jumper over Matthews to give the Bulls a 98-96 lead, completing his 24-point night.

But Matthews was undeterred, breaking free on the wing for a triple when Dwyane Wade had to help Nikola Mirotic on a Deron Williams drive with 11.7 seconds left.

And on the final possession, the Bulls' spacing looked gummed up when Butler couldn’t shake free of Matthews, forcing him to pitch it to Wade, who put up a heavily contested 21-foot jumper from the baseline

It caromed off the rim, and the Mavericks danced happily off the floor for their first three-game winning streak of the year, this win completing a season sweep of the Bulls.

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Butler scored 24 with 12 assists and nine rebounds but was 5-for-12 from the field as Matthews was in his chest all night. Wade had a strong fourth quarter on his 35th birthday but missed 13 of his 21 shots to score 17.

Six Mavericks scored in double figures, led by Harrison Barnes' 20 and Seth Curry's 18 as the Mavericks made 11 triples and had 27 assists, frustrating the Bulls.

With scoring at a premium, Robin Lopez had a season-high 20 points being guarded by Dirk Nowitzki — and they were necessary considering the Bulls were without Taj Gibson (ankle injury) and Doug McDermott couldn't repeat his 30-point showing from Sunday in Memphis.

Rick Carlisle has long been regarded as one of the top strategic coaches, and though he doesn’t have the usual personnel from the Mavericks' salad days, he had enough tricks up his sleeve to throw the Bulls off.

The Mavericks started Nowitzki at center, going to an almost all-small lineup. And though Lopez scored 14 in the first half, trying to feed him seemed to take the Bulls out of it in the second half.

The Mavericks played tougher and smarter with their personnel, and the Bulls got to see what happens when Wade or Butler can't save the day.

Bulls' Rajon Rondo oddly runs behind back of former coach Rick Carlisle

Bulls' Rajon Rondo oddly runs behind back of former coach Rick Carlisle

Is Rajon Rondo avoiding his former coach?

During Tuesday night's Bulls-Mavericks game, Rondo awkwardly ran behind Mavs coach Rick Carlisle as the third quarter was winding down.

Take a look at the play in the video above.

Rondo, who played with the Mavericks in the 2014-15 season, had a weird relationship with Carlisle. Most notably, he and Carlisle had a heated exchange during a game on Feb. 24, 2015 against the Toronto Raptors. It eventually led to Carlisle saying that Rondo was a bad fit for the Mavericks and that the team should have never traded for him.

On Tuesday, Rondo apparently shook Carlisle's hand before he checked in the game for the first time in the first quarter. 

All is well, it seems, but that was still weird.