NBA Power Rankings: Thunder making some noise

965773.png

NBA Power Rankings: Thunder making some noise

By Tony Andracki & Mark Strotman

Each Monday throughout the regular season, Mark Strotman and Tony Andracki will rank all 30 NBA teams. Below are Week 7 Power Rankings. Think we're way off? Agree with our picks? Hit us up on Twitter at@BullsTalkCSNwith comments or criticisms.
Past rankings:PreseasonWeek 1Week 2Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6

Tony
MarkComments1
Tony: Watch out now, the Serge Protector has an offensive game.
Mark: 11 wins in a row, showing no signs of slowing down.
2
Tony: Blake Griffin and Co. have rattled off 10 straight now.
Mark: Carmelo may be MVP, but Tyson just as valuable to Knicks.
3
Tony: Tony Parker is playing at an MVP level.
Mark: 10 straight victoriesat least one team in L.A. is winning.
4
Tony: Still holding off Miami as the beasts of the East.
Mark: Now Tony Parker is triple-doubling? These guys never get old.
5
Tony: They need Dwyane Wade to stay on the court consistently.
Mark: Chris Bosh having another underrated yet efficient year.
6
Tony: Not as hot as other teams in the West, but a bonafide contender.
Mark: Slowly coming back down to Earth, but still talented.7
Tony: Winning streak came to an end, but have still won 8 of 10.
Mark: Stephen Curry should be an All-Star for the first time this year.8
Tony: Surprisingly boast leagues 7th best D in pts allowed.
Mark: HorfordSmith frontcourt has been dominant so far.9
Tony: Bench has been coming to play, Mon. night in MEM notwithstanding.
Mark: Looking better each week, but Hinrich needs to stay healthy.
10
Tony: Rubio back, Love looking like a stud again. All is well in Minny.
Mark: Brook Lopez is back at the perfect time (ASAP).
11
Tony: D-Will calling out his coach? Uh oh.
Mark: Ricky Rubio was great in return from ACL surgery.
12
Tony: Need some frontcourt help. Last in league in rebounding.
Mark: Quietly have won seven of last 10.
13
Tony: Really like this squad, and they're starting to gel.
Mark: Ersan Ilyosova showing signs of life is great news for Bucks.
14
Tony: We all know George can get hot, but can he be consistent?
Mark: Back over .500 (13-12) for first time since Nov. 23.
15
Tony: Ersan Ilyasova coming up just when Bucks need it.
Mark: One of two teams (Milwaukee) with a winning record and negative point differential.16
Tony: See? They rely on Jrue Holiday so much.
Mark: Brutal four-game roadtrip awaiting Utah (BRK, IND, MIA, ORL).
17
Tony: If they can shore up their D, they may join ranks of elite.
Mark: Philly hoping for good news on Andrew Bynums MRI this week.
18
Tony: Just look like a completely different team without Dirk.
Mark: 12th in the West is the season ended today.
19
Tony: Lin starred in return to NY, but he has no consistency.
Mark: Could sneak into the playoffs as players continue to get comfortable playing together.
20
Tony: Can't hack it when one or two guys go down to injury.
Mark: Damian Lillard is your current Rookie of the Year, and its not close.
21
Tony: Already talking trades? Alright.
Mark: Just 4-10 on the road, and play 8 of next 13 away from Dallas.
22
Tony: When Nash comes back, run offense through him.
Mark: 2-0 week on the heels of losing seven in a row.
23
Tony: If they have Gortat, why not at least utilize him?
Mark: Impressive win over Golden State was part of 2-0 week.
24
Tony: Rough luck this season for Lowry and Co. thus far.
Mark: Trade candidate Jose Calderon will lead a contender down the stretch. Book it.
25
Tony: I like this Drummond kid. Could be dynamic duo with Monroe.
Mark: Roller coaster continues after losing four straight.
26
Tony: Man, they're sinking faster than the Titanic. This is sad.
Mark: Isaiah Thomas showing signs of life off the bench.
27
Tony: Feel bad for fans in Sacremento. No hope on horizon.
Mark: Losers of 11 straight, even Kemba cant straighten it out.
28
Tony: Kyrie's back! And he's dropping 40.
Mark: Irvings mask is a thing of beauty, and its the same dominant player behind it.
29
Tony: Vasquez is putting up solid numbers, but needs to improve efficiency.
Mark: Anthony Davis has lost his grip on Rookie of the Year honors.
30
Tony: Not even an exorcism could help this team.
Mark: Bradley Beal and Jordan Crawford will work well when John Wall returns.

