Derrick Rose ready for Pacers
PHILADELPHIA — Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose hasn’t forgotten the way the Indiana Pacers celebrated on the United Center floor after a win on Jan. 25, and he is looking forward to facing them again on Monday night at the UC.
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“I haven’t forgotten about anything,” Rose said Sunday night after a win over the Philadelphia 76ers. “I remember that.
“They’re a good team. I know they’re definitely going to be ready. I know we’re going to be ready. And it should be an exciting game.”
The Pacers’ exuberance even carried over into the locker room, where several Bulls players remarked how they could hear the noise through the walls.
“I’ll never forget how they celebrated just from winning this game,” Rose told reporters after the loss in January. “I can’t wait to play them again.”
Bulls guard Ronnie Brewer said on “The Waddle Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000 on Jan. 26 that they could hear the Pacers’ celebrating and screaming in the locker room, and that it hit home with several of his teammates.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel defended his team’s actions while appearing on “The Scott Van Pelt Show” on ESPN Radio on Jan. 30.
“I don’t know if we really celebrated any more than a lot of teams celebrated when they get a road win,” Vogel said. “I know they’ve got a couple guys on their team who celebrate on every play. I just think it’s the thrill of victory.
“If they want to add some spice to the rivalry we welcome that. Rivalries are fun. Winning is fun. It’s all good.”
Rose had wanted revenge against the Sixers after losing to them earlier in the season, and he exacted that revenge on Sunday with 35 points.
“It’s fun,” Rose said. “It’s going to be a fun couple of days, man. Where we got the opportunity to play two great teams that really beat us pretty good. With Indiana, they beat us at home last time. And (I) just can’t wait to play.”
Bulls center Joakim Noah also acknowledged that he was excited about playing the Pacers again.
“We’ve just got to come with the right mindset (Monday),” Noah said. “We definitely will. And it’s going to be fun.”
Noah had a slightly different perspective than Rose, however.
“Derrick gets hype off people celebrating,” Noah said. “When people talk about celebration I just feel like, ‘You’re not going to out-celebrate me.’ Roy Hibbert cannot out-celebrate me. So if they want to see some celebration when we win, I can show them some celebration … I know how to celebrate.”
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau tried to keep everything in perspective. He wants his team to focus on the Pacers because it’s the next game on the schedule.
“That’s the NBA,” he said. “Every day you go from one game to the next and you’ve got to be ready. And whatever the circumstances are, you’ve got to be ready to face that team; when the ball goes up, you’ve got to be ready. If you want to find an excuse, you can find one every night. If you don’t want to find one, you won’t find one.”
Rose, who admitted on Sunday morning that it was tough to watch tape of a loss to the Sixers earlier last month, feels that his team owes one to the Pacers as well. He knows the Bulls could see both teams at some point in the postseason.
“We know that this is a team we could definitely see in the playoffs,” he said. “Knowing how good they are. It’s fun, we got to go out there and keep ballin’, playing together. And playing defense.”
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.