'Other' Hornets rookie Rivers has ties to Thibodeau, Chicago

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'Other' Hornets rookie Rivers has ties to Thibodeau, Chicago

If nothing else can be said about Tom Thibodeau, the man is consistent. Prior to the Bulls loss Saturday night to the Hornets, the coach was asked if hed take it easy on New Orleans rookie Austin Rivers, the son of his friend and former boss, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.

Shoot, Thibodeau responded, dragging out the word with a wry smile creeping onto his face. Hes a very gifted player and actually, his floor game has been very, very impressive. Hes dangerous with the ball, gives them a second guy that can break you down off the pick-and-roll.

Hes a great kid, the coach continued. In Boston, he was around the team a lot and he had a lot of confidence and poise, and very comfortable being on the floor against pros, even when he was in high school. So, hes been around the pro game his whole life. I think hes going to be a terrific player.

The younger Rivers was considered a top high-school prospect from an early age, then went on to have a lead role at Duke in his lone college season before being picked by the Hornets in the lottery. Despite being overshadowed by top overall pick Anthony Davis, the scoring combo guard has attracted plenty of attention.

Doc starred for Proviso East High School in nearby Maywood, Ill., before going to Marquette, then having a stellar NBA career and moving on to the coaching ranks. While Austin was raised in Orlando, where Doc coached the Magic, he still has plenty of ties to Chicago, just like teammate and Windy City native Davis, who missed Saturdays contest after suffering a concussion Friday.

It was amazing. I was here a couple years ago, for the McDonalds high school All-American game and Ive just been around here all my life because this is where my familys fromI had like eight relatives in the stands tonightso it was good to come out here and play well, and more importantly, get a win. This was a back-to-back game, on the road versus the Bulls. That shows what were capable of and how good we can be, Rivers said afterwards. Its tough, but we dont have Eric Gordon, the Hornets injured shooting guard, who was on the bench in street clothes after visiting a Chicago knee specialist or Ant. When you dont have two guys like that with you, it makes it tough.

I knew it was going to be tough and every point that I got tonight was tough. I had to work for it, continued the rookie, who scored nine points against Thibodeaus defense, something hes watched from afar for years. I thought we won the game today with our defense. To hold the Bulls, who execute really good in Chicago, to 82 points, thats pretty good.

Its getting better and better. If you look at my first game to my second game to tonight, I think Im getting better and better, and Ill continue to do that just because Ill be smarter. Its been a blast, he went on to say. For us to hold the Bulls to 82 points in Chicago off a back-to-back game, it shows our defensive capability and when we play that way, our offense will always be fine. We could be having an off night, but if we play defense like that, we still can win.

Its an adjustment and tonight I didnt shoot it my bestI havent shot the ball well, but its only been three games.

White Sox outlast Twins, 6-5, in 10 innings

White Sox outlast Twins, 6-5, in 10 innings

MINNEAPOLIS --- The White Sox managed to overcome several key mistakes to snap their three-game losing streak on Saturday night.

Dioner Navarro’s RBI double in the 10th helped erase a three-error inning and a blown save as well as another near-miss by the team’s bullpen in a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins in front of 27,914 at Target Field. Navarro, who finished with three hits, doubled in Garcia with one out after the outfielder started the 10th inning with his second double in five trips. David Robertson pitched a scoreless ninth to convert his 25th save.

Justin Morneau doubled, homered and drove in two as the White Sox improved to 51-53.

Melky Cabrera’s game-tying RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning let Matt Albers off the hook after he yielded a go-ahead, three-run homer to Eduardo Escobar in the bottom of the eight. Cabrera’s hit scored Tim Anderson, who went 3-for-5.

Miguel Gonzalez earned a no decision despite a strong finish to a fantastic month as he allowed two runs (one earned) in seven innings. Gonzalez had a 2.50 ERA in July

Adam Eaton: Players at fault if White Sox become sellers at trade deadline

Adam Eaton: Players at fault if White Sox become sellers at trade deadline

MINNEAPOLIS — If the White Sox trade away assets over the next two days, Adam Eaton said the blame is all on the players.

