Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen encouraged Chicago Bulls players, still dealing with the loss of Derrick Rose to a knee injury, that they are “still the best team in the NBA … so go out there and play like it” before Game 2 of their playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.
“Yes, you lost one of your brothers — a warrior in every sense of the word — but I know and you know you’ve still got a lot of fight left,” Pippenwrote in a letter to the team posted on the Bulls website Tuesday. “You’re still the best team in the NBA until an opponent proves otherwise. So go out there and play like it. You’ve earned that much with Derrick along the way, but you also won a lot of games without him. It’s time to meet the challenge.”
Rose tore his left ACL with 1:22 left in the Bulls’ Game 1 win on Saturday, and he’ll miss the rest of the postseason. He visited with teammates at practice on Monday, and it’s uncertain if he will sit with the team for Game 2 on Tuesday night at the United Center.
The Bulls tied with the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the NBA at 50-16. They went 18-9 without Rose during the season and will now have to rely on backups C.J. Watson, John Lucas III and Mike James to fill in for the reigning MVP. Pippen, who, as a team ambassador sat courtside for many games this season, believes the team is up to the challenge.
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