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Bulls slam Nuggets despite Nikola Jokic’s third triple-double of the year

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Bulls slam Nuggets despite Nikola Jokic’s third triple-double of the year

CHICAGO – As Zach LaVine elevated, the buzz from Bulls fans grew in anticipation.

Nikola Jokic’s sloppy fourth-quarter turnover sullied his third triple-double of the season and gave the United Center one more reason to roar. LaVine threw it down, and the pain kept coming for the Nuggets, who fell 109-97 to the resurgent Bulls on Monday night.

With barely six minutes remaining in the fourth, Lonzo Ball smashed home an alley-oop that came less than a minute after LaVine’s jam.

“I don’t have a game-plan for transition,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “We can talk about defending a play, pick-and-roll, catch-and-shoot, post … transition is effort. Transition is pride.”

Even though Jokic finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists – passing Larry Bird for the eighth-most triple-doubles in NBA history — the Nuggets were cooked.

They fell to 11-12 on the season and will head to New Orleans for their fifth of seven consecutive road games.

Aaron Gordon (18 points) could do nothing to quell LaVine, who poured in a game-high 32 points. Will Barton added 19 for the Nuggets, but on just 8-of-20 shooting from the field.

Chicago finished with a 44-28 edge in points in the paint. The aforementioned slams felt like they were worth more.

The Bulls found out less than three hours before tip-off that they’d be without star guard DeMar DeRozan due to health and safety protocols. Malone was adamant that didn’t matter. He maintained that the Bulls – with LaVine and Ball – had ample firepower from their backcourt.

He was right.

The Nuggets stammered out of halftime in much the same way they’d struggled against the Magic and the Knicks to open recent third quarters. Poor offensive sets, rife with ugly turnovers, kick-started a quick 7-0 run for the Bulls.

“My disappointment in the loss tonight is more the way we came out to start that third quarter, again,” Malone said. “I just asked our starters. I said, ‘What do you want me to do differently at halftime? I’ll do it. Want me to sing, want me to dance, want me to do something? I’ll do it.”

Jokic responded with the Nuggets reeling. He served up consecutive layups to Jeff Green and Barton, then ripped a steal for an easy layup of his own. Around Jokic, the offense flowed seamlessly and gave them a chance to withstand LaVine’s offensive theatrics. But when Jokic went to the bench, the Nuggets down 67-66 with 2:29 left, the wheels came off.

LaVine made three consecutive buckets, with each finish ramping up the volume in the United Center. He was only offset, slightly, by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Gordon. The Bulls carried all the momentum and a 77-71 lead into the fourth quarter

When these two teams met roughly three weeks ago, the Nuggets didn’t have the luxury of their MVP center, who was out due to a wrist sprain. But a healthy Jokic changes everything for the Nuggets’ future prospects.

“Nikola is the anchor of our defense,” Malone said prior to the game. “The defensive numbers bear that out. When he’s on the floor, we have an elite level defense. Offensively, obviously, everything we do we play through him.”

The Bulls tried to slow Jokic with double-teams, but he picked apart their defensive scheme in the first half on Monday. Denver carried a 49-46 lead into the break thanks largely to his well-rounded production and an unselfish streak from the rest of the roster. The Nuggets assisted on 15 of 17 field goals over the first two quarters.

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Fire heavily damages Jefferson County restaurant

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Fire heavily damages Jefferson County restaurant

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – Fire heavily damaged a Jefferson County restaurant Monday afternoon.

The fire started at about 4:30 p.m. at Jilly’s Cafe and Steakhouse on Gravois Road in High Ridge. The fire spread from the rear of the building into the attic. The business was closed at the time and no one was injured.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. FOX 2 will continue to update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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Three Dolphins make All-Rookie Team; Miami signs DB to futures contract

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Three Miami Dolphins make All-Rookie Team

The Miami Dolphins had three players make the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team following the 2021 season: Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips and safety Jevon Holland.

Miami’s first three players selected in the 2021 NFL draft proved to be a record-breaking bunch in the regular season. Waddle, taken with the No. 6 pick, set an NFL rookie receptions record with 104 catches. Phillips, the 18th pick out of the University of Miami, broke a franchise rookie mark with 8 1/2 sacks.

