While the Bulls were thinking positive during a Sunday practice in downtown Boston, a few miles away in suburban Waltham, Celtics center Kendrick Perkins offered some interesting smack talk about the Bulls and rookie sensation Derrick Rose.
“Everybody has their night,” Perkins said, according to the Associated Press. “I know it won't happen again. He'll never have another game like that against us.”
Perkins was referring to Rose's 36 points and 11 assists in a 105-103 overtime victory on Saturday. Game 2 is Monday night at the Garden and Perkins offered a prediction.
“You've got to be angry (about the loss),” he said. “It's the playoffs and we were at home. I'm going to be mad all the way up until (Monday), until after we get the win. It wasn't anything that they did. It was all on us.”
Celtics star Paul Pierce offered a similar statement in a less condescending manner.
“I was in a pretty good mood because I knew from watching the tape that we didn't play that well at all and still had a chance to win,” he said.
Pierce missed a free throw with 2.6 seconds left in regulation that would have given Boston a 1-point lead and second-leading scorer Ray Allen hit just 1 of 12 shots.
Boston coach Doc Rivers talked Sunday about how point guard Rajon Rondo needs to do less gambling on defense and concentrate on keeping Rose from getting to the basket.
“Rose is going to make some jumpers, but we’re going to have to live with it,” Rivers said. “He’s making shots now from the outside, which you have to live with, with his speed and power.”
Rivers also offered an analysis of the Bulls' season and how they've grown and improved with Rose.
“I think what’s happened is the trust of the other players,” he said. “You know, early on you could almost see it with the Bulls, they’re almost fighting it. Why should we give this guy the ball and let him run the team? And obviously, now they know why and they allow it. You can see his whole team rally around him.”
I think most of the Bulls were ready to accept Rose right away and the team played well for the first six weeks of the season before falling into a slump in late December.
But Rivers surely noticed that loss to Oklahoma City on Jan. 11, when Larry Hughes (twice) and Ben Gordon (once) ignored an open Rose on the fast break and ended up botching the play. Hughes played in only one more game before getting traded.
NOAH READY FOR PHYSICAL PLAY
Bulls center Joakim Noah was asked if he's expecting more physical play from the Celtics in Game 2. But Noah was already the victim of one of the roughest non-flagrant fouls of the season.
With 5:58 left in the fourth quarter, Noah went in for a layup and was knocked flat on his back by Boston's Leon Powe. The officials huddled, but decided it wasn't flagrant.
“No problem. No problem at all,” Noah said of the foul. “I probably would have done the same thing if I could. I understand that it's the playoffs and no layups. No layup rule. I think Boston is a team that lives by it the most out of any other team in the league. They really don't want to give easy layups. It was the right play. Put a guy at the free-throw line. It's easy than a wide-open dunk.”
As far as physical play, there is a clear contrast between the team's big men: The speed of Noah and Tyrus Thomas against the bulk of Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis.
“I think they tried to do that (be physical) in the first game, too,” Noah said Sunday. “I think it was important to show that we weren't going to back down. I don't think anybody was rattled out there. I think a lot of people thought we would be. But it's just on us to come ready to play. It's going to be interesting to see how we respond to a little bit of success on the road.”
JUMP SHOT ABORTED
Joakim Noah spent quite a bit of time Sunday working on his sideways-spinning jump shot. There was a point in Game 1 when he was wide open at the foul line, looked at the rim, but decided not to shoot. According to Noah, he was just following instructions from Derrick Rose.
“I was going to take it, but a rook said, 'No!'” Noah said with a laugh. “So I didn't take it. I went back and did my role and set the pick-and-roll.”