Jimmy Butler returned to his pre-injury form Wednesday night, as the Chicago Bulls defeated the host Toronto Raptors 116-103. OK, even better than before an elbow injury that sidelined him for 11 games and from which he returned Monday. Butler had a team-high 23 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field (2-of-3 three-pointers) in a team-high 39 minutes. And only one turnover.
* Speaking of points and turnovers, Tony Snell had 17 points (7-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-5 three-pointers) and zero turnovers off the bench for the Bulls, who posted single-digit turnovers (8) for the second consecutive contest. His plus-16 while he was on the court was second-best for the Bulls.
* Speaking of plus-minus numbers, Nikola Mirotic was a game-best plus-24. He had 15 points off the bench. The rookie figures to be a major plus for the Bulls for the next decade or so.
* Speaking of major pluses, the Bulls shot 60.8 percent from the field and shot 75 percent in the fourth quarter when they outscored the Raptors 39-21. Something says the Bulls — or just about any team — will win with shooting like that. Just guessing, mind you. But fairly certain the observation is pretty much on target.
* Speaking of impressive performances, White Sox rookie left-hander Carlos Rodon struck out nine in four innings in a 6-0 victory vs. Kansas City. Something says even if he does not start the season on the big-league level, he will be contending this season for American League rookie of the year. Another uneducated guess (the only variety that you wil find around here).
* Speaking of the Sox, manager Robin Ventura named Jeff Samardzija the team’s Opening Day starter. No surprise there. The Sox will settle for Samardzija having similar success to the last two seasons when he was the Cubs’ Opening Day starter and allowed zero runs in 15 innings. Again, another uneducated guess. At this rate, we will destroy the value of an education guess (then again, that’s an uneducated guess, too).
* Speaking of the Cubs, Travis Wood allowed three runs in five innings in a 3-2 loss to Seattle. The Cubs are doing their best (well, “best” might not be the most precise adjective here) to keep everyone from being overly optimistic. As if that’s generally a problem for longtime Cubs fans.
* Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said renovation of Wrigley Field might take longer than expected. As in not finishing until 2016. Cubs observers are familiar with the concept of a rebuilding plan taking longer than expected, but such a prolonged process tends to be about the product on the field rather than the ballpark itself. So it’s already time to start waiting till next year? Well, that was quick (or slow, depending how you want to construct your sentence and choice of adjective).
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