When Evan Turner was a standout player at Ohio State, Chicagoans were proud to call him one of their own. The 6-foot-7 swingman played high school ball at St. Joseph in Westchester, Ill., and had a storied college career before the Philadelphia 76ers took him second overall in the 2010 NBA Draft.
But Turner's comments earlier in the week about how the Sixers were "dodging a bullet" in facing the Bulls over the Heat to start the playoffs have turned the Chicago faithful against him.
The 21,943 United Center fans let Turner have it when he entered the game midway through the first quarter and boos rained down from all stretches of the building every time the second-year player touched the ball.
"When you talk, they're gonna come after you," Sixers power forward Elton Brand said after the game. "The crowd came after him, the Bulls came after him."
Turner was involved in a bit of a fracas in the third quarter when he and Bulls foward Carlos Boozer bumped into each other. Players from both teams had some words for each other, including Turner and Derrick Rose, who have bad blood dating back to their high school days.
Rose, Brand and Rip Hamilton wound up with technicals and while Turner escaped unscathed, the incident only intensified the sellout crowd.
Turner, who estimated pregame that he had anywhere from 15-18 friends and family members in attendance Saturday, said the crowd didn't affect him and finished with 12 points, five assists and three rebounds in 29 minutes.
"They're not playing on the court," he said. "To tell you the truth, I only worry about my teammates and the opponent and the positive people like my family that are in the stands. I don't worry about the people not playing on the court. You can't worry about it."
All things considered, Sixers forward Thaddeus Young was proud of the way Turner took it all in stride.
"I think he handled himself real professionally," Young said. "He's just playing to play basketball and won't let anything get to him. He's not going to say anything crazy to the fans."