Tagged in: bench

Grayson Allen sinks Chicago Bulls amid boos as Milwaukee Bucks take commanding 3-1 lead

In the days leading up to the team’s first road playoff games in Chicago, the Milwaukee Bucks used every chance they could to shower Grayson Allen with boos.

They booed Allen when he walked onto the team bus. They booed him when he arrived in the lobby of their team hotel. They even booed him during film sessions and when Allen touched the ball in practice.

So when Allen set back-to-back playoff career highs in Games 3 and 4 this weekend to help Milwaukee take a commanding 3-1 series lead over Chicago, the Bucks bench enjoyed booing him all the way.

“They have so much fun doing it,” Allen said with a laugh after scoring 27 points off the bench in the Bucks’ 119-95 victory Sunday afternoon. “I think it’s honestly hilarious. They’ve kind of turned it into a fun thing. It makes hearing it out there during the game a lot easier too because they think it’s so funny.”

Game 5 will be Wednesday night in Milwaukee.

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The Bucks started jeering their own teammate earlier this season once they heard the reaction Allen received every time he touched the ball during the team’s first game in Chicago back in March. Allen became public enemy No.1 to Chicago basketball fans after his flagrant foul on Bulls guard Alex Caruso during a game on Jan. 21 resulted in a fractured wrist for Caruso, forcing him to miss two months.

Allen stated Sunday that he had attempted to reach out to Caruso to apologize after the incident, but the two never connected.

The Bulls downplayed any lingering animosity toward Allen leading up to the series, but fans at the United Center have not let it go as easily, responding with loud boos each time Allen approached the scorer’s table or touched the ball on offense each game this season.

Even if he has gained a reputation as a villain in Chicago, Allen insisted after the game Sunday that he does not feed off such a negative reaction.

“It’s not naturally comfortable for me,” Allen said. “I am to the point now, anytime I go out and play basketball, I just remind myself to go out and have fun with this. … My personality is naturally uncomfortable with the attention, the booing, the heckling. It’s not something I feed off of. I’m not going out searching for it.”

That hasn’t stopped Allen’s teammates from having fun with it.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo suggested Allen frame a photo from Game 3 in which the Bucks bench is in the background booing Allen as he heads to the free throw line after a converted and-1.

Allen went 10-of-12 from the field on Sunday, including 6-of-7 from 3-point range, to outscore Chicago’s bench all by himself 27-17. He became the first Bucks player to score 25 points and knock down six 3s in a playoff game in team history and first Bucks player with at least 25 points off the bench since Tim Thomas in 2003, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

Allen even made plays on defense, collecting three steals and holding Chicago to 3-of-8 shooting when he was the primary defender.

Allen rebounded after going 0-for-4 from 3 to start the series in the first two games. His performance this weekend helped the Bucks withstand the loss of forward Khris Middleton, who will miss the rest of this first-round series with a sprained MCL in his left knee. Chicago had waited five years for a home playoff game here, and the fans’ reward was a weekend of uncompetitive basketball.

The Bulls were outscored by a combined score of 230-176 in the two games on their home floor and must win on Wednesday in Milwaukee to extend their season.

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Curry, Warriors beat Kings 113-98 in short-handed showdown

Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors gave his son an early 5th birthday gift by permitting the boy to help on the sidelines running towels, shooting shirts and masks to Warriors players along their bench.

And dad delivered his first triple-double of the season to boot.

Green notched his franchise-leading 31st career triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists with Draymond Jr. an equally big star as Golden State held off the Sacramento Kings 113-98 on Monday night in a matchup of short-handed rivals due to COVID protocols.

“You like that?” Green shared of his postgame chat with young Draymond Jr., or “DJ.”

“It was fun, Daddy,” the boy answered before his father made clear, “We can’t do it all the time, we can do it sometimes.”

Green was thrilled with the opportunity for his son, who he praised for being “well-behaved” and doing just enough while staying out of the way.

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The Vikings’ final three matches are at home versus the Los Angeles Rams and at NFC North champion Green Bay before they host Chicago in the finale. The result in this one was hardly a surprise given the state of the Bears (4-10).

Chicago lost for the eighth time in nine games, and with 14 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, that seemed inevitable. Receiver Allen Robinson was on it, as was the starting secondary.

The health issues also hit the coaching staff, with all three coordinators testing positive for the coronavirus during the week.

Defensive coordinator Sean Desai was cleared to return hours before kickoff. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was not cleared, so Nagy called plays. And special teams coordinator Chris Tabor was out.

Cousins, who struggled last week, didn’t exactly dominate in this one. He was 12 of 24 for 87 yards with an interception and got sacked four times. The two-time Pro Bowler also connected with Justin Jefferson for a 12-yard touchdown in the first quarter and threw a 7-yarder to Ihmir Smith-Marsette in the third.

