Bulls: Pau Gasol says he'll play in Game 6 vs. Cavs


Bulls: Pau Gasol says he'll play in Game 6 vs. Cavs

He doesn’t know how long he’ll play or how much he can give, but Pau Gasol will suit up for the Bulls tomorrow in Game 6 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While his left hamstring has made enough progress for him to at least declare himself fit to play, it doesn’t mean Gasol will be back to the double-double machine he’s been for the entire year—but any little bit can help.

“At this time of the year, whatever a guy can give you, you’d like him to give it to you,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Obviously, he’s a very talented player. Hopefully he’ll be ready tomorrow. He’s a great rebounder. So that would be a big plus. Offensively, obviously he’s a hub on offense. You can throw the ball to him. You can pick and roll with him. So he would add a lot.” 

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There wasn’t a full practice to go through, just a film session and a walkthrough after the Game 5 loss to Cleveland at the Advocate Center, so he hasn’t been able to truly test his left hamstring—but after going through some exercises with the staff before Game 5, it didn’t tighten up on him in the time being.

“Just walked through stuff, but I was able to do some good running,” Gasol said. “I was able to do some shooting for the first time and move OK. So made some good progress today. No residual pain from yesterday. Making progress, but at the end of the day tomorrow is the game, and I’ll do everything I can to help the team."

The Bulls have sorely missed his scoring and his presence on the interior, especially when you factor in their sub-40 percent shooting nights in Games 4 and 5, the two games Gasol has missed as a whole.

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But facing elimination, the circumstances seemed to make the choice for him.

“I mean right now it’s win or go home,” Gasol said. “There’s nothing left but tomorrow’s game. What percentage I’ll be able to play? I don’t know, but whatever percentage I will be that’s what I’ll give.’’

There doesn’t appear to be much of a gameplan on minutes restrictions, just playing it by ear and how his body deals with going full speed.  He hasn’t tried to jump yet, nor has he done anything explosive, but the Bulls will take whatever they can get from him and hope the adrenaline carries his body through the game.

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“We’ll go with how it goes and how it reacts. We talked about it with the training staff to probably it wouldn’t be wise to play the usual amount of minutes,” Gasol said. “To play the first 12 minutes like I usually do in the first quarter and the third. But we’ll go how it feels and how it reacts, and we’ll go from there. I’ll tell you right now, whatever I can do to help, whichever way I put myself out there to do that."

Perhaps an exercise bike to keep his body warm or some additional stretches will be done, but he doesn’t have a plan, just hoping his presence alone will give the Bulls a jolt.

“As much as I can, to the point that I'm helpful on the floor,” Gasol said. “If I can't be helpful and I'm hurting the team, then I'll make a decision. But hopefully, that won't happen.”

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: