Immediately following the catastrophic injury to Derrick Rose late in Game 1 Saturday, Doug Collins was quick to defend Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and his decision to leave Rose in the game.
He hasn't changed his tune in the last three days.
The 76ers head coach backed Thibodeau again in his session with the media prior to Tuesday's Game 2.
"Coaches never forget games," Collins said. "Tom Thibodeau was part of a game in '04 with the Houston Rockets when Tracy McGrady scored 13 points in 35 seconds and beat the Spurs 81-80.
"As a coach, you never forget those games. So sometimes when you're gauging on who should be out in the game and who shouldn't be, coaches know what they need to do.
"And that's why, with Thibs, it would be very, very unfair to throw any criticism his way of Derrick Rose being hurt. Had he gotten hurt in the first minute of the game, nothing would be said. We have long memories as a coach... When you have games like that, you never forget them."
Collins wasn't kidding (watch the video below). His recollection of the eight-year-old game was spot on. Thibodeau was an assistant coach with the Rockets at the time.
On Saturday, the Bulls had a 95-75 lead with 4:35 left in the game. The Sixers clawed their way back and nearly pulled within single digits. The last chance Thibodeau could have pulled Rose was with 1:53 left in the game when Luol Deng lost the ball out of bounds. That was the last stoppage in play prior to Rose's ACL injury, roughly a half-minute before the occurence.
At the time, the Sixers were in the midst of a 10-4 run and threatening to make a game of it.
Collins also suggested that if Thibodeau were to have taken Rose out and the lead slipped away completely, it would have been hard to get the reigning MVP back in the game mentally.
"I err on the side sometimes of keeping guys in the game too long because I know if you ever take a guy out of the game with a big lead and it slips away, you can't bring them back because they shut it down once they go out," Collins said. "It's just human nature for a pro athlete. That's what they do."