During Detroit's extended run as a championship contender, there were a few years when the Bulls stepped in as a feisty challenger.
No matchup exhibited the intensity of the Bulls-Pistons rivalry better than Kirk Hinrich vs. Richard Hamilton. As Hamilton ran through a half-billion screens in those days, Hinrich would stay on his tail and usually contest every shot.
The most memorable interaction between the two was probably the time when Hinrich hurdled toward the Pistons bench chasing a loose ball, and Hamilton and Chauncey Billups leaned out of the way instead of making any attempt to prevent Hinrich from tumbling over the seats.
Are we wrong or did there seem to be a dislike from Hamilton's side?
"I didn't like nobody," Hamilton said Tuesday at the Berto Center. "That's my mindset when I play. I just don't."
So Hamilton has no problem sharing the backcourt with Hinrich -- at least until Derrick Rose returns from a knee injury. In fact, Hamilton suggested it.
"When things were going down and C.J. (Watson) left and things like that, I told them, 'You should go after Kirk, because he's a guy who can really help us right now,'" Hamilton said.
The two players carry a similar competitive fire, so it makes sense that Hamilton and Hinrich developed a mutual respect over the years.
"He was competitive. He wouldn't back down," Hamilton said. "Offensively, you try to make a guy quit. You try to make him back down. You're trying to get an edge. (Hinrich) would always come back.
"You gain respect for that, because sometimes guys back down and they say, 'I'm not trying to come out and wrassle with you and things like that.' But he always fought. It's good to have him on the same side of the fence."
Rose joins teammates:
Sometimes injured players can be out of sight and out of mind while going through rehab.
On Wednesday at the Berto Center, Derrick Rose was on the floor shooting with teammates after practice, even though he's not expected to actually participate in practice for a few months.
"Every player has that responsibility to the team," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "If you're healthy and playing, obviously you're out here. If you're injured, you're still out here doing your rehab."
Rose made his share of 3-pointers, but clearly didn't have the usual lift in his legs. That's understandable after he tore the ACL in his left knee on April 28.
When he spoke to the media on Monday, Rose said he planned to be around his teammates as much as possible.
During the post-practice shooting, he took turns throwing passes to newcomer Marco Belinelli.
Left wrist reassurance:
After watching the first two days of practice, coach Tom Thibodeau feels confident that Luol Deng's left wrist won't be a problem.
Deng tore a ligament in the wrist last Jan. 21 and played through the injury for the remainder of the regular season.
Many assumed Deng would have surgery after the Olympics and miss the start of this season.
"He's doing all the things he was doing before," Thibodeau said. "So I don't think it's an issue."
At the end of last season, left-handed dribbling was an adventure for Deng. So is he driving through traffic with his left hand in practice?
"Well, he never did that when he was healthy," Thibodeau said with a laugh. "He's handling the ball. He's making plays with his left hand. He's fine. He's actually playing at a very high level."