In the immediate aftermath of Derrick Rose's knee injury, the Bulls defended the decision to keep their often-injured star on the court despite a double-digit lead and less than two minutes remaining.
“I do not work backward like you guys,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said in the interview room. “The score was going the other way. He's got to play. We sat him to about the seven-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Derrick has to work on finishing and closing. Our team did not handle that part great. That's what I was thinking.”
Granted, the Sixers did trim a 20-point deficit to 12 just before the injury occurred — but there was no danger of the Bulls giving the game away.
“In playoff basketball, you never want to give a team confidence,” Richard Hamilton said. “If it's having your starters in, or whatever, when you're got a team down, you've got to keep them down. They made a little run. We needed guys out there that can put the ball in the basket.”
Added Luol Deng: “I don't know why you would question that. It's a playoff game. You're trying to finish the game. Even though you're up, you're going to see them three more times. He was playing well and he wanted to get in rhythm. I don't know why you would question it.”
Hamilton heats up early:
One positive from Saturday's victory was a playoff-caliber performance from Richard Hamilton, who hit 6 of 7 shots from the field for 19 points. He scored 11 in the first quarter.
“From the beginning of the game, we played with a lot of energy and focus,” Hamilton said. “We moved the ball around well.”
When he played for the Detroit Pistons, Hamilton averaged 20.6 points in 120 career playoff games, advancing to the conference finals every year from 2003-08.
“Rip was great,” Luol Deng said. “He's played in a lot of playoff games, seen a lot of coverages. He just knows what (opposing defenses) are going to do.”
“I thought Rip played well even without the ball,” added coach Tom Thibodeau. “He created some easy offense.”
Turner hears the noise:
Bulls fans booed Philadelphia guard Evan Turner throughout Saturday's game. Turner made mild headlines last week by saying he'd rather face the Bulls than Miami in the first round.
A Chicago native, Turner also helped fuel a high school rivalry with Derrick Rose back in the day, when Rose was at Simeon and Turner played for St. Joseph.
Before the game, Philadelphia coach Doug Collins talked about Turner speaking out.
“It's a different generation,” Collins said. “Guys are more inclined to say things. From my standpoint, when I had to play against some of those guys, I would never say a word. When I got ready to play the New York Knicks in a playoff series, I'm not going to talk about watching Walt Frzaier play at Southern Illinois and I was going to kick his (butt) when I saw him. I just didn't do that.
“It's just different. Guys say what they say. They Twitter and they do all those kind of things. As a coach, I just kind of stay above the fray and all that. The one thing is, if you say something, you've got to play. Once the ball is tipped, you've got to play.”
The Bulls shot 51.3 percent from the field in Game 1 and won the second-chance points 20-9. Joakim Noah led the team with 13 rebounds. ... Former Bulls top draft pick Elton Brand led the Sixers with 19 points. ... Philadelphia coach Doug Collins on why his team slumped at midseason after starting 20-9: “It's called weaker opponents,” he said.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.