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Gordon’s return was expected

04.29.09 at 12:36 am ET

Doc Rivers has seen this before. Last season he watched Paul Pierce bounce back from a knee injury to save the day in the NBA Finals. So he wasn’t surprised when Ben Gordon, the Bulls most dangerous scorer, played through a problematic hamstring in a critical Game 5.

“Yeah I wasn’t worried about Ben Gordon being hurt,” he said. “I’ve seen that act before.”

Gordon scored 26 points in 50 minutes during the Bulls overtime loss. Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro explained why he left his guard on the court for so long.

“A few times I said, ‘Ben, how are you? Are you alright?’ and he just said, ‘Yeah, I’m fine’ or ‘Yeah, I’m a little tight,’” Del Negro said. “But he played 50 minutes so it wasn’t like I was going to take him out because once he gets tight it’s hard to get him loose again. So if he was fine then I was fine with him being out there because he’s such a threat.”

Rivers gave Gordon credit for leading the Bulls on the scoreboard. But that’s not to say he overwhelmed by a comeback performance.

“He was terrific. You know, he made some unbelievable shots and honestly some of them were very well defended. We’ll take some of those shots and if he makes them, he makes them,” said Rivers. “But overall he didn’t look injured to me.”

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