By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Sixers playoff fate will be decided tonight. If they lose tonight’s game against the Pistons, or the Knicks win their game with the Bobcats, the Sixers will face the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It’s generally understood amongst fans that the Bulls are a better first round option for the Sixers than the Heat are. Evan Turner seems to agree with that sentiment, but his desire to play the Bulls may go a bit deeper.
Turner said to the Delaware County Daily Times that playing Chicago instead of Miami “means we’re dodging the tougher team. That’s what I think.
I think we’ll be able to compete well against Chicago, and have an opportunity to win the series.” He didn’t back off that sentiment at all on Twitter last night, saying “bulls fans: please stop tweeting me about the playoffs. I didn’t say anything negative. All I said is we match up better with them smh,” and followed it up with “the heat are a tougher team for us to match up with us if you look at our record vs them the past 2 yrs.”
Regardless of whether it was a good idea to say those things, Turner made it clear that he thinks the Bulls would be a team that the Sixers could compete with. Their record against them the last two seasons suggests that in fact, the Bulls are a team the Sixers play well.
There might be more to this. Let’s go back to 2007.
Evan Turner and Derrick Rose were high school stars in Chicago, for St. Joseph and Simeon high schools respectively. On February 17th, the two teams faced off, and Rose’s Simeon team knocked off Turner’s St. Joseph’s team 74-66. As it turns out, Turner didn’t think much of Derrick Rose back then either. “I was better than [Rose],” Turner said to the Chicago Sun Times. “With me guarding him he didn’t do much. He knows that and I know that.”
Rose didn’t agree. ““We both know who is better,” Rose said. “He’s just doing this to get a little bit of publicity. We’ll see who does more on the next level.” Well so far, Rose has a point.
Rose is the reigning MVP, and Turner is still fighting for minutes with the Sixers. A Chicago vs. Philadelphia series certainly wouldn’t be Turner vs. Rose II, but it sure is a small world, isn’t it?
“They called a lot of soft fouls on us when he had the ball,” Rose said about Turner that night. “It wasn’t like he did anything that impressive.”
Turner scored 29 points and 11 rebounds that night, including 20 straight points, but his team lost. It’s likely that Turner will get another shot at a different result.