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LeBron James expected to be back on perimeter for Game 2 vs. Bulls

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 6, 2015

INDEPENDENCE: LeBron James expects to be sharper tonight against the Chicago Bulls. Perhaps it’s because he expects to be back where he’s most comfortable for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

James played primarily in the post in Game 1, grabbing 15 rebounds in what became a 99-92 loss. But Kyrie Irving seemed to confirm a Cleveland.com report that Tristan Thompson will start at power forward in Game 2, which pushes James back to his more natural small forward position.

“We get our 3-man back,” Irving said. “It was great seeing Bron at the 4, but at times he was getting the ball just like our bigs and he’s giving it right to me.”

The Cavs were at their best this season with both James and Irving pushing the tempo, but James in the post in Game 1 left him acting more like a big than a wing.

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LeBron James hints he'll be more aggressive entering Game 2 against the Bulls

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 5, 2015

INDEPENDENCE: LeBron James acknowledged Tuesday he might have to be more aggressive in Game 2 against the Chicago Bulls. With the Cavs’ Big Three down to only two following the injury to Kevin Love, James thought he was too passive at times during Monday’s 99-92 loss to the Bulls despite finishing with 19 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists.

“I think I may have to change my mindset a little bit obviously with Kev being out,” James said. “It’s something we all haven’t been accustomed to this year with him being out for an extensive period or another of the Big Three being out for a long period of time since I had my injuries. It might be a different mindset for myself and Kyrie (Irving).”

James has always maintained the first game of any series is a “feel out” game, but that may have been taken to an extreme Monday.

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Bulls 99, Cavs 92; Jason Lloyd's 28 final thoughts on defense, lineups and an early deficit

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 5, 2015
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CLEVELAND: Twenty-eight thoughts for 28 defensive rebounds in a disappointing 99-92 loss to the Chicago Bulls in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday…

1. I was chatting with a couple of Cavs playoff veterans during the Celtics series about what it feels like to lose a playoff game. Drop a game and it feels like you’re going to lose the series. Fall behind in a series and it feels like the world is ending. 

MORE: Bulls 99, Cavaliers 92: Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol punish Cavs in Bulls’ Game 1 victory

2. That’s the position the Cavs are in today. It probably feels worse than it really is, but losing the first game of a series at home is never a good way to begin. Losing at home the way they did, with lousy defense and an effort from their star that falls short by his lofty standards, hurts even worse.

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NBA playoffs: Cavs guard Iman Shumpert steps into starting role in 99-92 loss

By George Thomas Published: May 4, 2015

CLEVELAND:  One take away from the Cleveland Cavs 99-92 loss Monday night loss to the Chicago Bulls:  they may have found someone in Iman Shumpert to fill a void while J.R. Smith serves the second game of his two-game suspension.

He was one of three Cavs – LeBron James (19 points, 15 rebounds), Kyrie Irving (30 points, six assists) in double figures on the night, scoring 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting in 42 minutes.  By necessity, obviously, Shumpert’s minutes rose significantly in the first game in the semi-finals from the 29 minutes per game he averaged in the opening round.

He connected on 4-of-10 three-point shots and was one of the reasons the Cavs were able to come back from double-digit deficits of 16 points in the first half and 15 in the second.

For the most part, he seemed confident in taking the shots presented to him for much of the game, but he didn’t see himself as doing anything more than normal.

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Rose, Gasol punish Cavs in Bulls' 99-92 Game 1 victory

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 4, 2015

CLEVELAND: Bulls guard Derrick Rose scored 25 points, Pau Gasol added 21 points and 10 rebounds and the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-92 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night.

The Bulls led by as many as 16 points and never trailed. The Cavs tied the game twice in the third quarter, but the Bulls countered by scoring 15 the game’s next 15 points, leaving the Cavs to play catch-up the entire evening.

The Cavs were within 94-90 in the final minute when Jimmy Butler banked in a jump shot over an outstretched Tristan Thompson, essentially sealing the victory and immediately shifting home-court advantage to the Bulls.

Cavs guard Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 30 points and forward LeBron James had 19 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, but the Cavs lost their first playoff game this postseason after sweeping the Boston Celtics in the first round. They will be without forward Kevin Love (shoulder) for the rest of the postseason and guard J.R. Smith (suspension) for the first two games of this series. Coach David Blatt kept his starters a secret until minutes before tip-off, ultimately deciding on Iman Shumpert to replace Smith and Mike Miller to replace Love.

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