LeBron, Cavs advance, but could be shorthanded


LeBron, Cavs advance, but could be shorthanded

The first part of the LeBron-Bulls playoff collision course is set.

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers disposed of the Boston Celtics on Sunday, sweeping the series with a 101-93 victory in Boston. The series was closer than the four-game sweep would imply, but Cleveland was never in doubt of moving on to the second round. They'll face the winner of the Bucks-Bulls, a series which Chicago can close out Monday night in Game 5.

But the series-clinching victory didn't come without cost for David Blatt's group. Power forward Kevin Love suffered a dislocated shoulder in the first quarter after Boston's Kelly Olynyk grabbed his arm going after a loose ball. He immediately ran to the Cavaliers locker room where the shoulder was popped back into place, but he was ruled out for the remainder of the game and left the arena in a sling. The Cavaliers did not give a timetable for when Love may return, but according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Chris Haynes, Love "says his shoulder actually feels better now. Says he hopes he can play Game 1 of (the) second round."

[MORE: Bulls feel they're in good shape against Bucks]

Love was at the center of much scrutiny in his first season with the Cavaliers, often acting as the fall guy for the Cavaliers' early-season struggles. Still, he averaged 16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in the regular season and had averaged 18.3 points on 47 percent 3-point shooting (9-for-19) in the first three games of the playoffs. His absence would be a crucial blow for Cleveland, with James likely seeing more time at the four and Tristan Thompson being used in a larger role.

Love may be ready for Game 1, but the same can't be said for shooting guard J.R. Smith. The colorful sharpshooter was given a flagrant two and subsequently ejected in the third quarter after swiping at and connecting with Jae Crowder's face on a box out. Earlier in the game reserve center Kendrick Perkins connected with Crowder's throat area on a moving screen and shoved Crowder in the face when the two confronted each other. Both could face suspensions — Smith's seems likely — that would leave Cleveland shorthanded for a potential Game 1 against Chicago.

Iman Shumpert stepped up after Smith's ejection, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 38 Game 4 minutes.

Shorthanded or not, the Cavaliers pose a real threat to the Bulls' title odds. Half the collision course is set, as LeBron and the Bulls could meet for the fourth time in the last six postseasons. James has won the first three matchups, twice with Miami and once during his first stint in Cleveland.

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: