NEW YORK — After Joakim Noah nearly choked up while talking Friday about the ongoing pain in his right foot, just about everyone assumed he would miss Game 1 against Brooklyn, and maybe beyond.
But Noah made a quick recovery, told coach Tom Thibodeau he was feeling better Saturday morning, and ended up in the starting lineup.
Noah didn’t make much of an impact in the blowout loss. He played just more than 13 minutes and finished with 4 points and 5 rebounds. His best moment in the first quarter was blocking a dunk attempt by Reggie Evans. He added a couple of dunks in the third quarter.
Asked if he plans to be back in the lineup in Game 2 on Monday, Noah replied, “Yeah. (The foot was) not great, but enough. I think it will get better. I’m just excited for Monday.”
After the game, Thibodeau stuck to a positive spin about Noah’s return.
“The thing is, he hasn’t practiced, so he’s going to be rusty,” Thibodeau said. “I’d rather have him out there. Whatever he can give us is a plus. We didn’t play well. It wasn’t Jo, it was our team. We’ve got to play better. Everyone has to play better.”
Second surprise return not likely:
Before Saturday’s game began, coach Tom Thibodeau talked about more Derrick Rose stuff that most people already knew, or at least suspected. Basically, he said Rose is not likely to return during the playoffs, but as usual, didn’t rule it out.
“I guess there’s always a chance,” Thibodeau said. “He has worked extremely hard. And he wants to be out there very badly. I know I’ve said it often that he’s close, and he is. But he can’t quite make that final step. Until he can do that, we have to remain patient.
“As I mentioned this morning, it’s unlikely that he’ll play. But the way the playoffs are structured, a week from now maybe he makes that final step. So I never want to rule that out. But nothing has really changed.”
Rose back on bench:
Derrick Rose sat on the bench during a game just once in the regular season (March 3 at Indiana).
He decided to make a return for the playoffs. Rose, dressed in a suit, sat at the end of the Bulls’ bench Saturday. Before the game, coach Tom Thibodeau was asked if Rose might again take a seat with the team.
“There’s two schools of thought on that,” Thibodeau said. “He was doing a lot of rehab work before and we had so many guys that were hurt, I actually didn’t want them all on the bench.
“I just thought it was more important for our guys to be focused on the guys that we had, so that part was really me. Now that we’ve gotten guys healthy, he may be out there more.”
After Saturday’s Game 1 got out of hand quickly, maybe Rose will stay in the locker room Monday. He did his usual pregame workout on the court.
Two teams, one luxury hotel:
One oddity from the opening playoff weekend is the Bulls and the Boston Celtics staying in the same Manhattan hotel. The Celtics are playing the Knicks, and they gave a much better effort in Game 1 than the Bulls did.
“It happens from time to time on the road when you’ve got the other team in there,” Nazr Mohammed said. “Half the time, you don’t see them and they don’t see you.”
What about the awkwardness of sharing an elevator ride with Kevin Garnett? Maybe that applies only to Joakim Noah.
“We bump into each other. We all know each other. We’ve all got teammates that played with other guys,” Mohammed said. “It’s never awkward.”
Kirk Hinrich left the game in the second half with a thigh bruise, which happened when he ran into a Reggie Evans screen. Hinrich walked out of the locker room without a limp and said he expects to be fine. … Veteran Nets forward Jerry Stackhouse sang the national anthem before Saturday’s game and a did a very nice job. … As a franchise, the Nets hadn’t won a playoff game since May 16, 2007 (second round against Cleveland). … According to the Nets, this was the first postseason game in Brooklyn since Game 7 of the 1956 World Series on Oct. 10, 1956 at Ebbets Field.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.