- Created on 12 April 2013
Suddenly, Chicago is the place where long winning streaks go to die.
This time, it was Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks going down. Late last month, it was LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
Nate Robinson scored a season-high 35 points and Chicago rallied for a 118-111 overtime victory to stop New York's 13-game run. Anthony missed a potential winner at the end of regulation, and Robinson took over down the stretch, scoring eight points in overtime to lift the Bulls to another streak-breaking win on a charged night that had the feel of a postseason game.
"Crazy. Playoff atmosphere, to tell you the truth, against a playoff team," Chicago's Jimmy Butler said. "I feel like it's helping us."
Butler finished with 22 points, Luol Deng scored 16, and the Bulls busted a long run for the second time in about a two-week span, after ending the Heat's 27-game streak — the second-longest in NBA history — on March 27.
They put the Knicks' longest streak in nearly two decades to rest with a huge surge in the second half, offsetting Anthony's 36 points.
"For us, we're not focused on stopping streaks," Robinson said. "We're just trying to get better as a team going into the playoffs."
Robinson appears to be in gear. He's scored 18 or more in four straight games, and he put the Bulls over the top against his former team after two ugly losses to Detroit and Toronto.
In the end, all the Knicks could do was shrug it off.
"It would have been nice if Melo knocks down that shot," Woodson said. "We could have walked out of here with a win. It didn't happen."
Robinson started overtime with a three-point play to give Chicago a 108-105 lead, and after Anthony scored, the Bulls started to pull away.
Deng nailed a 3-pointer, and Robinson hit a free throw after J.R. Smith got called for a technical foul with 2:09 remaining for arguing a non-call against Deng on a missed drive. The Bulls guard then drove for a layup to make it 114-107, and Chicago hung on from there.
Chicago trailed by as much as 17 points and was down 79-64 in the third quarter before going on a big run to get back into it.
The Bulls were even up by nine — 99-90 — after a 3 by Robinson and layup by Butler with 5:42 remaining, but they did not get another basket in regulation.
The Knicks finally tied it at 105 with 14.5 seconds left when a driving Anthony got fouled by Butler and hit both free throws.
Deng then missed an off-balance fadeaway bank shot with 1.5 seconds left in regulation. New York's Raymond Felton grabbed the rebound, and after a 20-second timeout, Anthony's long jumper hit the rim and it went into overtime.
The loss ended the Knicks' longest win streak since a 15-game run from March 1 to April 2, 1994, and left them two games ahead of Indiana for the second seed in the Eastern Conference with four games remaining. New York plays the Pacers on Sunday.
"The crazy thing is they're only getting better," Chicago's Carlos Boozer said. "The more talent they put around (Anthony), the better his team is. This year, they went from being kind of a mediocre team in the East the last few years to ... top in the East for a very long time."
Anthony, trying to become the first Knicks player since Bernard King in 1984-85 to win a scoring title, was off target. He hit just 13 of 34 shots after averaging 40.6 points in the previous five games.
Smith scored 28 points and Felton added 19, but the Bulls hung on down the stretch in OT to complete the four-game sweep.
"They can have it," Anthony said. "They can have it. They can have it. They can have the regular-season wins. They did a great job at beating us four times. We're not worrying about them at this point."
The win left fifth-place Chicago a half-game ahead of Atlanta in the East, and they can thank Robinson for that. He beat his previous season high by a point.
Deng finished with 16 points after sitting out the previous two games with a hip injury.
Butler came up big after scoring a career-high 28 in Tuesday's loss to Toronto. He ignited the crowd with back-to-back breakaway dunks in the third that got the turnaround started and helped defend Anthony.
"You want to go up against the best," Butler said. "You don't back down from things like this. You want to accept those challenges. You don't back down from things like that. He's a great player."
- Created on 09 April 2013
Starlin Castro gave it a good ride with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. The drive might have gone out at the start of the game, but the wind had shifted and it died on the warning track.
That's how Wrigley Field's first game of the season went for the Chicago Cubs.
Edwin Jackson got off to a rough start and the Cubs' final rally was wiped out by the fickle breeze, giving the Milwaukee Brewers a 7-4 victory on Monday.
Chicago scored two runs in the ninth and had the bases loaded when Dave Sappelt struck out. Castro then hit a fly ball deep to right, but the wind held it up and Norichika Aoki hauled it in.
"Yeah, I had a bad feeling when we got things going there," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "We had nobody out and with those guys coming up, that wind shift was going to obviously have a factor in the game both ways, and it did."