Dalvin Cook ran for 89 yards, after going for 205 versus Pittsburgh in a sooner-than-expected return from a dislocated shoulder.

D.J. Wonnum had a career-high three sacks and the Vikings recovered three fumbles on the way to their second straight win after back-to-back losses.

“It’s not just playing better, it’s getting better,” Zimmer said. “It’s getting better in the run defense, getting better in the pass coverage, it’s getting better in protection. It’s getting better in running the ball. It’s all those things. We’re trying to get better so we can get to that spot where we’ve got to get to.”

For the Bears and their fans, it was another frustrating outing.

Fields threw for 285 yards and ran for 35 in his second game back after missing two with broken ribs. The rookie completed 26 of 39 passes playing behind a line missing both starting tackles, with right tackle Larry Borom on the COVID list and left tackle Jason Peters out with an ankle injury.

Robert Quinn and Akiem Hicks each had two sacks. Quinn has 16 this year, leaving him just shy of Hall of Famer Richard Dent’s franchise record of 17 1/2 in 1984. But Chicago committed nine penalties for 91 yards in a sloppy performance that had fans again booing at times and making their feelings about coach Matt Nagy known, chanting “Fire Nagy!”

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Chicago Bulls exercise contract options on Coby White, Patrick Williams

The Bulls have exercised a pair of rookie scale team options, locking in guard Coby White and forward Patrick Williams for the 2022/23 campaign, the team revealed wednesday in a press release.

While decisions on standard team options are typically due right before free agency begins, teams have to make their decisions on rookie scale team options a year in advance.

By October 31, clubs must either exercise or decline third-year options for first-round picks from 2020 and fourth-year options for 2019’s first-rounders.

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White was a starter for the Bulls this past season, but figures to come off the bench following the team’s acquisition of Lonzo Ball in free agency.

The 21-year-old averaged 15.1 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 4.1 RPG on .416/.359/.901 shooting in 69 games (31.2 MPG) in 2020/21. His ’21/22 debut may be delayed, since he’s coming off left shoulder surgery.

Williams, the No. 4 pick in the 2020 draft, was also a full-time starter last season as a 19-year-old rookie.

His role for 2021/22 stays unclear, but the former Florida State standout looks like a key part of Chicago’s long-term plans. He put up 9.2 PPG and 4.6 RPG on .483/.391/.728 shooting in 71 games (27.9 MPG) last season. White’s fourth-year option for 2022/23 is worth $7,413,955.

He’ll now be extension-eligible during the 2022 offseason and would be eligible for restricted free agency in 2023 if he doesn’t sign a new contract next year.

Williams’ third-year option for ’22/23 will pay him $7,775,400. The Bulls will have to decide on his fourth-year option for 2023/24 by October 31, 2022.

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Carson Wentz not interested in backup role, will want to leave Philadelphia Eagles if Jalen Hurts remains starting QB

Carson Wentz is not interested in being a backup quarterback and would want to move on from the Eagles if the current situation — with Jalen Hurts starting under center — continues in Philadelphia, sources connected to the team told ESPN.

Although the Eagles’ quarterback situation stays fluid with three games left this season, Wentz is not pleased with the way events have unfolded in the organization, according to sources.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson has not said whether the quarterback switch is permanent — only going so far as to announce Hurts as the starter for Sunday — but player and team sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen last weekend that Hurts will remain the starter this season.

Philadelphia’s decision to bench Wentz for Hurts has garnered the attention of other teams around the NFL, with some expected to inquire about Wentz’s availability in a trade, according to sources.

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The Eagles (4-8-1), a long shot to win the NFC East but still in contention, started their final three-game stretch versus the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, when Hurts  made his second straight start in place of Wentz. The rookie led Philadelphia to an upset victory last Sunday over the New Orleans Saints and could make Philadelphia’s franchise quarterback decision even more difficult if he continues to play well.

The Eagles selected Hurts with their second-round pick in this year’s draft and gradually worked him into their offense, initially using him under center in limited special packages before eventually giving him the full-time job — and benching Wentz — in Week 13 against the Green Bay Packers.

Hurts played well in Green Bay but was even better last week versus New Orleans, passing for 167 yards and a touchdown while running 18 times for 106 yards. He took no sacks and turned the ball over once while becoming the fifth Eagles quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game in the Super Bowl era.

After initially saying he was unsure who would start Sunday, Pederson announced Monday that Hurts would remain the starter versus Arizona.

Team sources told ESPN earlier this month that the Eagles intend to keep Wentz despite his season-long struggles and want him be a major part of their team going forward.

But if the Eagles ultimately decide to move on from Wentz, they must make that decision by the second day of the 2021 league year — sometime in mid-March — because on the third day of the league year, his $22 million base salary for 2022 becomes fully guaranteed and his 2021 roster bonus of $10 million is paid out.

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