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Good morning, frents!
Just a hunch, but I'm guessing Fernando Tatis Jr. would not be worth $340 million today if he were still a member of the White Sox.
He definitely wouldn't have a new deal if he were the Bears' top receiver.
Two quick notes before we get started:
- It's last call for tomorrow's first members-only mailbag! Send me your questions (I wouldn't mind a few additional Bears queries) and sign up for a membership if you want it in your inbox tomorrow.
- Stick around until the end of this newsletter for a new weekly feature I'm calling "Thursday Thank Yous."
We were on a nice little run the past few weeks of the Bulls and Hawks playing on alternating days. Juggling two teams at once isn't ideal, my attention span prefers digesting one at a time.
But Monday night was cool with both teams pulling down victories and Wednesday was even better with both wins coming over Detroit.
Bulls complete biggest comeback in the NBA this year
There have been a few games during the pandemic where it would've been extra special to have fans in the stands. Lucas Giolito's no-hitter. Jon Lester's last game at Wrigley. The Bears win over Tom Brady and the eventual Super Bowl champions.
The Bulls' 105-102 win over the Pistons on Wednesday would've been low-key up there, too. Down 25 points in the first half, Zach LaVine put on his Superman cape to drag the Bulls back into the game. LaVine scored 24 of his 37 points in the second half and added five boards and five assists. It's a shame no one in Chicago has been able to watch LaVine in person this year because his season deserves a livelier audience than 22,000 empty seats. (His late stepback three and defense-splitting dunk would've blown the roof off the UC.)
Billy Donovan also had a starring moment, benching Coby White, Patrick Williams and Wendell Carter Jr. to start the second half. Veteran Thad Young got into an assistant role, too, chewing the team out a bit for their early effort. All three benched players responded once they were back in the game with White and Williams sinking crucial threes in the final minute.
The Bulls are now 12-15 as they head to Philly on Friday night to play a 76ers team that's come back to Earth a bit. While they're still struggling to find consistency, it's encouraging to watch games like Wednesday's. That's not a comeback the Bulls make in the past few seasons.
Young Hawks sweep Wings
Oh hey, look at that: Two of the top three stars in the Hawks' 2-0 win in Detroit were Chicago rookies.
- Philipp Kurashev, who was the 120th pick in the 2018 draft, put together a highlight-reel goal (above) that looked like it should belong to a No. 1 pick. It instantly brought up memories of Jonathan Toews' insane goal against Colorado. (You know the one.) It was also a cool coincidence that it came on Michael Jordan's birthday given that Kurashev wears No. 23. Just spectacular.
- Kevin Lankinen earned his first career shutout with 29 saves, including a game-saving run in the game's final 10 minutes. The Hawks needed every one of them considering that his Red Wings counterpart Jonathan Bernier — the game's third star with 24 saves — was just as good.
The Hawks are now 9-5-4 after an 0-3-1 start and tied for first in the Central Division (though with four more games played than Florida). It's hard to tell if the Hawks can keep it up — four of those wins are against the lousy Wings — but they're showing all the things you want to see from a young team.
1. Tony La Russa met with the media after his first day in uniform. ESPN
2. Jerry Reinsdorf can't keep his stories straight, Jim Margalus writes. Sox Machine
3. Meghan Montemurro on the Cubs adding bullpen depth in Brandon Workman and Pedro Strop. Tribune
4. KC Johnson on how the Bulls made the quick switch from preparing for the Hornets to the Pistons. NBC Sports Chicago
5. The story of a guy who somehow flew his car off I-355 and onto Lake Street below. And lived to tell about it. Daily Herald
Thursday Thank Yous
A big fist pound to the 124 and counting readers who help produce Midway Minute by being paid members. Today I'd like to thank Kris Meyer, Perrin Stephens, Brendan Bond, Kathleen Holmes, Fred Nachman and Paul Owen Ferguson for their support.
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