Hamilton has experience coming back from 3-1

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Hamilton has experience coming back from 3-1

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.

The ‘friendly rivalry’ between Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman with Cubs, Dodgers becoming NL superpowers

The ‘friendly rivalry’ between Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman with Cubs, Dodgers becoming NL superpowers

LOS ANGELES – A man stepped to the microphone during a Q&A session at Cubs Convention and called Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman “the two boy geniuses.” The fan told Epstein how his friends used to call the Dodgers baseball boss “your Mini-Me,” asking about their personal rivalry and if beating L.A. in the playoffs had any extra meaning.

“We have a friendly rivalry,” Epstein told a packed hotel ballroom in downtown Chicago in January. “First off, didn’t he interview for an internship with us and we turned him down way back in the day?

“And then like nine months later, he was GM of the Rays. When he was with Tampa and I was with Boston, we never spoke, because we were in the same division. It was kind of a heated rivalry. We literally never called each other on trades or anything like that.”

But where it’s so difficult for the small-market Rays to keep up with the ultra-rich Red Sox – and replace Friedman’s vision and Joe Maddon’s star power and survive a string of wasted first-round draft picks and find a long-term stadium solution – the Cubs and Dodgers are positioned to be superpowers for years to come.

That’s what makes this Memorial Day weekend showdown at Dodger Stadium so compelling beyond the National League Championship Series rematch. It’s not just upcoming free agent Jake Arrieta returning to the site of his onesie no-hitter on Friday night, a reigning MVP (Kris Bryant) and Rookie of the Year (Corey Seager), two of the best closers on the planet (Wade Davis and Kenley Jansen) and a classic Jon Lester vs. Clayton Kershaw matchup on Sunday afternoon.

The Cubs eliminated the Dodgers less than a month after Epstein finalized a five-year contract worth in the neighborhood of $50 million, likely surpassing Friedman as the game’s highest-paid personnel executive.

“Jed developed a pretty good relationship with him, because I didn’t like talking to him,” Epstein said, referencing GM Jed Hoyer, another Boston transplant on the Cubs Convention panel that day. “But then when I came out here with the Cubs, a different league and everything, I developed a much better relationship with Andrew and we became friends, so now it’s much more of a friendly rivalry.

“I will say that losing to the Dodgers would have been a bitter pill to swallow on a number of fronts, including that one. But they’re developing a powerhouse out there.

“We see them as a team we have to go through each year to get where we want to be.”

[MORE CUBS: Summing up the Cubs' impressive, potentially season-altering homestand]

Backed by Guggenheim Partners’ financial muscle and flush with new TV money, the Dodgers have won four straight division titles and 90-plus games each season while ramping up a farm system that’s now ranked fourth, fifth or sixth by Baseball America, ESPN and MLB.com.

“Everyone’s got their own style and their own approach,” Epstein said. “Ours was more kind of bottom-up (where) they needed to keep it rolling at a high level in the big leagues while retooling their system and nurturing the talent that was already there.

“We had to go out and transact and bring some stuff in. We were at different points of the success cycle. They’ve done a really nice job of winning while kind of establishing something new at the same time.”

The blue-blooded franchise that produced 17 Rookie of the Year winners last month rolled out Cody Bellinger, a 21-year-old, left-handed first baseman with nine homers in his first 28 games in The Show. Julio Urias – who might be the next Fernando Valenzuela – is supposed to be conserving some innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City for another October where the Cubs could be standing in the way of the Dodgers’ first World Series title since 1988.

“They’ve been producing great young talent for a long period of time,” Epstein said. “If you go back and look at some of the young studs they have in the big leagues that (former scouting director) Logan White and (the previous regime) brought in, some of the guys are still coming.

“They’re stocked and the Dodger tradition runs really deep. With Andrew and his front office, we know they’re going to be dynamic. They’re going to have more resources than anyone. And they’re a big threat to the whole league for a long period of time.”

Could Derrick Rose reunite with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota?

Could Derrick Rose reunite with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota?

Tom Thibodeau was without Derrick Rose for the first time in his head-coaching career last season, coaching the Timberwolves while Rose suited up for the New York Knicks.

But a reunion may be on the horizon. Rose is an unrestricted free agent and the Timberwolves, though they don't have a real need at point guard, are showing interest in the Chicago native. We'll have to wait until July 1, when free agency begins, to see what happens.

See what special guest Nick Friedell, Bulls beat reporter for ESPN, had to say about the topic on SportsTalk Live in the video above.