Waddle, who was also voted as team MVP by local media, finished with 1,015 receiving yards, six touchdowns and another touchdown rushing. Phillips, who made it on the PFWA team as a defensive lineman selection, had 42 tackles and a fumble recovery, along with his sack total. The versatile Holland, taken early in the second round, totaled 69 tackles, two interceptions, 2 1/2 sacks, 10 pass deflections and a pair of fumble recoveries.

The success of the Dolphins’ top three selections in the 2021 draft were a refreshing rebound from the three first-round choices in 2020 of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa over Justin Herbert, offensive lineman Austin Jackson and cornerback Noah Igbinoghene.

The wide receiver that made the team alongside Waddle was Cincinnati Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase, who was also named the Offensive Rookie of the Year by PFWA. Atlanta Falcons’ Kyle Pitts, a Florida grad whom the Dolphins also bypassed in the draft with their moves from picking third to 12th and finally sixth, also made it as the tight end.

Denver Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II, the American Heritage High product and son of the former Dolphins cornerback by the same name, also made the rookie team.

Mac Jones of the New England Patriots was the rookie team’s quarterback, while the two running backs were Pittsburgh Steelers’ Najee Harris and Denver Broncos’ Javonte Williams.

Only the Kansas City Chiefs — center Creed Humphrey, guard Trey Smith and linebacker Nick Bolton — and the Cleveland Browns — linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, cornerback Greg Newsome II and punt returner Demetric Felton — had three selections, like the Dolphins.

The overall Rookie of the Year was Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons, who was also Defensive Rookie of the Year.

On Monday, Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard was a PFWA All-AFC selection.

Futures deal

The Dolphins signed defensive back D’Angelo Ross to a reserve/futures contract, the team announced on Tuesday. He became the seventh player Miami signed to a futures deal since the season ended.

Ross played in three games with one start for the New England Patriots in 2021, totaling three tackles, two solo. He also played in New England’s AFC wild-card game. Ross spent the entire 2020 season on New England’s practice squad and missed the 2019 season on injured reserve. He originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2019.

The Dolphins are up to seven players on futures deals. Within the month, they also announced the signings of defensive back Quincy Wilson, running back Gerrid Doaks, wide receiver Cody Core, cornerback Javaris Davis, tackle Adam Pankey and tackle Kion Smith.

The signings allow the Dolphins to keep these players throughout the offseason. They go into effect at the start of the new league year on March 16, when rosters expand to 90.

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MLB drops arbitration cuts after union holds on free agents

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MLB drops arbitration cuts after union holds on free agents

Major League Baseball withdrew its plan for more limited salary arbitration on Tuesday, a day after the union withdrew its demand for greater free agent eligibility.

In the second straight day of talks aimed at an agreement to end a lockout that started Dec. 2, clubs also accepted the union’s framework to funnel additional money to pre-arbitration-eligible players from central revenue, offering a $10 million pool based on awards and WAR. The union has asked for $105 million for the group, usually about 30 players annually.

In addition, management increased its offer to increase the minimum salary for players with less than one year of major league service from $600,000 to $615,000, but with a provision teams couldn’t pay more than that amount. Players have proposed a $775,000 minimum next year, up from $570,500.

Management also withdrew its proposal that would have delinked pensions from inflation, which under the current plan results in automatic increases.

Details of the roughly one-hour bargaining session were disclosed by a pair of people familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because no public statements were authorized.

Given the sides didn’t even speak about central economic issues for six weeks before talks resumed Jan. 13, incremental progress over two days was positive as the bickering sides try to end baseball’s ninth work stoppage and first since 1995.

Still, time is dwindling before the scheduled start of spring training on Feb. 16. Opening day on March 31 will be threatened if there is not a deal by the end of next month.

The sides agreed to continue negotiating on non-core issues while the union deliberates its next step on the bigger economic components.

Teams at first proposed to eliminate arbitration for all players and earlier this month limited the plan to getting rid of it for the so-called “super 2s,” the 22% of players who are eligible with at least two seasons of major league service but less than three.

Players want to increase arbitration eligibility to all players with two years of major league service, its level from 1974-86. They also want to cut revenue sharing by what the union estimates is $30 million annually, which if accomplished likely would increase spending by large-market teams.

Clubs says they will not consider changes to arbitration or alterations that would lower revenue sharing, and they dispute the union’s revenue sharing projection.

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