Watson, Bogans downplay facing Bulls

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ex-Chicago Bulls C.J. Watson and Keith Bogans both mostly downplayed facing their former team in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“It’s just another game, another series. It’s a team we’re facing in the playoffs, and we’ve gotta win,” Watson said.

Said Bogans, who was cut during training camp two seasons ago after starting all 82 games for a Bulls team that won 62 games: “I’m definitely motivated. Like I said, just for me to be back on the floor is the most motivating factor to me. I’m just happy to be playing again, and the fact that it’s against the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, it doesn’t get any better that.”

Was Bogans surprised that the Bulls let him go?

“It doesn’t surprise me. It’s a business,” he said. “I’ve been around long enough. I was a little hurt at first, because I played there and started all 82, but now I’ve been a Net for the last two years. I don’t even think about that anymore.”

Bogans suffered a serious season-ending torn deltoid ligament and fractured left ankle shortly into his tenure with the Nets.

“Once the doctor told me how bad my injury was at the doctor’s office, I pretty much got up and walked out of there rather than hearing what he had to say,” Bogans said. “He had to talk to (trainer) Timmy (Walsh). For the rest of the time I was so upset, but I’m blessed. I’m just happy to be playing. I couldn’t be happier.”

Bogans worked his way back and has become a key contributor off the bench for the Nets this season. He is one of the team’s best perimeter defenders and shoots 34.3 percent from beyond the 3-point line.

“If I can play defense on one end and knock down an open shot on the other, it’s going to be hard to take me off the floor,” Bogans said.

Watson’s tenure with the Bulls ended in terrible fashion last season.

In Game 6 of the first round, Watson had the ball with seven seconds left and Chicago ahead by one. But instead of backing it out and getting fouled, Watson, an 80 percent free-throw shooter, passed to Omer Asik, a 46 percent free-throw shooter. Asik missed both of his attempts at the stripe, and the Sixers ended up winning the game and eliminating the Bulls.

Watson ended up receiving death threats from angry fans on Twitter. He signed with the Nets in the offseason, and has become a great 3-point shooter. In his last 30 games, Watson is shooting 53.2 percent from beyond the arc.

“Just staying in the gym, staying confident and then getting a lot of open 3s from Deron [Williams], Joe [Johnson] and Brook [Lopez] because they’re doubling, so they make it easy,” Watson said.