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16mNick Friedell

Bulls' Joakim Noah getting his 'swag' back

Jimmy Butler believes a frustrating season might be turning around for Joakim Noah, who had another encouraging performance Monday against the Spurs.

Nick Friedell ESPN Staff Writer 

Jimmy Butler admitted that he has been dealing with a heel injury since the Warriors game on Nov. 20. "Play through it," Butler said after Monday night's win over the Spurs. "I don't think that anybody cares that I'm injured. Nobody feels sorry for me. So [I] got to play. Hopefully it doesn't get worse. Get some treatment and be ready to go Wednesday ... there's nothing I can do about it. I want to play. I got to play. So ya'll will see me suit up."

Bulls fend off Spurs (1:13)

Bulls hand Spurs 4th loss

The Bulls had five players score in double digits, including a team-high 18 from Pau Gasol, as they downed the Spurs 92-89 to improve to 10-5 on the season. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 21 points with 12 boards in the loss. Box score

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Abreu still among elite first basemen

Jose Abreu underperformed expectations in 2015, and there are growing concerns over his defense. So why is he No. 7 on this list? Top 10 first basemen

Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports

The old Anthony Rizzo gone for good

Remember Rizzo's .141 batting average and 46 strikeouts his first season with the Padres? Due to a few crucial tweaks to his approach at the plate, the Cubs' first baseman ranks No. 4 on this list. Top 10 first basemen (Insider)

Spurs lead after one in Chicago

LaMarcus Aldridge is pacing San Antonio with 10 points, 6 rebounds and a block while Pau Gasol is trying to keep Chicago close with 6 points. Follow live

Nick Friedell ESPN Staff Writer 

Pau Gasol was asked what he will remember most about playing with former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant: "How competitive he is," Gasol said before Monday's game against the San Antonio Spurs. "He'll continue to be no matter what he does. That's just his spirit. He's a hard-working guy. He wants to be the best. He doesn't settle for anything less. He's always going to try to be, and will be, exceptional."


Spurs ( 14-3) at Bulls (9-5)

San Antonio is off to the second-best start in the NBA, thanks in large part to them ranking first in the league in scoring defense, dropping two of three to end a four-game trip. That spells trouble for Chicago as it has shot 37.6 percent in its past three contests. Follow live

Jeff Borzello ESPN Staff Writer 

Illinois big man Mike Thorne Jr. underwent surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee and is out indefinitely, the school announced. Thorne suffered the injury against Iowa State on Saturday. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds so far this season.

Bears' McPhee motivated by Rodgers' Week 1 comment (2:47)

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

With the official NCAA determination on 5-7 bowl teams and Missouri's decision to decline a bid, Nebraska and Minnesota are in line to receive invites. Illinois needs Georgia State and South Alabama to lose this week.

McPhee: Rodgers' remark motivated Bears

Chicago LB Pernell McPhee said Thursday's win at Green Bay was extra meaningful because of comments made by Aaron Rodgers in Week 1. "C'mon, the quarterback said he loved beating up on us. Who he think we are?" McPhee told reporters. "We ain't the team from last year, or two years ago, or three years ago. ... A lot of guys took it personal."

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Could Upton land with the White Sox?

Chicago's infield needs more help than its outfield does, but the team's biggest weakness is its poor offense. Signing a bat like Justin Upton could help fix that. Upton's potential landing spots