The wind was blowing out at the start of the game — a rare sight for an April date at the 99-year-old ballpark — and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke thought Castro's ball probably would have went off the wall at that point.
"Things went our way," he said.
Marco Estrada pitched seven effective innings and doubled home a run, helping the Brewers stop a five-game slide. Aoki had three hits and Ryan Braun made a successful return to the lineup.
Jim Henderson picked up his first save of the season in his first opportunity since he replaced John Axford in the closer's role.
"It's just nice to win," Braun said. "We needed to win."
Estrada allowed two runs and five hits while bouncing back from a lackluster season debut against Colorado. The right-hander also drove in Alex Gonzalez with a drive into the gap in right-center during Milwaukee's two-run seventh.
"I just kept telling myself just leave the pitches down, especially the changeup," he said. "As long as I don't leave balls up, I should be OK. Especially because, you know, I'm a bit of a pop-fly pitcher and I knew in this park with that wind it could be trouble."
Welington Castillo belted a two-run homer for Chicago, which has dropped four in a row and five of six. Edwin Jackson was hit hard in his first home game since he signed a $52 million, four-year contract over the winter, surrendering five runs and eight hits in six innings.
Braun, who missed Milwaukee's weekend sweep by Arizona due to spasms on the right side of his neck, went 3 for 4 with two doubles before he was replaced by Logan Schafer in the eighth inning. The 2011 NL MVP has at least one hit in each of his four games this season.
It was Braun's first road game since his name surfaced in records from the now-defunct Biogenesis of America LLC clinic alleged to have provided banned substances to several players. After his name was connected to the clinic, he issued a statement in which he said he used the clinic's operator, Anthony Bosch, as a consultant in appealing a positive drug test that was overturned last year.
Braun was lustily booed by the crowd of 40,083, but the fans hardly seemed to notice he was at the plate in the eighth after they got done jeering struggling reliever Carlos Marmol when he came on to pitch.
"Yeah, I don't think they've ever cheered for me here," Braun said with a grin. "Not too much different than it's ever been in the past."
The day began with a tarp over the infield as showers rolled through the area, but the grey clouds soon gave way to sunshine for an unusually warm opener at the ballpark. Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams each threw out a ceremonial first pitch, and Ernie Banks led the crowd in the singing of the "Take Me Out to The Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch.
As soon as Jenkins and Williams left the field, the Brewers jumped all over Jackson (0-2).
With runners on first and second and two down, Jonathan Lucroy and Gonzalez had consecutive walks to force home a run. Martin Maldonado then delivered a bases-clearing double into the right-field corner, lifting Milwaukee to a 4-0 lead.
The Brewers added another run in the second when Aoki reached on a leadoff double and scored on Braun's one-out double to center.
"I just have to do a better job of executing and executing pitches when I put myself in the position to get out of a jam," Jackson said.
That was more than enough for Estrada (1-0), who struck out six and walked one. He was coming off a no-decision against the Rockies, when he allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings.
- Created on 05 April 2013
EW YORK — Down five key players. Down 16 points. A lot for any team to overcome.
These Chicago Bulls are used to it.
"We fight to the end," forward Carlos Boozer said. "We've got some resilient guys in here."
Boozer had 29 points and 18 rebounds, Nate Robinson made the go-ahead basket with 22 seconds left, and the Bulls rallied to beat the Brooklyn Nets 92-90 on Thursday night in a potential preview of a first-round playoff series.
Jimmy Butler had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Luol Deng scored 18 points, and Robinson finished with 12 as the Bulls shook off the absences of the injured players to keep Indiana from clinching the Central Division title they've won the last two years.
Chicago pulled into a tie for fifth place with Atlanta and climbed within 1 1/2 games of the Nets for the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the first round.
And the Bulls did it without Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Richard Hamilton and Marco Belinelli, all starters or key members of their rotation. Plus, they lost starting point guard Kirk Hinrich to fouls with 3:38 remaining.
But they made more clutch plays down the stretch to pull out a game they never led until the final period.
"For us, it's big," Robinson said. "Kirk fouled out. You got Marco out. Rip out. D-Rose out. Taj out. Guys are just stepping up, man, and that's what teams do. You got Jo out and (Nazr Mohammed) stepping in for him. These guys are coming in and it's like old school wrestling. Tag team. You know when one guy goes in, tag him, the other guy go out. Back and forth. We just got to keep playing and keep doing that, we'll be OK."
