Thibodeau facing dilemma with Hamilton, Korver?

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Thibodeau facing dilemma with Hamilton, Korver?

Tom Thibodeau again stuck with Kyle Korver at shooting guard in the fourth quarter and extra session over starter Rip Hamilton -- though Hamilton did play an instrumental role at the beginning of the fourth quarter in Thursdays home win over Miami -- deferring to the reserve sharpshooters recent hot streak and it proved to be the right move, as Korver knocked down a big three-pointer late in the contest to help the Bulls survive.

Remarked the coach: He did it for us all last year, too. Hes a big fourth-quarter player. When he comes off those screens, hes great at creating separation. The bigs are doing a great job of setting the screens and Derricks doing a great job of delivering. If the second defenders there, Kyles a very unselfish player. Hell find the open man, so we can play off of that.

Korver himself said: Its a role that Ive been put to do for a long time and those are shots that I like to take. Ive teammates that look for me and Ive got a good little rhythm going on right now. just trying to be aggressive, take good shots -- I dont want to be out there, just jacking up whatever -- but Im hoping that teammates have confidence in me. Jo made a great play in the overtime, just hit me in the corner and just trying to be ready.

However, Thibodeau downplayed the fact that Hamilton -- who was animated in supporting his teammates against his former squad on the sidelines -- wasnt in the game during crunch time.

I thought Rip was terrific. Were going to see how it plays out. Each game, I think Rip does better and better. I thought he was in good rhythm. He had 13 points in 20 minutes tonight. Thats great productivity, so hes coming along about how I would expect, he said. For a guy whos missed as much as hes missed, actually hes playing better than I thought he would, so hes doing fine.

Recently, Thibodeau broke down his thought process with Hamilton.

Were just going to be patient with it. Slowly build it up, he explained. As long as hes playing well that tells you something. Usually, when theres a drop-off, the conditioning component is big. When youve missed the amount of time that hes missed and Derrick has missed, youre concerned about that. You have to get that up to speed.

Were actually very deep at the wing position. As a shooter its enough to be in rhythm, also. You have to strike that balance. We feel good about our wings. Kyle has played well all year. Ronnie has played well. Rip, when hes been healthy, has been terrific. Luol has been great all year and Jimmy Butler has done a good job for us, as well, Thibodeau continued. He has shown you what hes capable of. He had the 18-point quarter the other night. He had 20 points in 20 minutes. I think he can do that but its the efficiency you want him to play with and you want the team to function well on the floor. It gives us something else we can go to. When hes on the floor, he opens things up for people. Hes great moving without the ball, he gets transition baskets and with his catch-and-shoot game, he allows us to play off of that. Both he and Kyle get double-teamed every time theyre coming off a screen and they have the responsibility to make the right play. Rip has been around a long time. Hes seen all the different defenses. He knows where the holes are. Hes very unselfish.

Bears QB Mike Glennon makes his role emphatically clear: ‘This year is my year’

Bears QB Mike Glennon makes his role emphatically clear: ‘This year is my year’

Mike Glennon stuck to an emphatic mantra during his first meeting with the media since the Bears drafted Mitch Trubisky last month: “This year is my year.”

It wasn’t a surprising line — what else was he supposed to say? — but it was telling in the sense that Glennon didn’t appear to be rattled by the presence of Trubisky, the franchise’s presumptive quarterback of the future. Unofficially, Glennon said some version of that line a dozen times in just over 10 minutes. 

“They brought me here to be the quarterback this year and nothing has changed,” Glennon said. “So in my mind, I have to go out and play well, and I know that, and that’s basically the bottom line.”

Will Glennon work with Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick and presumptive quarterback of the future? Yes. But is that his main focus? No. The job of developing Trubisky falls on offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone, not the guy who the Bears committed tens of millions of dollars to to play quarterback. 

Glennon said general manager Ryan Pace called him about 10 minutes after Roger Goodell announced Trubisky’s name in Philadelphia April 27 to reassure him that he would still be the Bears’ starting quarterback in 2017. Like most everyone — including Trubisky — Glennon was surprised the Bears made the pick, but the 27-year-old said he quickly re-trained his attention back on preparing for the upcoming season. 

“I’m not worried about the future,” Glennon said. “I’m not worried about the past. I’m worried about the present and right now this is my team and that’s where my focus is.”

Glennon’s three-year, $45 million deal is structured so the Bears could cut him after the 2017 season and absorb only a $2.5 million cap hit, $500,000 more than the team took on when Jay Cutler was released in March. His contract was set up that way before the Bears snuck into Chapel Hill, N.C. for a surreptitious dinner and workout with Trubisky — he’s a bridge quarterback with an opportunity to show he’s greater than that label. 

“Even if I were to (look in hindsight) I would still have came here,” Glennon said. “Like I said, this is my year. There are no guarantees in the NFL. The majority of guys in the NFL are playing year-to-year. I’m here to prove myself that I can me the quarterback this year and going forward. But right now my focus is on winning games this year.”

“… I can only say it so many times, this year has been fully communicated that it's my year,” Glennon said. “I’m not going to worry about the future. As long as I play well, it will all work out.’ 

In wake of first-round playoff sweep, Patrick Kane talks about the Blackhawks' 'reality check'

In wake of first-round playoff sweep, Patrick Kane talks about the Blackhawks' 'reality check'

It’s been just over a month since the Blackhawks were eliminated from the playoffs in swift fashion. And as Patrick Kane told WGN Radio on Tuesday morning, the bitter taste hasn’t gone away.

“I think a lot of us didn’t figure we’d be in the situation we’re in right now,” Kane told Steve Cochran and Dave Eanet on Tuesday. “All of us can work this offseason to get better. It’s a long time to wait to get back to that opportunity to play in the playoffs again, so we’ll have a sour taste in our mouth for a while.”

The Nashville Predators, who made quick work of the Blackhawks in the first round, eliminated the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night to earn the first Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history. Kane told WGN he’s been watching the playoffs and said Nashville “has a pretty good system going.”

“They come at you, they play aggressive. I don’t think any of us would be a big fan of the way they defend in the neutral zone, just sitting back and playing that 1-3-1. But at the same time they come at you,” said Kane, who added that the Blackhawks “weren’t even close in that (first-round) series.”

“Maybe we had a chance in Game 3 when we were up 2-0, but it was a clean sweep and that’s probably how it should’ve been,” he said. “So now it’s time to regroup.”

When the Blackhawks had their wrap-up media session on April 22, general manager Stan Bowman was asked if some players, having won three Stanley Cups since 2010, had lost some of the hunger. Bowman didn’t buy that and neither did Kane.

“Four sounds a lot better than three, right?” he said. “It’s a long time away and a lot of work, but sometimes you go through those situations and you realize you won three Cups and it’s almost like you’re going to be there again. That’s where the reality check is for us now, realizing how hard it is to get back in that situation, how hard it is to win a Cup or go deep in this league. There’s a lot of work to be done.”