Bulls G Rose should play vs Hawks in Game 2

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DEERFIELD, ILL. (AP) - Derrick Rose should be fine. Time will tell if the Chicago Bulls will be, too.

The NBA’s MVP went through a full practice Tuesday, one day after twisting his left ankle in the closing seconds of a 103-95 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Rose expected to be ready for Game 2 on Wednesday and it looks like he will be.

Coach Tom Thibodeau said his star point guard “didn’t have any swelling” and told him he’s fine, so that was encouraging for the Bulls. Their performance on Monday night was not.

The top seed after winning a league-leading 62 games, Chicago simply delivered a dud in Game 1 after being pushed in a tough five-game series by Indiana in the opening round. Now, they’re in a hole against a team that hadn’t won a second-round game since the 1990s.

“A lot of people have written us off even before the series began, and we’ve been there before,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “Now that we’ve been in these situations enough times, we respond totally different to them. We don’t listen to what’s being said. We look at and pay attention to details now a little bit better than we have in the past. I do believe that this team is a little bit more hungry.”

The Bulls figured Atlanta was a threat and for one night, anyway, they were right.

The Bulls‘ defense and rebounding that set the tone during the regular season were nowhere to be found, and the offense never really found its rhythm with its star delivering an uncharacteristically passive performance.

Yes, Rose finished with 24 points and 10 assists, but he settled at times for jumpers rather than his electrifying drives and wound up going 11 for 27 from the field after missing his first seven shots.

The scene in the closing seconds sent an extra shiver through Chicago when Rose came up limping after he stepped on Jamal Crawford’s foot and twisted the same ankle he sprained against Indiana.

Asked if he thought about taking Rose out, Thibodeau said, “No. I’ve seen too many comebacks.”

It was hardly an MVP performance on a night when news broke that he was getting the award. That was hardly shocking the way he dominated during the season, but his showing in Game 1 was a bigger surprise.

Asked if he could remember the last time he didn’t attempt a free throw, Rose said, “Probably my rookie year or something like that.”

Actually, it happened three times during the season. Then again, a short memory might not be such a bad thing for him in this case.

Rose was being guarded primarily by Jeff Teague, an occasional starter who played a total of nine minutes over two appearances in the opening round against Orlando. He started because Kirk Hinrich is likely out for the series with a hamstring strain.

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