Playing in a sea of playoff green in two games earlier this week, would seemingly give a bit of pause to some rookies.
The TD Garden is an easy place to get overwhelmed in that moment.
Then again, the way Paul Zipser was looking at it – as long as he wasn’t being threatened, spit on or witnessing fights in the stands, well, there was a certain calm he was able to cling on to.
Heck, a calm he actually excelled in.
After going just 1-for-4 from the field and scoring six points in 22 minutes of the Game 1 win for the Bulls, Zipser came off the bench in Game 2 and was outstanding, hitting 6-for-8 from the field and putting in 16 points.
Yes, he acknowledged that the Garden was loud and the crowd had their moments, but there’s a difference between loud and hostile. Zipser knows hostile.
Coming up through the German League, the forward acknowledged on Thursday that many of the arenas were much smaller than what he’s seen at the NBA level, but they were also more dangerous.
“Smaller gyms, but very loud,’’ Zipser said. “I had some league games, especially in Serbia if you travel there, or Greece, they are like big crowds. I’m used to that.’’
He was also used to fan violence over in Europe.
“Like spitting, like throwing stuff at you, all kind of stuff,’’ Ziper said. “It’s like more human [here]. That’s how it is. Like the crowd is getting into it, and it’s fun to play in front of a big crowd, but it’s not like everybody is violent.’’
Nikola Mirotic, who came up in the Spanish League, had a similar take, insisting that the fans across the pond were “crazier’’ than what he experienced in the United State. It might be louder in the NBA, but there’s not those moments where a player might be covered in spit.
“I had some moments [in Game 1] that I was a little nervous maybe, but I think everybody got that, especially in the first game,’’ Zipser said of performing like he has so far. “I think I have some experience with playoffs, and some big games [from the German League], maybe more than other rookies have, but I don’t know. I’m just playing my game every time I step out on the court.’’
Tale of two answers
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg was asked if he was surprised the Bulls were up 2-0 in the series, and replied, “All it’s about is going out and trying to win the next possession. That’s all we’re focused on. We did some good things the first two games of the series, but we know this Boston team, they’re the number one seed for a reason. They’re going to come out and play with great energy. We have to match that, similar to what we did in Game 2, and try to give ourselves a chance to go out and win.’’
Dwyane Wade was asked the same question and said, “Yeah.’’
When then asked if he’s really surprised, Wade responded, “Am I lying?
“I mean we’re a confident team, but you’re not thinking that you’re going to go in Boston and get two. You’re just trying to get one, that’s your focus.’’