Former Bulls coach Del Negro has Clippers surging

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Former Bulls coach Del Negro has Clippers surging

LOS ANGELESClippers head coach Vinny Del Negro, now more than three years removed from his dismissal as Bulls head coach, had the last laugh Saturday night. His current team blew out his former team, 101-80, and while he said all of the right things afterwards, one got the feeling that the memory bitter taste he likely had in his mouth after leaving Chicago made the Clippers blowout victory that much sweeter.

This is one of those nights. I have a lot of respect for Chicago, he told reporters. I thought we did a good job tonight in a lot of ways. Its a good, solid win for us against a very good team. You have to play hard. We knew we had to do that and our guys came out, and we responded well.

Prior to the game, at his pregame media availability, he talked about the fact that the Bulls are without injured superstar Derrick Rose, who Del Negro coached upon his arrival to the NBA.

Its Derrick Rose. Hes the MVP of the league. You take anybody of that caliber which are very few out of that lineup and obviously, its going to change. Its just natural. Derricks that good of a player, he said.

But these days, Chicago is in his rear-view mirror. Despite being looked at as the other professional basketball franchise in Los Angeles, Del Negros Clippers are actually the better team at the moment and at least early in the season, they appear to be a serious contender in the Western Conference.

Its been good. We have great guys. We have great balance to the roster. Looking forward to getting Grant Hill back, getting Chauncey Billups back from their respective injuries, he said. We have a lot of depth and were trying to use it right now. But we have nice balance, some younger guys, guys in their prime and some veteran guys who have great leadership. Things are built around Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and everyone else is accepting their role right now. We have to get a lot better. We have to improve in a lot of areas, but theyre giving me good effort and thats all I can ask for right now, is us coming together with chemistry as the season goes on.

Weve got a lot of people that I think are quality players. Its hard to give them the minutes that they probably deserve, but its about the team. Its not about individual, and you win and lose as a team, and guys have to accept that a little bit and theres nobody in our locker room that didnt know what they were getting into when they started. Well work through it as guys come back, as we manage the schedule and injuries throughout the season, Del Negro continued, discussing arguably the leagues deepest roster. Chauncey will start in the backcourt. Im not sure when hell be back. Its kind of his call, really when he feels comfortable. Hes been practicing in all contact, in all practices probably at least the last few weeks. Looks very good, but hes had a couple setbacks with his calf and his back, but hes feeling great. And then, Grant will probably be back later than Chauncey, and well just work through it. Grant went through training camp, played in China during the preseason for us. We had a good rotation off the bench then, so well just work through it when they come back, but youre talking about two guys who know how to play, know the big picture and are more than capable of accepting their roles, and theyre going to be contributors on our team.

Still, he acknowledged that in the Hollywood culture of the city, the star-studded Lakers and the recent drama surrounding Mike Browns firing, Phil Jackson getting passed over for the job and Mike DAntoni being hired as the teams new head coach means the Clippers, even with the star power of All-Stars Paul and Griffin, play second fiddle in the arena the two teams share.

It is unusual, but we dont spend any time with that. Thats kind of the fans and the media, and things. But were just kind of focused in on what we can control, our preparation, our mindset, our improvement. We know we have to get better in a lot of areas. You cant control other things that are going on, whether its the Lakers or the Bulls, or other organizations, he explained. Youve just got to control your day-to-day routine here. Were trying to continually build an environment, build a culture and do things the right way to be successful, and were not where we need to be yet, but were seeing signs of more consistency, so thats great.

Javy Baez flaunts epic World Series tattoo

Javy Baez flaunts epic World Series tattoo

Javy Baez should win a gold glove in tattoos.

The kid with the MLB logo inked on the back of his neck now has an absolutely epic 2016 World Series Champions tattoo on his left deltoid:

That. Is. Awesome.

Javy apparently has had the tattoo for a little while, though it wasn't quite as eye-popping as it is now (or what we could see of it back in January):

😎 Find The #W #JB9 #ElMago

A post shared by Javier Báez ⚾ (@javy23baez) on

That's some good ink work, Javy.

Now just make sure you don't spend too much time in the gym working on those delts. That tattoo would look awfully weird stretched out:

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

GLENDALE, Ariz. — He's a little nervous now that he has a speech to make, but Mark Buehrle is enjoying life and has no regrets about retiring from baseball.

Addressing the media for the first time since his final game on Oct. 4, 2015, Buehrle said Friday he's right where he wants to be — at home with his family. Buehrle determined 3-4 years ago he would retire after his contract expired to spend more time with his wife and kids. The pitcher, who will have his number 56 retired by the White Sox on June 24, said he didn't announce his decision to step away because he hoped to do so with much fanfare.

"I knew I was done, that I didn't have the drive any more," Buehrle said on a conference call. "I think a big part of it was missing the family, they weren't up in Toronto the whole season and I think that just kind of drained on me. The reason I didn't say anything — I didn't want all the attention. I've always told people I was a young guy that came into the big leagues unknown. Kind of snuck into the big leagues and I wanted to kind of sneak my way out. That's why I haven't said anything, I haven't talked to anybody, I just kind of let it go. Hopefully one day it was just kind of got forgotten and five years down the road, ‘Where's that Buehrle guy? Is he still around?'"

Buehrle, who won 161 games and completed 200 innings in 11 straight seasons with the White Sox, has spent the past year-plus on his Missouri farm with his wife, Jamie, and two children, "doing what I've been wanting to do for 20 years," he said. 

While he misses teammates and life in the clubhouse, Buehrle is at peace with his decision to retire after 16 seasons. He discovered when watching games last season that he didn't miss playing as much as he expected.

Buehrle joked that he doesn't want many former teammates to attend the ceremony because it means he'd have to speak in front of a larger audience. He promises to keep his speech brief, similar to the way he pitched. The left-hander even joked that he offered to allow his son to make the speech in his stead.

[RELATED: Ranking the five best games Mark Buehrle pitched with the White Sox]

Even though he's one of the most popular players in club history, Buehrle was surprised last month when the White Sox informed him of their plans. He'll be the 12th player to have his number retired by the White Sox.

"I was blown away and floored by it," Buehrle said. "It's obviously a great honor. It's something you don't really intend to happen or you don't play for that reason. You just go out there and play. I had a long, successful career there in Chicago. I just tried to do everything right and that's how I was kind of raised and how I went about it. Jerry (Reinsdorf) is kind enough to come with this offer about retiring my jersey. I really don't know.

"I've been joking around with friends saying my jersey is going to be up there next to Frank Thomas. I grew up watching this guy. It doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem like it belongs up there next to his.

"I'm going to be up there with all those numbers and it doesn't seem right, like that's where I belong. I just did what I was supposed to do, had fun with it and lived every day like it was my last. Now my number is going to be up there. I haven't really soaked everything in. It just doesn't make sense right now."