Chicago Bulls color commentator Stacey King joined Grady and Big Joe this morning and when I heard King was on I was fully prepared for a heavy dose of agitation. Anyone who has listened to King through NBA League Pass knows he can deliver a Bulls-centric view of the world that leans toward annoying for opposing fans.
So I was surprised when King opened the interview hyping the game tonight between two teams that have developed a 'major rivalry' following up on the tough playoff series last season. Here are his comments on how he feels the Bulls view the Pacers.
On whether the "celebration-gate" issue is a big thing for the Bulls.
I think it's a big deal and I know it's a big deal with Derrick Rose. You know, it's one of those things where this has become a rivalry. I think up until that point I think it was more of a bigger rivalry with Indiana than it was the Bulls and I think after they (Pacers) came in and won at the United Center and put the first loss on this team, I think it really turned into a major rivalry.
Do the Bulls players see it as a rivalry or do they look at the Pacers as a little brother?
I think they look at it as a rivalry now. You go back to that playoff series, very intense playoff series last year. They gave the Bulls all they could handle and I think when you ask anybody off of that Pacers team they thought they should have won that series, they thought they were the better team and they've come into this season with a different attitude, a different approach, they think they're a better team, they think they can beat the Bulls.
I think the Bulls up until that last game when Indiana won, I think the Bulls looked at them as being the little brother, just go away, go away. But they see now that Indiana is not going anywhere and they have to take them seriously.
King did make a point about Luol Deng missing the last game and while Ronnie Brewer filled in admirably, Deng brings a different game to the court especially matched up with Danny Granger. One thing I thought came through clear from King's tone in the interview is that he fully expects Derrick Rose to lead the Bulls on a rampage through the Pacers tonight.
Certainly wouldn't expect anything less from Rose. Hopefully the Pacers take it right back to the Bulls and add another memorable game to this budding rivalry.