Roughly 36 hours after the epic triple-overtime Game 6 ended, the Bulls took the court at the TD Banknorth Garden this morning to begin preparations for tonight's Game 7 showdown with the Boston Celtics.
Ben Gordon (strained left hamstring) and John Salmons (sore groin) continue to battle injuries and everyone that played major minutes is trying to get their legs back.
"I don't know about well-rested, but I think we're ready to go," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Obviously, there's John's groin and BG's hamstring, but it's Game 7 and you have to go with the guys that are healthy and get after it."
Both Gordon and Salmons, who played 60 minutes in Game 6, will be in the starting lineup tonight. Gordon is coming off a 4-for-14 shooting performance, while Salmons had a team-high 35 points.
"It's not getting better," Gordon said of his injury. "I think in Game 6 my minutes were kind of staggered, so I wasn't able to work up a lather like I was able to do in the first game I played with this. I couldn't get loose, I felt like, the whole game."
Said Salmons: "You can't really worry about it. Everybody played a lot of minutes. It's all the same for everybody."
When asked if he groin was feeling any better in Game 6, Salmons said: "I was just clicking that day. The injury's still there. That's not going nowhere. I was just making shots."
Game 7s are pressure packed, but the Bulls seemed fairly loose following the shootaround.
"Our guys will be ready to play," Del Negro said. "We just have to find a way to control, manage possessions and execute our game plan."
Del Negro planned to save his talk to the team to just before game time, but the players said a motivational speech won't be necessary to get them fired up.
"Game 7, you really don't need no motivation," Salmons said. "Just Game 7 alone is enough motivation. We gotta win, we have no choice but to win if you want to keep playing."