Honda Road Ahead: Can Cubs slow down Nationals bats?

Honda Road Ahead: Can Cubs slow down Nationals bats?

CSN's David Kaplan and David DeJesus discuss the upcoming matchups in this edition of the Cubs Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

Maybe a four-game series with the N.L. East-leading Washington Nationals will help the Cubs take off. 

It did last year. 

The Cubs swept the Nats early last season, boosting themselves into first place in the National League - a position they wouldn't relinquish. More than a sweep, though, a positive series is vital for a team that continues to hover around .500. 

To do so, Joe Maddon's pitchers must somehow slow the Nationals offense, which has managed to push across more runs than any team in the majors. 

After D.C., the Cubs are off to Cincy for a three-game set with the Reds. 

Watch David Kaplan and David DeJesus preview the upcoming matchups in the video above. 

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

kahnle.jpg
AP

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tommy Kahnle has been one of the White Sox brightest bright spots, but fell victim to some tough luck that could ding on his under-the-radar All-Star bid.

Kahnle allowed the tying and go-ahead runs in the White Sox 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics Sunday in front of 28,089 at Guaranteed Rate Field, marking only the sixth time in 31 games the 27-year-old right-hander has allowed a run in 2017.

In the eighth inning, Kahnle allowed a bloop single to Franklin Barreto, then Ryon Healy reached on a Todd Frazier error. Khris Davis tied the game with a single to left, knocking Kahnle out of the game, and Oakland took the lead when Yonder Alonso blooped a single off David Robertson that plopped into left field out of the reach of Melky Cabrera. Consider the hit probabilities, according to Statcast, of those three hits and the error:

Barreto: 78 percent

Healy: 5 percent

Davis: 62 percent

Alonso: 2 percent

That Kahnle coughed up the lead was surprising given his stealthy success out of the White Sox bullpen his year.

Entering Sunday’s game, Kahnle’s 1.2 WAR was sixth-best American League relievers, behind Boston’s Craig Kimbrel (2.2), Houston’s Chris Devenski (1.6), Cleveland’s Andrew Miller (1.6), Los Angeles’ Blake Parker (1.4) and Toronto’s Roberto Osuna (1.3). His 44.8 strikeout percentage is among the five best in baseball along with Kimbrel, New York’s Dellin Betances, Los Angeles’ Kenley Jansen and Milwaukee’s Corey Knebel.

Kahnle has been undoubtedly spectacular this year even with Sunday’s hiccup, though with Garcia seeming likely to be on the American League All-Star roster, Terry Francona wouldn’t have to take him to fill the game’s requirement. That this year’s All-Star Game doesn’t count — it’s the first since 2002 that won’t dictate home-field advantage in the World Series — could alter Francona’s roster construction to reward more starters and closers, and the Cleveland Indians manager would certainly be justified if he wanted to take his own setup guy in Miller.

The White Sox handed Kahnle the lead on Adam Engel’s first career home run (a solo shot in the third) and Jose Abreu’s dash home on a passed ball in the fourth. Starter Derek Holland was solid, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts over six innings. Melky Cabrera added a solo home run in the ninth inning, his eighth of the season.

Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce homered off Robertson and Chris Beck, respectively, in the ninth inning to give the A’s a comfortable ending to their three-game sweep of the White Sox. Beck was hit by a comebacker after allowing that home run and left the game with a bruised left hamstring, and is considered day-to-day.