Bulls flex their muscles in Game 5 win


Bulls flex their muscles in Game 5 win

CHICAGO--With the season on the line, Bulls Tom Thibodeau said we'd see what his team is made of.

They showed their character by out-muscling the Sixers in Game 5.

"It was a highly physical game," Sixers forward Elton Brand said.

"They're all going to be physical," Philadelphia coach Doug Collins agreed.

It's no secret the Bulls are playing without two of their best players in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. But their brand of basketball all season has been physical in nature, and that is one way they hold an edge over Philadelphia, as evidenced by Tuesday's performance.

"We're not a physical team," Collins said. "You look at some of those guys, those are big, strong guys.

"You can't play out of character. You can't always say 'we're going to run out there and we're going to play smash-mouth basketball.' Because that's not what we do. If we do that, we'll fall into the trap that they want to put us in. That's why I told the guys when they had that little scrum there at the end of the bench 'Just stay with what we're doing. We're going to be OK.'"

Late in the second quarter, Taj Gibson and Brand were on the ground fighting for a rebound in front of the Bulls bench. The encounter turned even more physical when the two started pushing and shoving and players from both teams quickly got in on the action. John Lucas, the Bulls' diminutive point guard, was seen standing toe-to-toe with some of the Sixers' bigger players and the Chicago coaches had to restrain the Bulls players on the bench from rushing the floor.

The referees eventually restored order, but not after a delay of almost 10 minutes. The result was a double technical on both Gibson and Brand.

"It was just a tussle," Brand said. "I thought I had an elbow to the face and I can't allow that. But nothing dirty. After the play was over, it was over."

It may have been over, but the scuffle ignited the United Center crowd and only further empowered the Bulls, who used a 10-2 run to close out the second quarter.

"You just can't get in an arm-wrestling match with these guys," said Brand, the Bulls' first-overall draft pick in 1999. "Even Rip Hamilton. He seems slight of build, but he's a tough guy."

Bulls' Top 10 Centers in franchise history

Bulls' Top 10 Centers in franchise history

NBC Sports Chicago is counting down the top 10 Bulls at each position in franchise history.

We've hit the point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards. And last, but certainly not least, the men in the middle. The centers.

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Defensive anchors, multi-skilled hubs and blue-collar tenacity abound in these rankings. And plenty of hardware — both of the championship and individual variety.

We hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Without further adieu...

Bulls' Top 10 Centers in franchise history


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