INDIANAPOLISDerrick Rose got quiet and his eyes narrowed, as they tend to do when hes asked a question by the media that truly piques his interest.
No, he responded, even quieter than usual. There have been teams that have said they want to play us before, so I dont got nothing to say about it.
Philadelphia second-year swingman Evan Turners comments about dodging a bullet if his 76ers face the Bulls instead of the Heat--forward Thaddeus Young made comments to the same effect after Philadelphia clinched a playoff berth, when asked who his team would rather play--a team theyve struggled with, in the first round didnt elicit much of a reaction out of Rose.
But as with any perceived slight, be sure that it will go into his expansive memory bank for future referenceas in this weekend, if the Sixers remain in the eighth seedespecially when considering the source, Turner, a Chicago native and Roses former high-school rival with whom he exchanged words when their teams matched up years ago.
It was less personal for Roses teammates, but their answers were also telling. Former Sixer Kyle Korver paused, then chuckled before discussing Turners inflammatory quote.
Well, all right, he said. Im not going to get into a war of words with Evan Turner.
Come play us, he continued. Our goals to win a championship. We dont care who we playfirst round, second round, third roundwe want to go through everybody. Thats our mindset. We dont want to go around anybody. Weve got the one seed and were ready for whoevers eighth.
Joakim Noah and All-Star Luol Deng were a bit more diplomatic.
Im not the type to talk back and forth. If we see them, we see them. If we see New York, we see New York., Deng told CSNChicago.com. Were not trying to pick and choose who we want. I guess theyre picking us. Were not picking anyone.
Added Noah: Why doesnt it bother me? At the end of the day, youve got to go out there and play the game, so were only worried about us right now and well worry about Evan Turner when we need to worry about Evan Turner.
Not that the Bulls need any motivation, but if the Sixers are indeed their opening-round opponent, it might add a little fuel to the fire. Even if they deny it.