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Article updated: 4/17/2013 11:28 PM

Coach Thibs not impressed by Bulls' 3-1 edge over Nets this season

By Mike McGraw

While the Bulls got a tougher battle than expected with Washington on Wednesday, they still got the anticipated outcome -- ending up in the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls will face the Brooklyn Nets and Game 1 is Saturday at the Barclay Center.

The Bulls went 3-1 against the Nets this season. What's interesting about that is Brooklyn used the same starting lineup in all four games against the Bulls -- Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans and Brook Lopez.

The Bulls were always missing at least two regulars. In Brooklyn's lone victory, a 93-89 win on Feb. 1, the Bulls didn't have Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer or Kirk Hinrich.

"I don't put a lot of stock in (the regular-season record)," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "They're really good and they're the higher seed. They earned that. I think they play hard. You have Lopez, who's a low-post presence. You have Deron Williams off the dribble, you have Joe Johnson off the dribble, then you have a lot of other guys who are very good basketball players. We have to be ready for them.

"They're tough. They have size. They have quality depth on that team, so we're going to have to play a complete game. Knowing your opponent well, being ready for that first game, I think that's huge."

The last time the Bulls faced the Nets in the playoffs was the 1998 first round when John Calipari was head coach and Jayson Williams and Kendall Gill were key players.

Thibs hasn't ruled out Rose:

Even though Derrick Rose missed all 82 regular-season games, coach Tom Thibodeau is not ruling out a playoff return.

"Whenever he's ready we're going to welcome him back because obviously he adds a lot to the team," Thibodeau said at the morning shootaround. "It's the same as Jo (Noah) and Taj (Gibson). They come back and they're playing limited minutes but it's a big plus to the team just because of what their strengths are. All those guys are team oriented and it makes your team a lot better."

Rose is approaching the one-year anniversary of his ACL injury, which happened in last season's playoff opener against Philadelphia.

Hawks, Knicks take rest:

Atlanta showed no inclination toward grabbing the No. 5 seed. After getting clobbered at home by Toronto on Tuesday, the Hawks sat all their starters in New York against the Knicks on Wednesday.

The Atlanta starting lineup featured Ivan Johnson, Mike Scott, DeShawn Stevenson, Shelvin Mack and John Jenkins. Of course, the Knicks kept their top two scorers -- Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith -- out of the game. Anthony won the NBA scoring title over Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Bull horns:

The Bulls were called for a delay of game warning for not getting out for the opening tip within 90 seconds of introductions ending. It cost them a point when they got another delay warning after a made basket in the second quarter and Washington was awarded a technical free throw. ... Washington guard A.J. Price scored his career-high with 24 points.

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