Bulls begin playoffs on Saturday

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls will open the postseason against the Philadelphia 76ers at noon Saturday at the United Center. It's the second straight season the Bulls will host the first game of the playoffs.

The Bulls' second game will be at 7 p.m. May 1, and they'll get two days off before playing in Philadelphia at 7 p.m. May 4. Game 4 will be at noon May 6. (All times are central.)

The quick turnaround concerned Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau enough that he rested three players -- Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver -- for "maintenance" against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers in the season finale. The short-handed Bulls posted a 32-point win without that trio.

"We knew how this would be, but basically the playoffs are a continuation of the regular season," Thibodeau said. "We are looking at one day for prep, then playing. There was not going to be a big break in between. I think it was important to stay in rhythm and try to be as healthy as possible."

Thibodeau likes to control his team's schedule down to the minute, but he claimed he wasn't sweating not knowing game times before they were released.

"Whenever it is, if it's 11 (a.m.), it's 11. If it's midnight, it's midnight," he said. "Whenever it is, we have to be ready. That's the challenge we have. (Friday), I want to have a great day in practice, great focus, great concentration. Just be ready."