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The Bulls Are An Entire Team With Something To Prove

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(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

 

Can you believe that the Chicago Bulls have a record of 25-10 and are currently the number one team in the Eastern Conference?

It’s been years since the Windy City has been this good and this consistent.

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Unlike other teams in the league, there haven’t been many ups and downs with the Bulls – they have stayed good all season.

Their biggest losing streak was two games and their biggest winning streak is currently ongoing with eight victories in a row.

What is driving this remarkable success?

A lot of things but one of the largest factors is multiple players on the Bulls have chips on their shoulders.

That’s right: spite and revenge are firing up this Bulls team – and it’s working!

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Ball & LaVine Bullied

Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball was selected as the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.

He was envisioned as the future of the franchise.

And after just two seasons, he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Some people said Ball’s hype outweighed his talent while others said he was too showy and was going to be a washed-up player in just a few years.

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Now Ball is playing some of the best basketball of his career: 12.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists a night while shooting a career-best 41 percent from the three-point line.

For all the complaints about him, Ball never has been very showy or egotistical – he’s let his game do the talking for him.

His game is talking very loudly now.

Zach LaVine is another Bulls baller with something to prove.

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After getting his start with the Minnesota Timberwolves, LaVine moved to the Bulls where his career really took off – like Ball, he was called the future of his team.

But LaVine has been slept-on a lot over the last few years: his team is rarely discussed and he’s only been an All-Star once despite impressive playing and two NBA Slam Dunk Contest wins.

Now with a stronger team around him, LaVine is in the running for another All-Star Game and is being called one of the best players in the East.

 

DeMar Dominates

But if you’re going to talk about someone with something to prove you have to discuss DeMar DeRozan.

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DeRozan is the star of the team and a frontrunner for MVP this season.

He’s creating 26.9 points, 5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists a game and has only had five games where he’s scored under 20 points.

This success has been a long time coming for DeRozan, who used to play for the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs.

After being sent to San Antonio after nine seasons in Toronto, many people said that DeRozan was past his prime and the likelihood of him leading a team to the Finals was slim.

Things were made even worse when it looked like the Lakers – DeRozan’s preferred destination – were going to trade for him…only to have them pass on him.

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Coming into this season, DeRozan was fired up and ready to prove to all the haters that his best days were not behind him.

He has definitely proven his point and his explosive season is carrying the Bulls into the playoffs and possibly the Finals.

The post The Bulls Are An Entire Team With Something To Prove appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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Tommy Pham hits walk-off single to give Red Sox a 3-2 victory over Yankees

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Tommy Pham ripped a walk-off single to give the Boston Red Sox a 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees in ten innings.



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Fernando Tatis Jr. suspension: An optimistic look at the Padres’ season without their star shortstop

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The Padres have lost shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr. for the rest of the season and into May of next year. He’s been suspended 80 games for a violation of the league’s joint drug agreement

Of course, the Padres haven’t had Tatis all season, so did they actually lose him? 

If it sounds like I’m about to go on a path of optimism in looking at the prospects for the Padres moving forward during Tatis’ suspension, that’s because it’s exactly what I’m going to do. Look, I grew up a Cubs fan. I’ve had to be an eternal optimist for the entirety of my sports fandom in order to maintain sanity. It comes in handy at times like these, so I’ll channel that energy here for the sake of Padres fans — really, for any baseball fans who wanted to see new blood late in the playoffs in the form of these Padres. 

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But mostly those Padres fans who are reeling right now. Let’s get to it. 

Padres haven’t had Tatis anyway

As noted, the Padres have gotten zero games from Tatis this season, so it’s not like they lost a lineup fixture who has been doing heavy lifting for the team all season. That’s what Manny Machado has been doing, and he’s fully capable of continuing to have a huge season. He’s a 29-year-old seasoned veteran. He won’t run out of gas. 

The Padres as a whole have been in playoff position basically all season. They started 14-7 and have been under .500 just one day this season — when they started 0-1. 

A big part of the Padres’ success this season has been the rotation. It’s been one of the better rotations in baseball this season, and with Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger and Sean Manaea, it figures to remain strong into the playoffs. The Tatis injury doesn’t affect that. 

What needed a boost was the offense. 

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Trade deadline additions

Let’s just take Tatis out of the equation entirely for 2022. Let’s say he was out for the season from the get-go and we never even thought about his return. We’d be talking about a team that was 60-46 through Aug. 2. The starting pitching was in great shape. The bullpen was good as well and added elite potential in Josh Hader in front of the deadline. 

The offense needed a boost. Machado is the star while Jake Cronenworth and Jurickson Profar were having quality offensive seasons, but they needed more. 

Josh Bell was hitting .301/.384/.493 (152 OPS+) with 24 doubles, three triples, 14 homers, 57 RBI and 52 runs in 103 games, and the Padres added him. Brandon Drury was hitting .274/.335/.520 (126 OPS+) with 22 doubles, two triples, 22 homers, 59 RBI and 62 runs in 92 games, and the Padres also added him. 

And, of course, they added one of the best and most polished hitters in baseball: Juan Soto

So, we’re talking about a team that was 14 games over .500 adding a top-shelf closer, two very good offensive players and a generational talent. 

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It sure seems like there’s a chance they’ll be OK, right? 

Division title was unattainable

One area they won’t be OK is in the race for the NL West. That’s over. After being swept by the Dodgers this past weekend, the Padres were facing a 16-game deficit in the division heading into Friday. They were never, ever going to make that many games up in this short period of time. Even if Tatis came back 100 percent healthy and played exponentially better than he ever has, they’d still fall short in the division. 

Follow the Braves’ path? 

In terms of sheer talent level, age and potential moving forward, Ronald Acuña, Jr. is a fair comparison for Tatis. He finished second in MVP voting at age 21 while Tatis finished third at age 22. Acuña might have been en route to an MVP last season, too, but he tore his ACL on July 10. 

The Braves were able to rally without him for a World Series championship. This was a team that only won 88 regular-season games, making them the playoff team with the worst record. They beat a 95-win Brewers team in the NLDS, a 106-win Dodgers team in the NLCS and then a 95-win Astros team in the World Series. 

No two teams ever have the same circumstances. We all know this. The 2021 Braves doesn’t mean the 2022 Padres are going to win the World Series. No one truly believes that. It doesn’t hurt for the team to look at a situation and believe they can pull off something similar, though. Plus, as we established here at the top, the Padres didn’t technically lose Tatis this season, as he never played a game. They also had a better record through July than those Braves did. The Braves didn’t add a player the caliber of Soto at the trade deadline. 

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Hell, if anything, these Padres are better suited for a deep run than those Braves were. 

This has been your optimistic spin on the Padres’ current situation, vis a vis the Tatis suspension. 

Did it work, San Diego? 



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Kyle Tucker crushes go-ahead grand slam to give Astros the lead

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Kyle Trucker crushed a go-ahead grand slam to give the Houston Astros the lead over the Oakland Athletics.



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