Bulls

Bulls take 'cautious' approach, sit Pau Gasol against Knicks

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Bulls take 'cautious' approach, sit Pau Gasol against Knicks

The swelling in Pau Gasol's right knee will keep him out of Thursday night's matchup against the New York Knicks, head coach Fred Hoiberg said.

Gasol, who missed four games earlier in the month with the injury, returned to the Bulls lineup on Monday and played again Wednesday. But the re-swelling in the knee is still significant enough that the Bulls aren't willing to risk playing him on the second night of a back-to-back.

"He's got a little bit of a swelling in that knee," Hoiberg told reporters at Madison Square Garden. "We just don't want to make it something where it would blow up and miss significant portion of the rest of the season. So we'll be cautious with Pau tonight even though he hasn't played a ton of minutes he's still in that stage where I think it continued to swell and if you overwork it, it could put him out for an expended period."

Gasol played well on Monday with 14 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks in the Bulls' victory over the Kings. He played just 24 minutes in that game. He played 25 minutes on Wednesday against the Knicks and struggled, shooting 2-for-7 with 4 points and five rebounds.

Hoiberg said he doesn't believe Gasol will be forced to miss any more time - the Bulls play next on Saturday in Orlando.

"We'll reevaluate him tomorrow and hopefully have him back in the lineup on Saturday," Hoiberg added.

Cristiano Felicio will start in Gasol's place.

Hoiberg also added that Derrick Rose is dealing with a stiff back but will play Thursday against the Knicks.

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.