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How the Bulls handle this transition from afterthought to favorite could go a long way to determining how long their playoff run lasts.

"I know it's going to be different because everybody is going to be expecting us to win," Derrick Rose said. "But Thibs will have us ready."

That would be coach Tom Thibodeau, whom several players singled out for praise in a subdued postgame locker room after they clinched the No. 1 seed on Friday in Cleveland.

"We took everybody by surprise, but it's just Thibs' system," Rose said. "It's all because of him. He gives us the chance to play."

He also demands preparation. And it's this relentless attention to detail that has players shrugging off the inexperience factor of being the hunted. Carlos Boozer, who advanced to the 2007 Western Conference finals on a fourth-seeded Jazz team, said the Bulls will be ready.,0,7677881.story
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