Markkanen's vanishing act remains topic of concern

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, right, goes up for a dunk against Chicago Bulls' Lauri Markkanen during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Philadelphia.

    Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, right, goes up for a dunk against Chicago Bulls' Lauri Markkanen during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Philadelphia. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 1/18/2020 7:52 PM

Lauri Markkanen's 2 shots and no points in the second half of Friday's loss in Philadelphia remained a topic of conversation a day later as the Bulls prepared to face Cleveland.

Obviously, Bulls coach Jim Boylen wants to see Markkanen get going as much as anyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I've been to Finland three times. I've met his family," Boylen said. "I've been around people he grew up with. His national coach and I are close. I try to have permission to be real with all my guys and he's a guy that I have that permission with, so we have really good talks."

Some of those talks are about staying involved in the offense. Boylen was also asked about calling more plays designed to get Markkanen shot attempts.

"We have things to get Lauri going. I'm not going to argue that he needs to get more shots. I think that's obvious," Boylen said. "The things that are not seen is he set two back-picks for lobs. He does a lot of other things where he keeps people occupied. He stretches the floor, spaces the floor. So we need him out there. He needs to get more than two shots in a half and we'll try to do a good job of that.

"I think he's working at it. I think we know his character as a person and player. He wants to help the team win. He's fought through some injuries and he's given us everything he has."

Beilein adjusts to pros:

Cleveland coach John Beilein made his first stop at the United Center since last year's Big Ten tournament. The former Michigan coach is giving the NBA a try after a few decades coaching college basketball.

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"There's been a learning curve for me every day of my life," Beilein joked before Saturday's game. "Even in college basketball all those years, every year I was changing like crazy, so I continue to do that now with the NBA. There are a lot of similarities, but the rhythm and the way you can prepare and practice is the most telling thing. We're adjusting like crazy. I think we're doing a pretty good job of getting a good rhythm for it. Just got to try and win more games."

Double snow delay:

Both teams flew to Chicago on Saturday morning after being unable to fly after their games Friday due to the bad weather. The Bulls spent the night in Philadelphia, while the Cavaliers were in Memphis. Neither coach felt the travel delays would be much of a factor.

"What I've observed is it's the long nap time in the afternoon that's more important than anything for these guys," Cavs coach John Beilein said. "So we didn't get much sleep the night before, we got up early. But we got to the hotel and ate at 11. From 12 to 4 our guys got some pretty good rest."

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