The right fielder, who was held out of Saturday’s game to rest bumps and bruises, said the White Sox have enough talent to be successful in spite of their injuries. Even with an improved roster, the White Sox entered Saturday with 50-53 mark as they’ve been inconsistent all season. While Eaton doesn’t want to see any of his teammates dealt before Monday’s 3 p.m. CST nonwaiver trade deadline, he could understand if they are.

“Oh yeah, and it’s our own fault,” Eaton said. “It’s the players’ fault. We play up to what we’re capable of playing, and it’s not even a discussion. Rick has gotta do what he’s gotta do to put us in the best position to be good now and later. Whatever he has to do, we’ve got to accept it as players because we put ourselves in this position.”

Eaton admitted he wasn’t in a very good mood before Saturday’s contest. He said the team’s losing ways haven’t been enjoyable — “losing sucks, man.” Disappointed with the team’s play since their 23-10 start, Eaton pointed at consistency as the club’s biggest issue. He didn’t cite injuries to a number of key players, including center fielder Austin Jackson and relievers Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam.

“(Injuries are) part of the game,” Eaton said. “It’s no excuse on our end. When one guy goes down the next guy’s gotta pick it up, gotta fall in the line and find a way to get it done in some way, shape or form. I don’t think we lean on that at all as a crutch. We’ve got the talent here in to win, and at the end of the day it’s being consistent and finding a way to get it done day in and day out. Anybody can do it for a month. You’ve got to be consistent. You can’t be too high or be too low or the game will find you and show those inconsistencies.”

Sunday on CSN: Fire look to extend home unbeaten streak against Red Bulls

Sunday on CSN: Fire look to extend home unbeaten streak against Red Bulls

The Kennedy Igboananike trade shifted focus a bit towards next year for the Chicago Fire, but on Sunday the focus returns to the field.

The Fire host the New York Red Bulls and the game will be televised live on CSN. Coverage starts at 5:30 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live. The game willl also be simulcast with a Spanish language broadcast on CSN+.

Since going 1-5 to start the season, the Red Bulls (9-9-4, 31 points) have looked like one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and sit second in the standings. The team’s recent run has caught the attention Fire coach Veljko Paunovic.

“We are looking at the next game against one of the best teams in the league, in my opinion,” Paunovic said. “I would say performance wise the best team because in the style they play, it’s fantastic. I think they have very, very good players.”

[SHOP: Get a hold of your own Fire home jersey here]

The Red Bulls are playing better of late, but have not succeeded much on the road. New York is 1-7-3 on the road and 8-2-1 at home.

The Fire (4-10-5, 17 points) remain in last in the conference, but have an eight-match unbeaten streak at Toyota Park.

“It’s important to stay strong at home and it’s important for our fans to see that we can compete against one of the best teams in the league here at our field with all our field,” Paunovic said.

Fire midfielder Razvan Cocis will miss his second straight match due to injury and Joey Calistri was still listed as questionable. With Igboananike gone, forward depth for the Fire is very thin, especially if Calistri is unavailable.

Brandon Vincent’s availability is also in question after playing in the MLS All-Star Game on Thursday. He only logged 33 minutes, but factoring in cross-country travel and just two days rest, Vincent may not play.

The Red Bulls have the same situation with Sacha Kljestan, who played 41 minutes in the All-Star Game. Kljestan leads the league with 12 assists and also has five goals. Bradley Wright-Phillips has also been hot of late. The English forward has 11 goals after not scoring in the first seven matches of the season.

“Sacha Kljestan is playing at an MVP-caliber level and Wright-Phillips has seemed to find the scoring touch again,” Fire defender Eric Gehrig said. “They had a great year last and they’re starting to turn it on now, but we’re at home. We know that if we bring our best game that we can compete with anyone at home. It’s an important three points, especially with our road form we know that we have to snatch these points up and we’re looking forward to it.”

Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls

When: 6 p.m. Sunday (coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live)

TV: Comcast SportsNet (simulcast in Spanish on CSN+)

Where: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill.