All-Star big man Pau Gasol has decided to play with the Chicago Bulls on the brink of elimination. After missing the past two games (both losses) of the Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers due to a strained left hamstring, the 34-year-old Gasol has stated that he will play in Thursday's Game 6 at the United Center.
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Whether he will be close to full strength is an open question. Andrew Seligman of the Associated Press has more:
''I'll be out there,'' Gasol said.
At what percentage?
''I don't know, but whatever percentage I will be, that's what I'll give,'' he said.
The Bulls went through a film session on Wednesday. Gasol did some running and was seen taking free throws and jumpers, although he wasn't getting much elevation. He said he has not attempted to jump. [...]
''It's frustrating,'' Gasol said. ''It's not easy. It's painful. It's hard. But things like this happen, sometimes at the worst times.''
Gasol offered a mixed bag of results before leaving Game 3, putting up 21 points (10-of-16 FG) and 10 boards in a Game 1 win but doing little over the next two contests. Nevertheless, the Bulls can use any scoring they can get right now, particularly given a dip in form (and minutes) from Nikola Mirotic and the relative non-threats of Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. Gasol would be much more of a help if he knew he could jump, but a team facing the end of its season can't be choosy.
The good news for Chicago is that Gasol isn't exactly a high flyer at his healthiest. The Bulls will welcome whatever he can give in Game 6. They just have to hope it ends up being a substantial contribution.
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