Can Deng keep up early-season scoring pace?

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Can Deng keep up early-season scoring pace?

The season is still young, but through the Bulls first two games, Luol Deng - not reigning league MVP Derrick Rose - is leading the team in scoring.

Now, thats likely to change - after Roses nine-turnover game against Golden State last season, he scored 36 points and with his pledge to be more aggressive after Mondays loss to the Warriors, the All-Star point will attempt to take out his frustrations on the Kings - but Dengs early-season contributions only illustrates how important the underrated small forward is to the Bulls.

The native of Sudan came under much criticism in the wake of his long-term contract extension and subsequent injuries, but after arguably the best campaign of his eight-year career last season -- in which he played in all 82 regular-season games -- he should garner more praise, which I did recently in a column on Dengs qualifications to be the teams secondary scorer.

Take a look at his outings in the season's first two games: Deng poured in 21 points (second on the team to only Rose's 22) as part of his clutch performance in the season-opening comeback win against the Lakers on Christmas Day, then followed that up the next night with a game-high 22 in the loss to the Warriors, where he was seemingly the lone Bulls starter not out of sorts on offense.

However, with the addition of shooting guard Rip Hamilton and power forward Carlos Boozers presence, where will Deng fall in the Bulls pecking order of scorers?

Chime in here on Bulls Talk at CSNChicago.com and share your opinion in the comments section below.

Blackhawks acquire Michael Latta from Kings in swap of minor leaguers

Blackhawks acquire Michael Latta from Kings in swap of minor leaguers

The Blackhawks made a minor league deal on Saturday, announcing the acquisition of forward Michael Latta from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for defenseman Cameron Schilling.

Latta, 25, has two goals and four assists in 29 games this season with the Ontario (Calif.) Reign of the American Hockey League.

He has four goals and 13 assists in 113 career games in the National Hockey League, all with the Washington Capitals from 2013-16.

Latta, who was a third-round pick (No. 72 overall) by the Nashville Predators in 2009, will report to the AHL's Rockford IceHogs. He carries a $600,000 cap hit, and is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

Schilling ranked second among defensemen on the IceHogs with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 40 games, and had a minus-3 rating. The 28-year-old blue liner signed a two-year contract worth $575,000 per season with the Blackhawks in July 2015.

Sunday on CSN: UIC travels to Valparaiso

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Sunday on CSN: UIC travels to Valparaiso

Horizon League basketball returns to CSN on Sunday as UIC travels to Valparaiso. This game tips at 2:00 p.m. live on CSN.

The Flames (11-8, 4-2) have won three straight games and have played pretty good ball after the loss of Dikembe Dixson to a torn ACL. Junior big man Tai Odiase, a Homewood-Flossmoor graduate, is playing well along with former St. Rita product Dominique Matthews.

Valparaiso (15-4, 5-1) is hoping to maintain its conference lead behind senior All-American candidate Alec Peters. The 6-foot-9 senior is averaging 23.9 points and 10.9 rebounds per game on the season.

The Crusaders won the first time these two teams played at UIC on Dec. 30 as Tevonn Walker had 23 points.