This Thanksgiving, there’s so much for Chicago sports fans to be thankful for.
For example, the Bears and Mitch Trubisky have an opportunity Thursday in Detroit to avoid wallowing in utter embarrassment. Trubisky may even be the best — least bad? — quarterback on the field, with the Lions down to third-stringer David Blough. Apparently, Eric Hipple, Bob Gagliano and Dan Orlovsky were all unavailable.
Oh, and how about those Blackhawks? Playing much better of late, they’re one more good push from cracking the top 10 of the Western Conference points race. No, that’s not the same as being in the playoff mix, but the two West teams currently looking up at the Hawks are impressed.
And — no small thing — neither the Cubs nor the White Sox are at the center of an elaborate sign-stealing scandal. So we’ve got that going for us, too.
Alas, then there are the Bulls. Searching for things to be thankful for about them is a bit like picking at a turkey carcass that already has been fed to the dog.
Sorry, but how else to regard a band of misfits whose next winning streak — of any size, even two measly games — will be their first? The Bulls have the whole “not”-streak thing down pat. It’s the hot-streak thing they don’t seem to be able to even begin to figure out.
They’re about to lurch into December — for the third season in a row — without having won back-to-back games at any point.
The 2017-18 Bulls were 3-20 before a stunning, if meaningless, seven-game winning streak. They finished 27-55.
The 2018-19 Bulls at last won a second straight game in their final outing before Christmas. Some gift to their fans that was, with the season nearly half over. That woebegone squad finished 22-60.
Based on what, exactly, are we to believe this season’s Bulls are any better than the last two disasters? Are we to take it on faith simply because coach Jim Boylen purports to believe it?
“Of course, we want to have a winning streak,” Boylen said. “We’d love to have a winning streak, [but] we don’t. All we can do is wake up tomorrow and go to work.
“I don’t tell our guys, ‘Hey, we don’t have a winning streak going right now. We need to get one.’ I talk to them about playing better basketball more of the time, and those things will come.”
Sure, they will. Even the worst team in NBA history, the 9-73 76ers of 1972-73, had two two-game winning streaks.
These Bulls supposedly are aiming for the playoffs, yet they’re weak enough that Boylen lamented after a recent loss that a few missed dunks, three-point attempts and free-throw attempts had “taken [their] spirit.”
“I know they care,” he said.
One would hope so.
“I like my group,” he insisted.
We’re going to need a lot more cranberry sauce.
Boy, my negativity sure escalated in a hurry there.
I’m beginning to suspect all my invitations to break bread on this wonderful holiday may not have been lost in the mail after all.
† Ladies and gentlemen, your DePaul Blue Demons.
Get a load of these guys, off to a 7-0 start — for the first time in over three decades — that includes true road wins at Iowa and Boston College.
Most recent was Tuesday’s 88-75 victory over Central Michigan at Wintrust Arena. Managing to trail the Chippewas by 18 points at halftime was nothing to brag about. A 56-25 second half was another story.
Too soon for a parade through Lincoln Park for Dave Leitao and his team?
Maybe we should wait for Friday’s result at Minnesota just to be on the safe side.
† Who says there’s no room in basketball anymore for an enormous post man who wouldn’t recognize the three-point line if it kissed him on the mouth?
Illinois freshman Kofi Cockburn — all 7 feet, 290 pounds of him — was last week’s Big Ten player of the week after averaging 17.7 points and 14.7 rebounds in three Illini victories.
The rest of the conference is on notice.
† Headline: “White Sox pitcher Kelvin Herrera punches man at cockfight in the Dominican Republic.”
Let he who has never punched a man at a cockfight in the Dominican Republic cast the first stone, right?
No, not really. This one’s easy: Herrera has to go, and not because of the fisticuffs. If the Sox are warm and fuzzy enough to host regular bring-your-dog nights at Guaranteed Rate Field, they can’t stand for this sort of animal cruelty.
† Bears GM Ryan Pace vs. Bulls GM Gar Forman. Throw Forman’s boss, John Paxson, in there, too, because chairman Jerry Reinsdorf seems to be the only man alive who understands why Paxson should continue to skate on into eternity.