DEERFIELD, ILL. As daunting as the Bulls 3-1 deficit to the 76ers is, one player on the team, while not unconcerned, knows its not impossible to come back and win the series. Thats because, as a member of the Pistons, Rip Hamilton faced the same odds back in 2003, when top-seeded Detroit overcame a 3-1 deficit to Orlando to win the first-round series.
I dont want to be in this situation. I hated it when I was in this situation in Detroit, down 3-1 to Orlando, but it is what it is. But it helps. That lets you know that theres still hope at the end of the tunnel, if you just believe and just play your game, he recalled after Mondays practice at the Berto Center. It was win or go home. We felt as though we had to leave everything on the line. When we played Orlando, I remember Tracy McGrady made a comment, saying that It feels good to be going to the second round, so we kind of took that personal. So, right now, its personal. Its not just about business. Its not just about showing up, playing the game of basketball. Its personal. This is it. You can win and continue playing or you can go home, so youve got to make it personal.
The one thing Ive told them already is just believe. We believe, we get one game and the series could change easily. Just as easy as they came out and won three games in a row, we can do the same thing, but it starts with us. If we believe, anything can happen, he continued. Our job right now is to win the next game. Once we do that, then as playoffs go and being in there a long time, theyll go home and look at their home game as their Game 7. Its one of those things that weve got to take one game at a time. If we can get this game, then the series continues.
While Hamilton doesnt think the Bulls are exactly in an enviable position, he believes that with Game 5 at the United Center, it improves the teams chances.
Weve got an opportunity to get a win here at home. Our job right now is to do what we do best and thats play well at home, and hopefully get a win, he explained.
Right now, its live or die. Its win or go home. It makes the game more challenging. It makes it better, I think, because youre not looking to another game. This has to be the game or if you dont, youre going home, so its a situation where weve got to come out and be prepared to play for 48 minutes.
We need the home crowd bad. I think theyre going to come out excited. I think theyre going to come out louder than ever because this is what weve been playing all season for, to play here at home. We feel as though weve got to get this one, the veteran continued. Yes, we do have confidence they can win. Its been a crazy year, from beginning to right now, so we know that. We know that nothings easy. It hasnt been easy for the whole season, with injuries and guys being out, so we know its going to be tough, but it is what it is. Weve just got to come out and be ready to play.