Bulls-Bucks, White Sox-Guardians, Cubs-Rays, spring football: This You Gotta See

On May 8, 2015, at precisely a time in the Chicago night that we cannot determine, or else we would for glorious effect, Derrick Rose lifted his body off the United Center floor and heaved a shot — over the outstretched arm of Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson — toward the basket.

It banked in at the buzzer from outside the three-point line. The Bulls beat the Cavs 99-96 for a 2-1 series lead in the second round of the postseason on what was our team’s first game-winner in the final 10 seconds of a playoff game since Michael Jordan shot a shot — does anybody remember the shot? — over Utah’s Bryon Russell in 1998.

But then the Bulls lost the next three games. They haven’t won a playoff game at home ever since.

So they’ve got that going for them as they open a first-round series against the big, bad, defending NBA champion Bucks. The first two games will be in Milwaukee, where, if the Bulls lose twice, this series will be all kinds of over considering how thoroughly one team owns the other in this purported rivalry.

But the Bulls will get at least a couple of cracks at the Bucks on the West Side, right? Maybe, just maybe, that’s where the narrative will change. The Bulls are banking on DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine to behave like All-Stars. Fans are hoping to be surprised — in a good way — for the first time in what must feel like forever.

And here’s what’s happening:

SUN 17

Cubs at Rockies (2:10 p.m., Marquee)

The finale of a four-game series means another afternoon spent with Kris Bryant, one of the great recent Cubs up there with Anthony Rizzo, Jon Lester and Seiya Suzuki. Bryant and the Rox don’t come to Wrigley Field until mid-September.

Bulls at Bucks, Game 1 (5:30 p.m., TNT)

As the old NBA axiom goes: Game 1 is the easiest game to steal. Now that we’ve done all the heavy lifting by reminding the Bulls of that, the least they can do is take it from here.

MON 18

Jose Ramirez of the Guardians

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

White Sox at Guardians (5:10 p.m., NBCSCH)

Anyone else super excited for four days of inane debate about whether or not Guardians is a good name for a baseball team? It’s the first game ever, in a sense, between these old rivals.

“E60: The Paterno Legacy” (7 p.m., ESPN)

More than 10 years since Jerry Sandusky was indicted and Joe Paterno fired amid the darkness of a massive child sex-abuse scandal at Penn State, key figures — including the imprisoned Sandusky — speak to the facts, the horrors and a cover-up that better not ever be forgotten.

TUE 19

Rays at Cubs (6:40 p.m., Marquee)

It’s amazing how a big-league team can stay so relevant despite its puny payroll, meager revenues and so many other things stacked against it. And then there are the Rays.

“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (9 p.m., HBO)

The show’s 300th episode profiles South Africa’s two-time Olympic gold medal-winning runner Caster Semenya, an intersex athlete long forced by track’s governing body to undergo hormone therapy. Also featured: American influencer Jake Paul, who is famous for being famous.

WED 20

Bulls at Bucks, Game 2 (8:30 p.m., TNT)

If we’re Billy Donovan, we draw up a game plan that has the Bulls staying close for three quarters before DeMar DeRozan takes over in the fourth. Again, we’ve done our part and you’re welcome.

THU 21

White Sox at Guardians (12:10 p.m., NBCSCH)

Another four-game set comes to a close, and that’s assuming cold, rainy Cleveland cooperated. If you’re in the habit of scouring weather.com, you understand that cold, rainy Cleveland may not have cooperated.

Illinois coach Bret Bielema

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Illinois spring football game (6:30 p.m., BTN)

As seems to be the case almost yearly, the Illini have a new offensive coordinator. Can Barry Lunney Jr. make sense of this mess? And will Syracuse transfer Tommy DeVito Jr. be Lunney’s starting quarterback?

FRI 22

Pirates at Cubs (1:20 p.m., Marquee)

One can’t be sure it works out this way, but ex-Cub Jose Quintana is lined up for his first start at Wrigley since 2020, when he was still donning the blue pinstripes. But enough about Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease.

Bucks at Bulls, Game 3 (7:30 p.m., Ch. 7)

Up or down in the series, win or lose in this game — no matter what — the United Center will be rocking. Playoff basketball in Chicago is here again, and it’s grand.

SAT 23

Notre Dame spring football game (1 p.m., Peacock)

The quarterback battle between Tyler Buchner and Drew Pyne comes to a head, until, of course, it comes to a head all over again in training camp.

White Sox at Twins (3:05 p.m., NBCSCH, FS1)

The Twins made a bunch of offseason noise — hello, Carlos Correa — but are they a real threat to the Sox in the AL Central? And why are we thinking about last year’s playoffs against the Astros all over again?

Fire at Minnesota United (4 p.m., ESPN)

And speaking of Chicago-Minnesota sports rivalries, is this one of them? Look, some of us are still getting our feet wet re: the whole MLS thing.

Blackhawks at Sharks (7 p.m., NBCSCH)

Have we saved the best game for last? No, we very much have not. But we are contractually obligated to include the Hawks in this column, and now we’ve done it.

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