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.

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

Despite the Cubs ending their 108-year World Series drought, Miguel Montero made offseason headlines for all the wrong reasons when he complained about his role in the Cubs' 2017 championship campaign.

Montero criticized Maddon's communication skills, catching rotation and bullpen decision-making after the team's Grant Park celebration. Maddon brushed off the criticism, and last week at spring training Montero said he hadn't spoke with the Cubs' skipper.

That tension appears to be all but a thing of the past, as Montero posted this picture of him and his manager sharing a drink together sporting nothing but smiles.

It's safe to say Montero would describe his relationship with Maddon now as: #WeAreGood.

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Minnesota Wild tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

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Five Things to Watch:

1. Road warriors.

The Blackhawks have won six straight games away from the United Center, and are looking to make it a seventh in Minnesota tonight. They've scored the game's first goal in four of those wins, and in the other two, overcame 1-0 deficits to beat Dallas 5-3 and Edmonton 5-1, the latter of which they scored five unanswered goals.

2. Corey Crawford vs. Devan Dubnyk.

Crawford hasn't quite been the same since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Dec. 3, but he turned in probably his best outing since then in the Blackhawks' last meeting against Minnesota on Feb. 8 when he stopped 35 of 38 shots in a 4-3 overtime win. He essentially stole two points, and prevented the Wild from picking up the extra one. Across from him tonight will be Dubnyk, who leads the league in wins (32), goals against average (1.97) and save percentage (.934).

3. Jonathan Toews on fire.

After a tough offensive drought earlier in the season that lasted longer than expected, the Blackhawks captain has six goals and 10 assists in his last 12 games, and upped his point total to 37, which now ranks fifth on the team. In the last meeting against Minnesota two weeks ago, Toews had a three-point night and scored the game winner in overtime. 

4. Mikael Granlund among league's most underrated players.

File Granlund under the category of players who don't get enough attention. He has 17 goals and 36 assists in 58 games this season, and his 53 points is tied with Jeff Carter and Artemi Panarin for 13th in the NHL's scoring race. The next highest point total on the Wild is Eric Staal with 45, an eight-point gap between him and Granlund. The 24-year-old forward registered his first career hat trick earlier this month, and also had a 12-game point streak just two weeks ago.

5. Ryan Hartman's closing in on 15 goals.

In Saturday's 3-1 loss to Edmonton, Hartman defended his teammate by fighting an Oilers defenseman that was practically twice his size. He called it a "no-brainer" to stick up for Tanner Kero and did well in the scrap, but it led to an Oilers power play and 10-minute misconduct which didn't do the Blackhawks any favors. He responded in a great way Sunday by scoring the game's first goal that helped his team win 5-1 in Buffalo. The next goal he scores will be No. 15, which would give the Blackhawks six 15-plus goal scorers on the year. They had only four a season ago.

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