The Morning Loop is a one-stop-shop for all of your Chicago sports teams, with news and notes about last night’s action as well as what’s on tap for the day across the Chicago sports landscape.
This is your Morning Loop for December 24, 2016:
Bulls Fall to the Hornets 103-91
The Bulls continued to struggle on Friday evening in Charlotte as they fell to the Hornets, falling below .500 for the first time this season.
After an evenly played first quarter, the Bulls led 26-24, but would relinquish the lead in the second quarter after being outscored by 12. The Bulls would not see the lead again on Friday night, as they turned in a sloppy performance, shooting just 39.6 percent from the field.
The Bulls sent the Hornets to the free-throw line often, and the Hornets made them pay, making 24 of 28 attempts at the charity stripe. Jimmy Butler led the way in scoring again for the Bulls, racking up 26 points.
As the frustrations of a horrible month of basketball boiled over in the final seconds of Friday night’s contest, Bulls center Robin Lopez was ejected from the game after receiving a flagrant type two after he delivered a hard hit to a pair of Hornets.
The Bulls have now lost eight of their last 11 games, and have fallen under the .500 mark for the first time this season. The Bulls (14-15) will take on the San Antonio Spurs (23-6) on Christmas Day in San Antonio. Catch the holiday action on ABC (TV) and WLS-890AM (Radio) on Sunday at 4:00 PM (CT).
Blackhawks Lose 2-1 in Overtime, Crawford Strong in His Return From IR
Corey Crawford made his return to the Blackhawks net on Friday night as the Blackhawks hosted the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center.
Crawford missed three weeks after undergoing an appendix removal procedure on December 3, and didn’t look the least bit affected by the time off as he stopped 32 of the 34 Avalanche shots that he faced. The Blackhawks looked sluggish again to start the first period on Friday at the U.C., as they were out-shot early in the game.
Crawford was able to keep the Blackhawks tied with the Avalanche at zero after one period despite the flurry of shots that he faced early. In the second period Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead, as he scored his first goal in 13 games.
In the third period the Avalanche would tie the game at one-a-piece on the strength of a Mikko Rantanen goal, his fifth of the season. Just 25 seconds into the overtime period, Nathan MacKinnon beat Crawford for the game-winning goal for the Avalanche.
For only having a few practices this week following his nearly three week absence, Crawford put on an impressive showing in net for the Hawks’ despite being credited with the loss.
The Blackhawks will have the next three nights off before hosting the Winnipeg Jets next Tuesday evening, puck drop is at 7:30 PM (CT) and you can catch the action on CSN-Chicago (TV) and WGN-720AM (Radio).
White Sox Remain in the Hot Stove Rumors on Friday
The White Sox stayed in the spotlight on Friday afternoon, as reports circulated that they were in talks with both the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the New York Yankees in regards to a blockbuster three-team trade involving Jose Quintana, but the reports lost steam during the late afternoon.
Read why I don’t see the trade going down as rumored, and my hypothetical trade between the three clubs that just might actually work for all involved, here.
Bears host the Redskins
The Bears (3-11) host the Washington Redskins (7-6-1) this afternoon for some Christmas Eve football by the lake-front at Soldier Field.
The Bears could be in for a very long afternoon as they look to shut down the Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, and the Redskins third ranked offense. Washington is averaging 406.6 yards per game on the campaign to date.
The Redskins defeated the Bears 24-21 in December of 2015 in Washington, and are favored to do the same later this afternoon.
You can catch the action at Noon (CT) on FOX (TV).