By Nick Shepkowski-
(CBS) Before Monday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau made it clear the Bulls weren’t worried about any potential playoff seeding, but instead only about the game in front of them.
“We don’t look at that (No. 1 seed),” Thibodeau said. “Our concentration is be ready for tonight’s game.”
As for the brewing rivalry with the team from Indianapolis?
“That’s you guys,” Thibodeau said. “I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”
The Bulls head coach may have tried to sell the “any other game” mentality to his players but it’s safe to say his star point guard had other thoughts. When told that Danny Granger didn’t think the Pacers over-celebrated their 95-90 win in Chicago back on January 25, Derrick Rose couldn’t have disagreed more.
“Yes they did, I saw it,” he said.
In the eyes of most, some high-fives between teammates after a road win against one of the NBA’s premier teams would but seen as acceptable, but not Rose.
“That’s something that I don’t forget and I don’t know what they were doing in my eyes,” Rose said. “In my eyes it looked like they were celebrating.”
Rose was far from finished in showing his displeasure with Indiana.
“It’s an NBA game, say bye to the opponent and walk off,” Rose added. “Maybe celebrate in the locker room but it looked like they were celebrating.”
Rose went on to say that he doesn’t like to show any emotion after a game, win or lose.
As mad as Rose was about the way he felt the Pacers reacted to their United Center win in January, fellow All-Star and teammate Luol Deng disagreed greatly.
“That thing was hyped up a little bit,” Deng said, “A lot of teams celebrate when they beat us.”
“If it was really an issue we would have talked about it,” Deng added.
The Bulls’ two All-Star representatives may see the Pacers celebration or lack thereof entirely differently but Thibodeau thinks nothing of the rivalry and instead the Bulls have several rivals.
“Every team you play is tough and if you’re not ready for that team you get in trouble,” Thibodeau said. “Whoever we’re facing, that’s our rival that night.”
In addition to covering the Bulls for 670TheScore.com, Nick Shepkowski is the associate producer on The McNeil and Spiegel Show, weekdays 9am-1pm on 670 The Score. You can follow Nick on Twitter at @Shep670.