Bulls

Bulls aim to clean up turnover issues

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Bulls aim to clean up turnover issues

When observers look at the past two games for the Bulls, they might wonder why it would take an overtime period to relinquish the Pistons on Sunday and -- even with Derrick Rose and Luol Deng out on Monday -- how it's possible to lose to the Wizards, two teams with less combined wins than the Bulls' 46?

That Kevin Seraphin, he came out of nowhere, said Kyle Korver. Hes a good player, a big boy, heavy and strong boy. They just kind of beat us up down low.

Korver was referring to the Wizards second-year forward after his 21-point, 13-rebound and five blocks were key to Washingtons dominance over Chicago with a 48-22 edge in points in the paint.

Turnovers in particular have hurt the Bulls the past three games as theyre averaging 17 in that span. They gave away that amount on Wednesday and it helped the Wizards to 20 fast break points, while they could only muster two points in the open court.

We have to play a lot better, said Coach Tom Thibodeau. That part is on me. I have to get the team to play well, we have more than enough to win with. We didnt do our job tonight, I didnt do my job. It starts with me. I have to have them ready.

Added Korver: What makes us a good team is were a lot of pieces that fit really well together and we all bring something different and we all just need to do our jobs and do whatever it is that we do. They played a lot harder than we did tonight and that was the bottom line. They got a lot of guys who are playing for their careers and it just goes to show in the NBA you can win any night, you can lose any night.

We dont need to coast until the end of the season, we just have to win our games, he continued. Lets go win them. we can win them. We can win every single one. We have to get healthy, we have to get some timing, guys are beat up but we can. After the New York game on April 8, it was like the world is crashing down on us, then we won two big games and everything was amazing. We just have to get back to playing good basketball.

The Bulls seem to also fall into lulls during the game before picking up their intensity towards the end. That was on display in Sundays overtime win in Detroit and again vs. Washington -- only this time, their late push fell just short.

To be honest, thats the way weve been playing, said Thibodeau. That edge and that sense of urgency has to be there at the start of the game. Were scrambling at the end and executing well at the end, but thats not the way you win. Youre not going to be consistent by doing that.

As angry and disgusted as Thibodeau was after Mondays loss, Wednesdays game against the Charlotte Bobcats is the perfect matchup for a bounce-back performance foucing on correcting the mistakes that have plagued the team recently.

I think we just try to get a little too cute with the ball, said Korver. I think sometimes, its fun to make the pass that gets the assists and sometimes you just have to swing the ball and I think were making too many assist passes instead of making the easy play.

Season in Review: Antonio Blakeney had the Mamba Mentality

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USA TODAY

Season in Review: Antonio Blakeney had the Mamba Mentality

Over the next month we'll be recapping each of the Bulls' individual 2018-19 regular seasons.

Previous reviews: Lauri Markkanen | Shaq Harrison | Ryan Arcidiacono | Otto Porter  | Wayne Selden | Zach LaVine

Preseason expectations: Like most of the end-of-the-bench Bulls, Antonio Blakeney’s role became much larger with the injuries to Denzel Valentine, Kris Dunn and even Bobby Portis. It moved everyone up on the depth chart across the board, and that included Blakeney.

The expectations were simple because of what Blakeney is: a scorer. Good nights would include games where his midrange jumper was falling, and bad ones would be obvious quickly. Then again, the Bulls liked what they saw in his impressive Summer League by giving him guaranteed money on a two-year deal.

What went right: Well, he did provide a scoring punch on occasion. Blakeney topped the 14-point mark eight different times in 2019 and did so in pretty efficient fashion – he shot 50 percent or better in six of those eight games. Blakeney had a knack for reeling off a few makes in a row to help the Bulls in spurts. Of course they happened few and far between, but we’d be remiss not to mention that a hot Blakeney was a really good Blakeney.

What went wrong: A whole lot. On the surface you’ll see that Blakeney shot 39.6 percent from beyond the arc last season. In reality, much of that damage came early in the season. In a five-game stretch in late October he made 14 of 22 triples. The rest of the season he was 22 of 69 (31.8%) and just 15.8 percent from March 1 until the end of the season. He couldn’t top 42 percent from the field and provided very little in the way of passing, rebounding or defense. The Bulls needed Blakeney to provide a scoring punch, and in early November it looked like he might be a surprise. It was a mirage.

The Stat:  432 to 396

It was something we followed all season long but Blakeney ultimately finished the year with more passes (432) than field goal attempts (396). But only barely.

2019-20 Expectations: If the Bulls opt to keep Blakeney and his guaranteed money, he’ll be an end-of-the-bench player without much of a role. Denzel Valentine will be back, the Bulls should add another backcourt player in the draft – with either pick – and Chandler Hutchison will be healthy to give the Bulls more depth. This was Blakeney’s best shot to prove he belongs in the NBA and he did very little with the opportunity.

Blackhawks star Patrick Kane named 2018-19 Ted Lindsay Award finalist

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AP

Blackhawks star Patrick Kane named 2018-19 Ted Lindsay Award finalist

For the second time in his NHL career, Patrick Kane has been named a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, given annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by members of the NHL Players' Association.

At age 30, Kane turned in his best offensive season by setting a career-high with 110 points. He ranked third among all skaters in points-per-game average (1.36), second in even-strength goals (35) and second among forwards in average time on ice (22:29). 

In 2015-16, Kane made history when he became the first American-born player to win the award after leading the league in points (106) — the only player to hit the 100-point mark that season. 

Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov, who secured the Art Ross Trophy by leading the league in scoring with 128 points, and Edmonton's Connor McDavid, who ranked second with 116 points, are the other two finalists, respectively. McDavid has won the award in each of the past two seasons.  

The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards on June 19 in Vegas.

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