CHICAGO– Evan Turner’s rivalry with Derrick Rose, which dates back to their days as high school stars from Chicago’s West and South Sides, respectively, might get stoked anew Tuesday night at United Center.
Turner might be on the court as a starter in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first-round series between Philadelphia and Chicago, while Rose most definitely will not.
All the Bulls star point guard will be able to do, alas, is watch after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in Game 1 of the series Saturday. But Turner could get boosted into the Sixers’ starting lineup as a reward for his work that day (12 points, five assists, three rebounds, three assists in 29-plus minutes) and as a change of pace from Jodie Meeks.
Meeks, who has been labeled something of a coach’s pet by some diehard Philly fans for his graps on the starting shooting guard job despite poor production, was at it again Saturday, playing ineffectively at both ends and logging barely three minutes after halftime. He started 50 times this season, averaging 9.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists while shooting 41.6 percent. Philadelphia was 29-21 in games Meeks started.
Turner, the second-pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, averaged 12.7, 6.7 and 3.0 while shooting 45.7 percent in his 20 starts, compared to 7.9, 5.4, 2.7 and 43.8 percent off the bench. The Sixers were 8-12 in his starts, however.
Coach Doug Collins declined for a second day Monday to address the possible lineup change. But Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday, a superior defender, hinted after practice at the UC that he might be chasing Rip Hamilton in the Game 2 defensive assignments, with Turner potentially on Rose backup C.J. Watson. Hamilton hurt the visitors in Game 1 with 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Watson doesn’t have Rose’s elusiveness, enabling a matchup with the 6-foot-7 Turner.
“We’d be bigger on the wings,” Philadelphia forward Andre Iguodala said. “So we should be better defensively and we should be able to rebound better, to help us attack and push the ball.” The Sixers got outrebounded in the opener 47-38 and managed only a 17-13 edge in fast-break points, after dominating that category 58-21 in three regular season meetings.