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Bulls say they're winning war of words
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 4/30/2009 10:48 PM

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A photo from Game 5 that made the rounds appeared to show injured Celtics all-star Kevin Garnett screaming from the sideline in the ear of Bulls guard Ben Gordon.

At least 25 times per game, the cameras catch Garnett either cheering on his teammates, sticking his chin out or mouthing some R-rated language.

Bulls reserve forward Linton Johnson says Chicago fans shouldn't worry, because the No. 7 seed bench is holding its own in this series.

"Actually, we're leading. We're ahead in this thing," Johnson said Thursday. "It's just that KG is Kevin Garnett and they give him more airplay. But we're killing him on the other end. We had him so quiet when we were up 10 (in the fourth quarter of Game 5), he had to put his head down.

"He's Kevin Garnett, but if you look on the other end, we're giving it to guys. We're winning this battle of the bench, I'm telling you."

Johnson gave a rundown of his bench lineup. The Bulls do have a couple of loud guards in Lindsey Hunter and Anthony Roberson, while 7-foot center Aaron Gray brings intimidation potential.

"Lindsey, like the Vanguard. So we follow Lindsey," Johnson said. "We've got the muscle with Aaron. We've got a heck of a bench. If they ever turn that camera down on our end, they've got something really good. KG's by himself, but we've got the whole clan down there."

Do the Bulls' reserves ever hear what Garnett is yelling?

"We can read his lips," Johnson said. "With him, it's easy. He only says about five words."

Pierce gets bloodied: Fans at the United Center enjoyed a video board shot of Boston star Paul Pierce with a bloody nose. Pierce was hit after grabbing a defensive rebound between Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas early in the third quarter, though it was difficult to tell by the replays whether he was hit by the ball or a hand. No foul was called on the play, but Pierce went to the locker room to get stitches.

Rose sweeps rookie honors: Rookie of the year Derrick Rose was a unanimous selection to the NBA's all-rookie first-team, which is voted on by head coaches. Memphis guard O.J. Mayo was also unanimous and joined Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook, New Jersey center Brook Lopez and Miami forward Michael Beasley on the first team.

The second team included the Clippers' Eric Gordon, Minnesota's Kevin Love, Miami's Mario Chalmers, Memphis' Marc Gasol, Charlotte's D.J. Augustin and because of a tie, Portland's Rudy Fernandez.

Bull horns: The Bull ranked fifth on the NBA's list of most popular team merchandise, while Derrick Rose had the No. 11 best-selling jersey based on sales at the NBA Store in New York. ... The Bulls shot 63.9 percent from the field in the first half, while Derrick Rose outscored Rajon Rondo 20-0, but the home team led just 59-57 at intermission.