One significant sidebar to this weekend is the Bulls taking part in the first NBA playoff games in Brooklyn history.
The Nets moved from Newark, N.J., into New York’s second most famous borough, becoming its first pro team since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957. This is their first year in the new Barclays Center, with essentially a new fan base, so there are plenty of unknown quantities.
Richard Hamilton talked Wednesday about the Brooklyn atmosphere.
“It has the same feel as playing in Madison Square Garden and playing in L.A,” he said. “They did a real good job on the Barclays Center. So it’s going to be exciting. I’m very curious to see how it’s going to be in the playoffs, how the fans are going to be.”
Taj Gibson grew up about a mile away from the Barclays Center, so this weekend will be special.
“It’s going to be unreal,” Gibson said. “I told everyone I’m changing my number right away. I don’t have time to worry about tickets or anything. I’m focused on Brooklyn. I’m focused on personnel, so we can try to get a win.
“As soon as you get off the Manhattan Bridge, my neighborhood is right to the left. You can’t miss it. It’s the first thing right there on Myrtle Avenue.”
Gibson was asked if he could imagine an NBA team playing down the street back in his younger days.
“It’s crazy, because that area used to be really bad,” he said. “So when they moved the team there, it was good for the community. A lot of people from my neighborhood work there now, and it’s a good chance for the community to build itself up.”
Bulls look back:
The Bulls got plenty of questions Wednesday about wrapping up the regular season with a playoff spot, after Derrick Rose didn’t play at all after ACL surgery last May.
“You never really know what to expect,” Kirk Hinrich said. “Coming into the season, everyone was wondering how we were going to make the playoffs. We felt like we had a chance and stayed confident.
“We had a formula we stuck to. We really did a good job of just staying our course. We hit our bumps. It was definitely kind of an odd season with all the injuries, but I think we handled it well.”
Added Luol Deng: “I’m just glad everybody is back playing. It was one of those seasons, you never knew who was coming back, if they could make it back in time.
“But it’s good to see those guys, Rip (Hamilton), Jo (Noah), Marco (Belinelli) was out for a little bit, Taj (Gibson) coming back. It’s really good for them to get a few games in (before the playoffs start).”
Nets ready for revenge:
Brooklyn has the memory of going 1-3 against the Bulls to use as motivation in this series. They talked about that issue after beating Detroit on Wednesday.
“It’s going to be a good one,” Brook Lopez said, according to the New York Daily News.
“I think that, despite the record, we’ve matched up well against them all year. We’ve been right there and had opportunities. I think it could easily be 3-1 the other way. It’s going to be physical, but I think we’re ready for it.”
“They’re a hard-nosed team, a blue-collar team, hardworking and a great defensive team, so we have to be on our P’s and Q’s and be hitting on all cylinders,” added Joe Johnson. “In the playoffs you can’t take a possession off.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.