By Teddy Greenstein and K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune –
CHICAGO — The Bulls took some licks last week from Heat players during a visit to Miami. Carlos Boozer said he didn’t take offense, calling it “playoff basketball.”
But he also made it clear Monday that the Bulls will be ready for future altercations.
“That’s what we expect it to be going forward,” Boozer said of the game’s physical nature. “As a team we looked it at it and realized we should have been more physical. LeBron (James) and (Dwyane Wade) were trying to be more physical to our guards, and our guards have to be more physical. And our big men have to have their backs.”
Wade shoved Richard Hamilton, James set a crunching pick on John Lucas III and James Jones shoved Joakim Noah around the chin area while Noah was boxing out for a rebound.
Most observers expect the teams to meet again in the Eastern Conference finals.
“I know our guards will be up for that challenge and we’ll have their backs,” Boozer said. “We’re on a mission and won’t let anybody get in our way.”
Rose-y outlook: Derrick Rose eased his way back into playing mode on Saturday against the Mavericks, posting 11 points and eight assists in just under 32 minutes. Rose admitted afterward he played tentatively and didn’t look to attack the rim often.
“He has matured a lot in terms of running the team and how to be effective without getting to the rim,” Luol Deng said. “Derrick a few years ago would’ve had a hard time being out there knowing he has to hold back. Even though he wasn’t attacking, I thought he was doing a great job still running the offense.”
Forward thinking: Deng is watching the battle between the Knicks and 76ers for the seventh and eighth seeds, but not for the reasons you might think.
“I’m watching it more for the great games,” Deng said. “You play who you’re going to play. You’re going to see the best teams. You can’t avoid anyone. Everyone wants to talk matchup this or matchup that. But your record is who you are.”