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Good morning, Chicago!
We waited 1,820 days for the return of playoff basketball to the United Center and I have to be honest: I’m not sure we should reset that counter back to zero.
After a thrilling Game 2 win in Milwaukee, the Bulls returned to Chicago and were promptly flattened for two straight games by the Bucks. It was a brutal weekend and our own Will Gottlieb broke down exactly how Milwaukee got its groove back after a slow start to the series.
The Bulls now trail in the series 3-1 and their season could end with a loss in Wednesday night’s Game 5 back at Fiserv Forum.
Nothing in this series is really coming as a surprise, though I could do without Grayson Allen turning into Ray Allen the past two games.
Seeing some pop from the Bulls’ young players would be nice, too.
You have to wonder what the Bulls brain trust is planning for the summer now that the defending champions have shown just how much farther they need to go.
Zach LaVine’s contract situation will take a lot of energy and headlines.
They’ll have to find a reliable three-point threat and someone capable of protecting the rim, too.
But getting the Bulls to the next level will be easier said than done. Acquiring Nikola Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan depleted the team’s draft capital and financial flexibility.
Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley will either need to get creative or weird.
It seems clear, though, that the Bulls can’t just run it back and hope next year’s team stays healthy and that Patrick Williams and Ayo Dosunmu make big jumps.
The Bulls would benefit greatly from that, but the past few days (months?) have shown there’s more than enough room for upgrades.
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The week ahead
We’re pretty amped for our NFL draft coverage at CHGO headquarters this week. We’ll be pumping out content all week and will be doing live shows each night — even though the Bears don’t currently have a first-round pick.
- Friday is the big night: The Bears hold two second-round picks (39th and 48th overall) and one in the third (71st). They currently own three picks on Saturday: 148th, 150th and 186th.
- Need a cram session? Our CHGO Bears team put together a prospect playlist of some wide receivers, offensive linemen and cornerbacks in one handy YouTube playlist.
The Sox return home licking their wounds as owners of a seven-game losing streak. They’re 6-9 (not nice) and will face the Royals at Guaranteed Rate for three starting on Tuesday, followed by a four-game set against the Angels.
- Want to see Shohei Ohtani pitch? He’s currently projected to start the finale next Monday night.
- Injury news: We’ll get a better idea of Eloy Jimenez’s return timetable after he’s checked out at Rush this week. The Sox currently project him out for 6-8 weeks after hurting his hamstring while running to first on Saturday.
The team starts a six-game swing through Atlanta and Milwaukee on Tuesday. They’re coming off a week in which they won as many games as the Bulls, Hawks and Sox combined.
- The bad news: They went 2-5 and somehow dropped 3 of 4 games to the Pirates despite a +17 run differential. (OK, Saturday’s 21-0 win helped a bit.)
The season finally comes to a close this week. They’re at home tonight and Wednesday against Philly and Vegas before calling it a year in Buffalo on Friday.
- Oof: The Hawks currently have 63 points, the lowest total for a full season since they posted 65 in 2005-06.
Preseason for the defending champs continues. They’ll face Dallas at Wintrust this morning for their first exhibition game.
The team’s Challenge Cup run came to an end on Sunday with a hard-fought 2-1 loss to KC. They’ll open up the regular season against Racing Louisville on Saturday night in Bridgeview.
A 3-0 loss to Minnesota dropped the Fire to 2-4-2 for the season. NY Red Bulls come calling at Soldier Field on Saturday night.
- Chicago soccer fans: We’re going to be dropping some news this week we’re pretty sure you’re going to like.
Thanks to everyone who came out to Third Rail Tavern on Friday night for our first-ever watch party. While the Bulls didn’t come through, we still had a blast. Stay tuned for more get togethers in the year ahead!
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