Bulls' D stiffles Sixers


Bulls' D stiffles Sixers

The Bulls' calling card under Tom Thibodeau has always been their suffocating defense. It's what they hang their hat on.

With their backs against the wall Tuesday, the Bulls leaned on the strongest part of their game, shutting the Sixers down in arguably their best defensive performance of the series.

Chicago held the Sixers to just 28.6 percent shooting and 26 points in the first half and only surrendered 69 points total on 32.1 percent shooting. Philadelphia shot just 4-of-23 (17.4 percent) in the second quarter.

"You have to give them credit," Sixers coach Doug Collis said. "They're a great, great defensive team...The last three games, we've been incredibly offensively challenged. The two games in Philly, we made just enough shots to win.

"That's one of the reasons why they're able to win with injuries is because their defense always gives them a chance.

"One thing I've always understood in this business -- if you don't play well, credit your opponent. It's usually becuase they force you not to play well."

The Sixers rattled off three straight wins after Collins inserted second-year playmaker Evan Turner into the starting lineup as the shooting guard. The Chicago native averaged almost 15 points per contest in Games 2-4, but managed just 4 points Tuesday night on 2-of-7 shooting.

A big reason for that was Ronnie Brewer's resurgence after playing sparingly in the first four games of the series. The 6-foot-7 swingman found his groove again in Game 5, playing almost 30 minutes and locking Turner down.

"That's what these playoffs are about. All the sudden, you start moving some pieces around and you start liking different matchups," Collins said. "It's not like we don't know what they're trying to do to us.

"It's nice when that ball goes in that basket. You're sitting over there as the coach and thinking 'how do I get us a basket?' Sometimes, you feel a little helpless...We had some shots and just didn't make them."

Sixers power forward Elton Brand echoed his coach's statements.

"They weren't the No. 1 defensive and rebounding team in the regular season for no reason," Brand said. "They play really good defense...I think we had some open shots, we just need to knock them down."

Monte Harrison, brother to Bulls' Shaq, makes sibling sports history

Monte Harrison, brother to Bulls' Shaq, makes sibling sports history

Miami Marlins center fielder Monte Harrison made a bit of history on Aug. 4, when he laced up for his first ever MLB game.

With his debut, he and older brother Shaq officially became just the sixth MLB-NBA brother duo in league history. The most recent? Klay and Trayce Thompson, the latter of which appeared in his last MLB game on June 20, 2018 for the White Sox. Chicago ties all around.

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Shaq used his trademark brand of heart and hustle to work his way up from two 10-day contracts with the Phoenix Suns to a multi-year pact with the Bulls. Monte's path to the majors began in 2014 after the Milwaukee Brewers plucked him in the second round of the Amateur Draft from Lee's Summit West High School in Lee's Summit, Mo. He was jettisoned to Miami as part of the Christian Yelich trade in 2018. 

In 2019, Monte played 58 games between Miami's High-A and Triple-A affiliates, slashing .270/.351/.441 with 9 home runs, 24 RBI and 23 stolen bases. He's been known to flash some leather, too, and entered this season the club's tenth-ranked prospect.

Since his call-up, he's appeared in four contests (three starts) with the Marlins, and is just 1-for-10 at the plate with five strikeouts. But we'll forgive some early-career stumbles. His first big-league base-knock, which came on Thursday, was perfectly emblematic of what Bulls fans have come to expect from the Harrison household.

Yup. A cue-shot infield single. Exit velocity: 44.3 mph. Expected batting average: .190. But he beat it out. And followed it up with a stolen base. You can't script this stuff.

"I don’t know what my mother did, a lot of prayers, a lot of believing, and trust in us," Monte said after his debut on Tuesday, via Bob Nightengale. "We just worked our ass off.''

That much is evident.

RELATED: How Bulls’ Shaq Harrison impacts games, even with limited playing time


Latest on the NBA's second bubble for teams eliminated from restart

Latest on the NBA's second bubble for teams eliminated from restart

With the NBA restarting with 22 of its 30 teams, there was buzz in early July of a second bubble coming to Chicago for the eight teams excluded to get in organized team activities and possibly scrimmages.

Now, it appears those talks have significantly slowed, if not stalled entirely.

The Athletic reported Tuesday that there is "significant doubt" the second bubble concept will come to fruition, but Friday, that bringing the "Delete Eight" teams into the Disney campus has been discussed. Any agreement — whether it be a full-on bubble or respective, in-market OTAs — would require stringent safety protocols and need to be agreed upon by the league and NBPA.

On the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson broke down the latest scuttlebut:

Well, the latest is, you really got only one shared goal between these eight teams and that is to get some kind of formal group activities authorized by the league and the players association.

How that plays out and the form that takes, there are different goals. There are some teams that wouldn't mind doing a bubble. There are other teams that would rather stay in their own practice facilities and not travel. There are other teams that want to do regional scrimmages against another team. And complicating this is that Michele Roberts, the executive director of the players association, is on record as saying: Unless there are the exact same safety protocols going on in Orlando for the second bubble, it's a non-starter for her.

The league's attention mostly has been in Orlando, obviously, and that was a signficant financial undertaking. So you'd also have to factor in that, what kind of financial undertaking would they commit to these eight teams. It did look like there was some positive momentum for, not a bubble, but for each team to be able to hold some sort of offseason training sessions, group sessions in their own facilities, like OTAs in the NFL.

And I don't think that's dead, but there's certainly not as much optimism as there was maybe a week, ten days ago for that. I mean, it's fluid, and there's nothing definitive yet, but you may be staring at that dreaded eight month window between formal group activities for these eight teams. 

In the episode, the crew also breaks down the week in NBA bubble action, talks Jim Boylen and more. Listen here or via the embedded player below: