Bulls

LeBron: Cavs need 'better sense of urgency' in Game 2

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LeBron: Cavs need 'better sense of urgency' in Game 2

The Cleveland Cavaliers never captured a lead in Game 1's 99-92 loss to the Bulls on Monday. They tied it up twice — at 51 and 53 in the third quarter — but the Bulls pulled away both times.

LeBron James believes the Cavs are a "resilient" team, but admits he gets bothered when the Cavs make their push when trailing.

"It's not all the time, but that's what happened last night (in Game 1)," James said. "We waited til we got down until we sought to make a push. We gotta have a little better sense of urgency in Game 2."

[MORE BULLS: Gar Forman on Thibodeau speculation - 'It's all just noise']

Game 2 on Wednesday won't come easy for the Bulls. If history repeats itself, James will perform much better than he did in Game 1.

James has averaged 20.5 points while shooting 42 percent from the field in four career Game 1's against the Bulls. But in three Game 2's, he's averaged 29.3 points, shooting 62.5 percent.

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And the Cavs are going to need that James to avoid heading back to Chicago down two games.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity for us to get out there with a game that we must have. You can't go down 0-2 on your home floor going on the road," James said. "It's going to be a tough challenge — just like it was last night, but I think we prepared the best way we could today. We'll prepare again tomorrow (at) morning shootaround and we have a much better game."

Bulls Talk Podcast: Bulls draft night

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Bulls draft night

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, Will Perdue, and Vincent Goodwill react to the Bulls taking Wendell Carter and Chandler Hutchison on draft night. They’ll discuss if the Carter- Carlos Boozer comparison is fair, and how the drafting of Hutchison will impact what the team does in free agency. Kendall and Will share what they expect from Carter offensively and how he’ll mesh with Lauri Markkanen. They’ll also explain Markkanen’s offseason transformation and why adding too much muscle could be a bad thing.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below 

Admitted promise or not, the Bulls knew they wanted Chandler Hutchison – and they got him

Admitted promise or not, the Bulls knew they wanted Chandler Hutchison – and they got him

Neither John Paxson nor Chandler Hutchison himself would admit to what many called the worst kept secret in the pre-draft process. So whether you believe the Boise State senior had a promise from the Bulls that they would select him with the 22nd pick if still available, what Paxson and Gar Forman made clear was that they wanted Hutchison. And they got him.

“There are storylines and rumors all the time in this business and to keep trying to respond to them is often difficult. We liked Chandler a lot,” John Paxson said at the Advocate Center. We scouted him early, we scouted him often and we had our eye on him. He knew we liked him. Most players know when you like them, if you show up a lot and you’re around.”

There was plenty to like. Hutchison blossomed as an upperclassman at Boise State - after a unique basketball upbringing - averaging 18.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in his final two seasons with the Broncos. His 6-foot-7 NBA-ready frame kept him closer to the basket, leading to the efficient scoring and a blistering 72 percent at the rim, but keeping him a work in project on the perimeter.

He projects as a plus-defender who can defend on the wing and on the block in small-ball lineups and, as a four-year college player, should find minutes in a wing-depleted rotation. Put another way: he’s versatile at a position the Bulls have needed since the day Jimmy Butler walked out the door. Any shooting will be an added bonus.

But was there a promise, Chandler?

“I didn’t have any guarantee on where I was going," he said. "It could have been anywhere. Honestly, my heart was racing from 15 on. It was an exciting moment, though.”

The Bulls drafting Hutchison kept the theme of the night in Chicago trending after they took Wendell Carter 7th overall: complementary pieces to help an improving roster. Where Hutchison excels – physicality, scoring at the rim, defending multiple positions – the players he’ll share the floor with don’t. It’s easier to hide Denzel Valentine, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen defensively with a physical perimeter threat.

Paxson and Forman mentioned Hutchison's “slashing” multiple times, and that physical, quick style will help a Bulls offense that ranked 28th in the NBA on shots 5 feet and in. That inefficiency was one of the major reasons the team finished 28th efficiency and often struggled to find secondary scoring.

That versatility spans more than just defending, too. Hutchison was asked to become a do-it-all for a Broncos team whose second leading scorer averaged 11.8 points, second leading rebounder averaged 6.6 boards and second leading passer averaged 2.6 assists. Hutchinson did it all for the 23-win Broncos. His usage rate was 33.0, 10th highest in the country and a slight tick above Alabama point guard Collin Sexton (32.5%). His passing, shot creating and eventual shooting make him a Swiss army knife on the wing.

“We think he can put it on the floor and create. He got to the lane a lot as a ball handler. His shot is getting better and better, we think he’ll be able to shoot it from NBA range at some point but that’s an area he’ll have to continue to work on,” Paxson said. “The more guys you have that can handle and create and pass, with the way our game is and the way our floor is spaced, we think he can do those things.”

Promises aside – Hutchison is represented by Chicago-based Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, who has plenty of ties to the Bulls – Hutchison checked all the boxes the Bulls were looking for, especially after they passed on wings like Mikal Bridges and Kevin Knox with the 7th pick.

“He addresses a position of need,” Paxson said. “We had debates all through this draft on wings and the type of player we wanted at that position. He fits.”