If you're watching the first game of the 2012 NBA Playoffs between the Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers, you may have noticed that Bulls fans are booing Evan Turner every time he touches the ball. You might be wondering why this is happening to a guy who comes off the bench. Here's your answer:
Asked what it would mean to him to play Chicago in the first round, Turner said, "It means we're dodging the tougher team. That's what I think."
The tougher team is the Miami Heat, of course.
Now, personally, I don't think this is an incredibly controversial statement. The 76ers have lost 11 of 12 to the Heat since LeBron James came there, including four of five in last year's playoffs. For the 76ers, Miami probably is the tougher team.
However, there may be an edge to what Turner is saying that goes beyond the obvious. Via CBS Philly:
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."
High school rivalries stick with you forever, so you have to think Turner had his old feud with Rose in the back of his head when he said the Bulls weren't as good as the Heat. In any event, anything is ripe for bulletin-board material this time of year, so it's not a huge surprise that Bulls fans feel disrespected.