Noah, Bulls tangle with Cavaliers on CSN

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Noah, Bulls tangle with Cavaliers on CSN

Center Joakim Noah took the role of an extended offensive role in the Bulls season opener, scoring a game-high 23 points in Chicagos 93-87 win over Sacramento Wednesday at the United Center. Hell face a stiff test tonight when the Bulls travel to Cleveland to take on Kyrie Iriving, Anderson Varejao and the Cavaliers on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.

Varejao, who missed the Cavaliers final 41 games last season with a broken wrist, showed no ill-effects in the home opener against the Wizards, scoring nine points, grabbing 23 rebounds and handing out nine assists in a 94-84 win. Varejao also blocked two shots in 37 minutes, which should make for an enticing matchup with Noah.

The Bulls center was aggressive on Wednesday against the Kings frontcourt duo of DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson. Along with his 6-of-12 shooting, Noah also made 11-of-12 free throws, while Cousins played just 25 minutes with four fouls. Varejao also picked up four fouls in Wednesday nights matchup with Washington, and his aggressive defensive play could play right into the hands of Noah and Carlos Boozer, who got to the line five times himself.

Defensively, the Bulls held the Kings to 40.5 percent shooting on Wednesday. Specifically, point guards Isaiah Thomas and Aaron Brooks were a combined 6-of-18 from the field as Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson were impressive in Game 1 of the Derrick Rose-less era. But theyll get their first true test tonight against Kyrie Irving, the 2011 No. 1 overall pick who scored 29 points on Opening Night.

Irving missed two of the three matchups against the Bulls his rookie season, but hes one of the up-and-coming bright stars in the NBA who showed no ill effects of having four teeth pulled earlier this week. Irving was the one of two Cavaliers to score more than 12 points on Wednesday, so the defensive plan is simple: shut down Irving, shut down the Cavs. The two veteran point guards in the Bulls backcourt should do the job.

The other key matchups also will be veterans against youngsters, as Boozer matches up against Tristan Thompson, last years No. 4 overall pick. Boozers jump shot was working Wednesday, as he made 5-of-8 shots from the outside that freed up the paint later in the game, where he made his other three field goals. Tonight will also mark Taj Gibson's first game since agreeing to a four-year, 38 million contract extension with the Bulls. It's a sure bet the sixth man will want to assert himself two days after shoring up his future in Chicago.

13-year veteran Richard Hamilton, who scored 19 points in the opener, will match up on rookie Dion Waiters, who added 17 of his own against the Wizards. Hamilton showed spark on the offensive end, but had trouble against Tyreke Evans drives (8-13 FG, 4-4 FT). Like Evans, Waiters wants to get to the basket early and often. Stout defense inside may be the key if Hamilton has problems keeping up.

The veteran-youth disparity between these two teams should play into the Bulls hands. The youthful Cavaliers turned the ball over 20 times in their Wednesday win, while Chicago forced Sacramento into 19 miscues themselves.

Expect a defensive battle tonight against two Central division foes. The Bulls travel on the road for the first time in 2012, but enter Cleveland riding a six-game winning streak. Luol Deng (3-13 FG against Sacramento) should find his touch while stiff defense against a Cavalier team shallow on the bench could cause problems for the young Cavaliers.

Tim Anderson's birthday present from home plate umpire was first major-league ejection

Tim Anderson's birthday present from home plate umpire was first major-league ejection

On his 24th birthday, Tim Anderson’s present from home plate umpire Jim Wolf was his first major-league ejection.

In the fifth inning of the White Sox 3-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics, Anderson fouled off a pitch that landed in the opposing batter’s box. But A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell picked it up in what was ruled to be fair territory and threw the ball to first for the out.

Anderson pleaded his case saying the ball went foul. Wolf agreed, according to Anderson, which only further confused the White Sox shortstop.

“I told him that was BS,” Anderson said. “And he tossed me.”

Anderson said that he was surprised to be ejected so fast. So was manager Rick Renteria, who was thrown out moments after Anderson.

“I don’t want to get in trouble,” Renteria said. “The players having emotion, they are battling. I just think we need to grow a little thicker skin.”

Anderson said that he was appreciative of his manager coming to his defense.

“He kinda had a point and let me know he had my back,” Anderson said of Renteria. “Speaks a lot of him.”

A day after scoring nine runs on 18 hits, the White Sox failed to generate any offense on Friday. The team’s best chance came in the ninth inning.

But with runners at the corners and two outs, Matt Davidson put a good rip on the ball to center field, only to fly out at the warning track.

Anderson and Renteria were watching the game together in the clubhouse, and both believed the White Sox had tied the ballgame.

“We all jumped up and were excited but it kind of fell short,” Anderson said.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Exclusive interview with Mark Buehrle

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Exclusive interview with Mark Buehrle

On the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien goes 1-on-1 with the star of the weekend, Mark Buehrle.

Buehrle tells an absolutely amazing bachelor party story and discloses why he wore No. 56.

Take a trip down memory lane and listen to the White Sox Talk Podcast here