Bulls

Bulls: Dunleavy suffers setback with injury, will see specialists this week

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Bulls: Dunleavy suffers setback with injury, will see specialists this week

Mike Dunleavy's recovery has taken a bit of a hit, as he’s been recommended to take two weeks away from basketball activity while focusing only on his recovering back.

It’s a bit alarming considering Dunleavy was thought to be on track for a return this month after back surgery in late September, but it appears the Bulls will have to survive without him for an undisclosed amount of time.

He’s seen a doctor Monday and will go to see other specialists around the country before a definitive diagnosis is given.

“Mike’s had a little setback with his back,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He had a little pain this last week. He feels better after taking a couple days off. Had him seen by the doctor today and the recommendation is for him to get off the floor and really focus on just straight rehab for about two weeks.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Hoiberg denied Dunleavy would have to undergo another surgery or even that this injury could linger to the point where it’s season-ending, but it magnifies an issue the Bulls already have at that spot given Tony Snell and Doug McDermott have been underwhelming thus far.

One wonders if the Bulls, given their standing in the Eastern Conference isn’t as definitive as its been in recent years, will consider making some kind of roster move to compensate for Dunleavy’s extended absence.

There’s no way to determine how effective Dunleavy will be when he gets back given his advanced age and the fact back injuries produce a myriad of results.

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The Bulls are appearing to take a careful approach at this point after being so optimistic in the last few weeks.

“He was really sore when we went out on the west coast, and he had upped his activity level quite a bit, and it quieted down a lot which is a good sign these last couple days when he had inactivity,” Hoiberg said. “Now it’s a matter of getting those muscles strengthened in the back and the core and go out and see a specialist and put a plan together and hopefully get him back out there.”

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

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AP

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

The Bulls couldn't have known it at the time, but when LeBron James blocked a Derrick Rose 3-point attempt in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, it was the closest those Bulls would ever get to the promised land.

It happened on May 26, 2011, seven long, long, long years ago today.

The game was an ugly one and certainly a fourth quarter the Bulls would love to have back. They took a 12-point lead on a Ronnie Brewer 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining. The Heat closed the game on a 19-4 run, with James' emphatic block on Rose the lasting image of the series.

James finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, and added six assists, three steals and two blocks in 46 minutes.

Rose went just 9-for-29, finishing the series shooting 35 percent from the field after being named league MVP over James.

It's probably unfair to say James and James alone shut the Bulls' championship window. Rose's ACL tear the following postseason realistically was the biggest culprit. But these Bulls had won 62 games, had homecourt advantage, had the MVP, the Coach of the Year and all the momentum. And still they couldn't get it done against James.

That win also sent James to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. He's been there every year since, though that could change as he faces the Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.