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Good morning, frents!
Here's hoping you used the rest we got from the bye week to stay up for last night's Bulls romp over the Lakers. It was worth staying up for.
Bulls 121, Lakers 103
Marquette 67, Illinois 66
Chicago State at Loyola (7, NBCSCH)
New Orleans at Northwestern (7, BTN)
Bulls 121, Lakers 103
The best free-agent signing in Chicago history is generally thought to be a three-horse debate between Marian Hossa, Jon Lester and now Candace Parker.
But there's going to be a fourth if DeMar DeRozan keeps this up.
The 32-year-old guard dropped 38 points on the LeBron-less Lakers in the Bulls' 121-103 rout in Los Angeles last night.
The performance came just one night after DeRozan, a Compton native, scored 35 against the Clippers in the same building.
DeRozan has put together five 30+ performances for the 10-4 Bulls this season. You could even make an early MVP argument for him if Steph Curry and the Warriors — who shelled the Bulls in San Francisco on Friday — hadn't returned to their previous form.
We'll instead have to settle for bench reaction shots like this when DeRozan decides to morph into a MJ/D-Rose combo.
Dead Alize Johnson FTW!
Anyway, who saw any of this coming?
Certainly not any of the national pundits or league executives who called DeRozan's three-year, $85 million deal the worst of the offseason.
And probably not the majority of even the most optimistic Bulls fans. Most of us were just going to be happy if DeRozan found an agreeable number of shots and a way to fit in with Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic.
He's instead playing like a top-15 player who's hell-bent on adding some accolades to his four All-Star nods and 2016 Olympic gold medal. DeRozan says he's using the critics who say he's "washed" as motivation for this season.
Any worries we had about him meshing with LaVine are already gone with the 1-2 punch proving impossible for both Los Angeles teams to contend with on back-to-back nights. LaVine scored 29 against the Clippers and 26 against the Lakers. He seems to appreciate having a partner in crime who can match him shot for shot and then some.
DeRozan even said LaVine was goading him to get one more basket against the Lakers.
“He was trying to force me to get 40 tonight and I told him I was tired,” DeRozan told reporters.
It's obviously a long season and there's no telling if DeRozan can keep it up over an entire year, let alone three.
But his arrival has completely changed the outlook for the Bulls.
He's been worth every penny.
- Former Laker Alex Caruso made his return to Staples Center and got both a two-minute tribute video and a bear-hug from LeBron.
- I knew the Lakers were a mess, but it was really something to see in a game that I watched every possession. Lakers fans are having the same amount of fun that Bulls fans used to have.
- Anthony Davis was ejected after two technicals and LeBron wasn't called for anything when he ran on the court in street clothes to protest. He's lucky he wasn't wearing a Bears jersey, which would've changed things considerably.
News and results
Bears: Teven Jenkins back at practice
The second-round draft pick had back surgery on August 18 and is back in pads at Halas Hall, which opens a 21-day activation period from IR. The staff still needs to figure out when and where he'll play, but hooray for the first good bit of news we've seen attached to Jenkins' name in a minute.
- Also good news: The bye week did Khalil Mack and Eddie Jackson well. Both could be back for Sunday's game against the Ravens.
Illinois hoops: Turnovers sink Illini in Milwaukee
Now that's a bad loss to Marquette. The 10th-ranked Illini didn't score in the final 3:04 and committed 26 turnovers to blow a 12-point lead they held with 10 minutes to play. It's not the end of the world and Kofi Cockburn returns for the next game, but Andre Curbelo is going to drive Illini fans mad this season.
Cubs: Patrick Wisdom finishes fourth in NL ROY voting
And Frank Schwindel was seventh. Cincinnati's Jonathan India won the award going away, followed by Miami pitcher Trevor Rogers and St. Louis outfielder Dylan Carlson. Tampa Bay's Randy Arozarena won AL ROY.
Some of the best sports newsletter buds I've made over the past year are my guys at Sideline Sprint. They write a sports newsletter with a wider focus and I read it daily to make sure I'm not missing anything outside of Chicago. You can sign up here and join me for free.
1. Evan Altman on if they Corey Seager to the Cubs rumors are more than just noise. Cubs Insider
2. Jason Lieser says the bar for Matt Nagy keeping his job should be set at averaging over 30 points the final eight games. Sun-Times
3. Minnie Minoso's Hall of Fame case gets the national treatment from the great Tyler Kepner. NY Times
4. Kenny Williams is frustrated with the lack of progress in front office diversity and said so during the GM meetings . The Athletic
5. Here's who won what at last weekend's Festival of Barrel Aged Beers. Porch Drinking