MILWAUKEE So is it a war of words to set up as a tasty appetizer to a first-round playoff series, or much ado about nothing?
Clearly that depends on who you ask.
In a story that appeared in the Delaware County Daily Times, Chicago native and Sixers guard Evan Turner thinks the Sixers would rather play the Bulls because, It means were dodging the tougher team. Thats what I think." The better team, of course, being the Heat?
We will be able to compete well against Chicago and have an opportunity to win the series, he said.
Apparently a few in the Chicago press thought Turner should have said he hoped the Sixers would roll over to allow the Bulls to trample them?
Or maybe because there is no controversy with the Bulls or no Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen or Michael Jordan around to fill up the notebooks, a story is conjured?
Either way, given that the Sixers have lost the last 11 games against the Heat during the regular season and 15 out of the last 16 total, it makes sense that they probably dont want to play the Heat again. Given the choice of a team the Sixers have beaten three times in the last six match ups against one they are 1-15 against, it seems like an easy choice.
According to a story on CSNChicago.com, in which Turners quote was characterized as inflammatory, former Sixer Kyle Korver said, bring it on, in response to the phony controversy
Well, all right, he said. Im not going to get into a war of words with Evan Turner.
Come play us. Our goals to win a championship. We dont care who we playfirst round, second round, third roundwe want to go through everybody. Thats our mindset. We dont want to go around anybody. Weve got the one seed and were ready for whoevers eighth.
After scoring a career-high 29 points to go with 13 rebounds in a 90-85 victory over the Bucks at the Bradley Center on Wednesday night, Turner, oblivious to any burgeoning "inflammatory comments," talked about the Bulls again.
We probably match up better against them even though they are, by far, the best team in the East, Turner said. We match up better with them with our personnel, so you never know.
Yes, Turner called the Bulls the best team in the East. Thats the controversy?
How about this coach Doug Collins said he and his staff are preparing to play the Bulls as early as Saturday afternoon even though there remains a chance that the Sixers could play the Heat. Collins added that the fact that the Sixers dont have to fight to the wire to earn a playoff spot gives them a chance to prepare to play Chicago (see story).
That's why it's sort of nice right now that we're not into a gut-busting final games, Collins said. If we had to play like crazy for this game and then had to turn around and play tomorrow night... what we've been able to do with the coaches is to take the time after the games all in the preparation for Chicago.
That last one ought to send them rioting down Michigan Ave.
The problem is the Bulls werent biting.
"That's cool," Joakim Noah told reporters in Indianapolis.
Why doesn't it bother me? Noah added. At the end of the day you've got to go out there and play the game, so we're only worried about us right now and we'll worry about Evan Turner when we need to worry about Evan Turner, if ... God willing.
E-mail John Finger at firstname.lastname@example.org