On the eve of the Bulls' first-round series with the Nets, Nazr Mohammed, who drew 19 "Did Not Play — Coach's Decision" designations this season, quipped that Tom Thibodeau had been saving him for big moments.
Those came down the stretch of the regular season, when Mohammed ably filled in for the injured Joakim Noah, and again in Monday's critical Game 2.
"Nazr, a lot of people always say, 'Oh, he's just a veteran, played a long time in this league,'" Noah said. "The things that he's dealt with this year, not playing at the beginning of the year and stepping up at the biggest moments, is something that shouldn't go (unnoticed).
"He was huge (Monday). He's a class act on and off the court. He works very hard. Even when he wasn't playing, he was working very hard."
Mohammed contributed eight points and physical defense in 17 minutes, 37 seconds Monday.
"Nazr has made huge contributions all year," Kirk Hinrich said. "He's a very smart player."