Deron Williams had 30 points and 10 assists for the Nets, who had a disappointing return home from an eight-game road trip. Brook Lopez finished with 28 points, but he had a turnover and two misses in the final minute, including a corner jumper that went in and out that would have forced overtime.
"It's tough, just because our team was playing so well for the majority of the game and I contributed a lot to how the final score ended up and that's definitely not something I'm happy about," Lopez said.
- Created on 07 April 2013
Michigan withstood a late rally by Syracuse to defeat the Orange in the Final Four on Saturday at the Georgia Dome, 61-56.
Syracuse had built a 14-9 lead with 12:44 remaining in the first half, but a three-point play by Jon Horford less than two minutes later put the Wolverines back on top, 15-14. The Orange took the lead again off of a Trevor Coon...
- Created on 04 April 2013
Given all their trouble against the Royals, it's fair to say the White Sox are enjoying this.
Adam Dunn homered and Chicago went deep four times to back a solid outing by Jake Peavy in a 5-2 victory over Kansas City on Wednesday.
Tyler Flowers, Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez also connected, and the White Sox made it two straight wins to start the season after dropping 12 of 18 to the Royals a year ago.
"I love their team," Peavy said. "I love their makeup. I love their manager. They have a great team. They have a great bunch of guys, and they play hard. That team is scrappy. They don't strike out much. ... It's nice to come out (against) a team that's had our number as a team and play well."
The Royals, full of optimism after posting the majors' best record in spring training, will try to avoid a season-opening sweep Thursday.
"They're a good team," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "I don't think they're going to lay down."
The White Sox have no intention of that, either. They insist they can make another run in the AL Central after finishing second to Detroit, even though they made no splashy additions while other teams in the division loaded up.
They're off to a good start.
Peavy (1-0) allowed one earned run and four hits in six innings, striking out six and walking none. Not bad, considering he said he didn't have his best stuff.
Even so, he managed to keep the Royals off balance on a chilly day when the game-time temperature was 43. More important, he looked about as good as he did last year, when he rebounded from all those injuries and made the All-Star team.
"I don't wake up every day worrying about my body holding together," Peavy said. "But at the same time, I do a lot of preventive work to try to hold everything intact the way it is now and stay as strong as I did last year."
Dunn had two hits and scored twice. He led off the second with his 407th home run — tying Duke Snider for 48th place on the career list — and Flowers opened the third with his second shot.
Viciedo made up for his gaffes in left field with a big swing in the fourth, hitting a two-run drive that made it 4-1. The Royals scored a run in the sixth and loaded the bases against the Chicago bullpen in the seventh, only to come away empty-handed. Ramirez got the lead back up to 5-2 with a drive leading off the bottom half off Luke Hochevar, and the White Sox hung on from there.
Peavy did his part, outpitching Ervin Santana (0-1) after Chris Sale shut down the Royals in a 1-0 victory Monday in the opener.
The three-time All-Star re-signed with Chicago after a rebound season last year and started this one on a strong note. Five relievers combined to shut down the Royals, with Addison Reed working the ninth for his second save.
Santana (0-1), a mainstay in the Angels' rotation for eight seasons, also went six innings and gave up four runs and five hits. He struck out eight and walked one in his first start with the Royals.
"Everything was good," Santana said. "My off-speed was very good. My sinker was good. Fastball was good."
Royals hitters did him no favors, going 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, and the long ball did him in.
Dunn put the White Sox ahead 1-0 with a 431-foot line drive to the seats in right-center, but the White Sox quickly gave it back.
Ramirez, the shortstop, was charged with an error even though Viciedo actually dropped Chris Getz's pop fly in a collision with one out. Then with two out, Viciedo misplayed Alcides Escobar's single, allowing Getz to score from first.
Flowers, who homered Monday, connected again leading off the third, and Viciedo gave them a cushion with his two-run drive in the fourth, the ball tipping a leaping Alex Gordon's glove in left.
"I wish I could have done that over again," Gordon said. "I was right there in position."
The Royals got a run off Peavy in the sixth when Gordon doubled past a diving Viciedo and scored from third on a groundout by Billy Butler, but they couldn't come through after they loaded the bases against the White Sox bullpen in the seventh.
Donnie Veal relieved Jesse Crain with two on and one out and walked pinch hitter Miguel Tejada before retiring Gordon on a fly to shallow left. Matt Lindstrom came in and got Escobar to fly to right, ending the threat.