Feel the basketball excitement in the air? No?
That's understandable, since FIBA, the governing body of international basketball, decided to wait until the opening of American football season to begin the renamed World Cup of Basketball.
The event begins tomorrow (Saturday), with Team USA battling Finland in Bilbao (2:30 p.m., ESPN). That's the first of five games in six days for the U.S. Here's the full slate:
Saturday vs. Finland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday vs. Turkey, 2:30 (ESPN)
Tuesday vs. New Zealand, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Wednesday vs. Dominican Republic, 2:30 (ESPN)
Thursday vs. Ukraine, 11:30 (ESPN)
Round of 16: Sept. 6-7
Quarterfinals: Sept. 9-10
Semifinals: Sept. 11-12
Gold Medal game: Sept. 14
We have a few leftover items from last night's Kyle Hendricks show and some notes leading into tonight's game against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Hendricks, with the help of two relievers, beat the Brewers 3-0. By working 7.1 innings and giving up 6 hits and no runs, Hendricks turned in his fifth straight quality start. Hendricks has put together 4 starts of at least 7 innings and 2 or fewer earned runs within his first 6 career starts. He became the first Cub to do that since Frank Castillo in 1991.
As you know, Hendricks is a Dartmouth graduate and a bright kid. Sometimes you'll hear the term “over-thinking” it in baseball (and in life). Cubs manager Rick Renteria said he doesn't worry about that with Hendricks.
The Bulls have not yet released their preseason schedule. But Cleveland did on Friday and it features a game against the Bulls on Monday, Oct. 20 in Columbus, Ohio at the Schottenstein Center.
This is relatively late in preseason, so fans may get a reasonably good look at the expected Cavs trio of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving playing together.
The Cavaliers are playing LeBron's old team, the Miami Heat, on Oct. 11 in Rio de Janeiro.
The Bulls will also get a chance to check on No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins with Minnesota. The Bulls will face the Timberwolves on Oct. 24 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
OK, it's 2:05 a.m. and I'm typing at Wrigley Field. We'll get up later and flesh it all out, but the Cubs just beat the Rockies 4-3 in 16 innings for the longest game in Cubs history in terms of time. The game took 6 hours and 27 minutes to play. The winning run scored when Starlin Castro drove in John Baker on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
The winning pitcher was Baker, a backup catcher who worked the top of the 16th inning because the bullpen was taxed to begin with. Baker joked that he had to shake off fellow catcher Welington Castillo because they weren't on the same page.
Derrick Rose took to the court in Las Vegas on Monday as Team USA opened training camp in preparation for the FIBA World Cup next month.
The NBA sent out a couple of video clips from practice. One featured Rose dunking with two hands on an inbounds play and the other saw the Bulls guard scoring on a drive to the basket while getting fouled.
"The strength in his leg is great. His explosion is back. That’s all there,” said Bulls coach Tim Thibodeau, an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski on the Team USA coaching staff.
The Cubs today managed to get something for second baseman Darwin Barney, whom they designated for assignment on July 22. They traded Barney and a cash consideration to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later. Barney, who won the Gold Glove in 2012, had a hitting line of .230/.265/.328 with the Cubs.
The emergence of Arismendy Alcantara and the activation of Emilio Bonifacio off the disabled list led to Barney being squeezed out, as did Barney's poor offense.
Joakim Noah hosted an event in the city Friday. His charitable organization, the Noah's Arc Foundation, unveiled a public service announcement urging Chicagoans to take a stand against violence.
The 60-second clip features Noah and teammate Derrick Rose, as well as renowned rapper Common, a Chicago native.
Noah also talked about the Bulls' summer, which so far has included missing out on free agent Carmelo Anthony and successfully signing former Lakers power forward Pau Gasol.
"I'm really excited," Noah said. "I think Gar (Forman) and (John Paxson) and everybody did a real good job. I'm really, really excited about the Bulls. It just makes you want to work hard and be as ready as possible for the upcoming season."
Carmelo Anthony talked about his free-agent recruiting experience in an espn.com article.
Here's a synopsis: He doesn't care about money, tough decision, was pretty much always between Chicago and New York, and ultimately he believes in Phil Jackson.
We already knew it's never about the money, right? Here's a link to the full article:
Kevin Love to the Bulls doesn't make a ton of sense.
I've talked about this several times before. The clear trend in the NBA is perimeter stars win championships. San Antonio, Miami and Boston were outside-oriented. The Lakers won two titles with the standard, two-star format – one inside (Pau Gasol) and one outside (Kobe Bryant).
Love, Gasol and Joakim Noah on the same roster would give the Bulls a powerful rebounding game, but that hasn't been a championship formula in recent years. Miami won two titles as one of the league's worst rebounding teams.
It's another new day here at Wrigley. As of midafternoon, the wind is howling straight in out of the north, and it's borderline jacket weather. Last night, we had sauna conditions here. The Cubs made a flurry of moves after last night's 6-0 victory over the Padres.
At the major-league level, they optioned struggling third baseman Mike Olt to Class AAA Iowa in anticipation of activating lefty Tsuyoshi Wada to start this evening's game against the Padres. It's really hard to believe Olt's batting numbers. But look we will.