ATLANTA–A year ago, the Bulls were one of the teams Joe Johnson was looking at.
“I thought [Chicago] was a good fit,” the Atlanta two-guard said Sunday. “There were a few places I thought were a good fit. I thought this was the best fit for me.”
It’s easy to understand why Johnson thought the Hawks’ six-year deal reportedly worth $120 million was an offer he couldn’t refuse.
In light of the Bulls’ success this season, he was asked if he ever looked back and wondered how things might have turned out if he’d come to Chicago.
“No,” Johnson said. Once he made his decision, “I was stuck with it.”
HOME ON THE ROAD
The Bulls were expecting another big contingent of their fans at Philips Sunday night. And they thank them for their support.
“Our fan base is very very good,” Derrick Rose said. “We have a lot of fans here. It feels good when you go away and everybody’s cheering for you.”
Coach Tom Thibodeau said the Bulls’ road backing might even exceed that of his former team, the hallowed Boston Celtics.
“They had a strong following,” Thibodeau said. “I don’t know if it was like this. It seems like every arena we go into is half ours. We certainly appreciate the support. You see that type of following more in college. It says a lot about our fans. We feel we have great fans.”
It’s a function of transplants as well as current Chicagoans, the Hawks believe.
“Atlanta has a lot of people here from different cities,” forward Al Horford said. “That’s just the way the city’s made up. We just need to come in more focused and know that we have our fans rooting behind us. We can’t control what other fans do.”
RONDO’S A TOUGH OUT
When Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo dislocated his left elbow with 7:01 left in the third quarter, the replay was not for the squeamish. Amazlingly, Rondo returned for the fourth quarter, hardly using his left arm, to help Boston finish off the Miami Heat 97-81.
“I saw the injury,” Rose said. “I think [his return] surprised everybody. I don’t know how he even played, but he came back and played a great game.”
Thibodeau, who knows Rondo well, was not surprised, though.
“That’s Rondo,” Thibs said. “Rondo’s as tough as they come. It was a tough play, but there’s a lot at stake. Those guys understand what it takes. They’re going to play. That kid is something else.”