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OKC Thunder fire head coach Scott Brooks

Thunder fire head coach Scott Brooks

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced today that the organization has parted ways with Scott Brooks as head coach.

“This is an extremely difficult decision on many levels. Scott helped establish the identity of the Thunder and has earned his rightful place in the history of our organization through his seven years as a valued leader and team member,” said Sam Presti, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager. “As we all know, this past year we had unique and challenging circumstances and as I have conveyed, not many people could have accomplished what Scott and this team were able to. Therefore, it is very important to state that this decision is not a reflection of this past season, but rather an assessment of what we feel is necessary at this point in time in order to continually evolve, progress and sustain. We determined that, in order to stimulate progress and put ourselves in the best position next season and as we looked to the future, a transition of this kind was necessary for the program. We move forward with confidence in our foundation and embrace the persistence and responsibility that is required to construct an elite and enduring basketball organization capable of winning an NBA championship in Oklahoma City.”

According to the Oklahoman, “after an injury-plagued season, the Thunder finished 45-37 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Reigning MVP Kevin Durant missed 55 games due to foot and ankle injuries, Serge Ibaka missed the season’s final 18 games and Russell Westbrook missed 15 games.”

Brooks was named head coach of the Thunder on April 15, 2009 after serving as interim head coach during the 2008-09 campaign. Over the course of the last seven seasons, Brooks accumulated a 338-207 (.620) record with the Thunder and was named the 2009-10 NBA Coach of the Year. An NBA veteran of over 24 years as a head coach, assistant and player, Brooks helped guide the Thunder to three appearances in the Western Conference Finals (2011, 2012, 2014), and a trip to the 2012 NBA Finals.

“We have a deep appreciation for all that Scott has contributed to the Thunder organization over the last seven years,” said Clayton I. Bennett, Thunder Chairman. “He helped us build the foundation of this team and led us to much success. While a very hard decision, I support the need to transition to a new coach that will allow us to continue the growth and progress that will help us reach all of our goals. We wish Scott and his family only the best as he moves forward.”

The Thunder will initiate the search for a new head coach immediately.

Fan reaction to this news: OKC has fired Scott Brooks.

Lakers and Jordan Hill may part ways this summer

The Lakers weren’t a serious team this season. Rookie Julius Randle and aging star Kobe Bryant were injured. Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer didn’t do much. Rookie Jordan Clarkson played well for a stretch. But in general, the team is in transition. Which generally means parting ways with almost any player who isn’t a clear building block for the future. So, the Lakers and Jordan Hill may go their separate ways. Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog reporting:

The energy Jordan Hill displayed with his rebounding and putbacks left Byron Scott giddy, the former Time Warner Cable SportsNet analyst believing Hill could consistently produce double doubles if only granted more consistent minutes and featured in a more deliberate offense.

Once he became the Lakers’ coach this past season, Scott afforded Hill those opportunities. But despite Hill posting career-highs in points (12), rebounds (7.9), starts (57) and minutes (26.8) in the Lakers’ 21-61 2014-15 season, his exit interview last week featured Scott focusing more on what Hill lacked.

“He was disappointed he didn’t see that energy,” Hill said. “That’s something else I need to work on.”

That marks one of many reasons why the Lakers feel unsure if they will exercise his $9 million team option before June 30. Just like how it has become with any player on their roster, the Lakers are placing more priority on the NBA Draft on June 25 and the marquee stars once free agency begins on July 1.

Former AAU teammates now together in playoffs for Rockets

It’s cool when buddies from your childhood are in your life years later. Especially when they’re your teammate on a really good NBA playoff team. Here’s ESPN Houston reporting:

As kids growing up in Atlanta, they played on the same AAU team, just having a good time and dreaming about the big time: playing in the NBA.

Josh Smith’s dad, Pete, picked the kids up and directed them on basketball. Dwight Howard, a close friend of Josh’s, would ride along and have a good time talking about the future.

“I looked at a picture of me and him in high school that we took together playing AAU basketball,” Howard said Tuesday morning. “It’s crazy that we’re actually competing, hoping for a chance at an NBA title. It’s amazing and we’re blessed that we have an excellent opportunity in front of us and we have to take advantage of it.”

Tuesday night, that future turned into the present as Howard and Smith dominated the second half of a sloppy first-round playoff game at the Toyota Center.

During the middle of the noise and the good times, Smith and Howard gave each other a shoulder bump, just like old times. At the end of the evening, the Houston Rockets took control of this series against the turmoil-plagued Dallas Mavericks with a 111-99 victory to take a 2-0 series lead.

Coach David Blatt is an experienced winner

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt is an experienced winner. In places other than the NBA, that is. He’s new to the league and had a good regular season, but these playoffs should be a learning experience. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

Growing up in Framingham and cheering for the likes of Celtics greats Bill Russell and John Havlicek, Cavaliers coach David Blatt knew what championship basketball was all about.

At the professional level, Blatt has coached 17 champions in various leagues and tournaments, the most recent, a Euroleague title last year for Maccabi Tel Aviv.

None of those championships were the NBA, so critics were interested to see how he would handle his first postseason series against the Celtics.

“I don’t really know if people are aware of just what kind of different competitions I’ve been in based on how they approach my rookie season here in the NBA,” said Blatt, 55, a Princeton graduate. “It’s kind of funny to me. You have to recognize that I’ve been on playoff runs that are national team-oriented. I’ve coached teams that have played 11 games in 15 or 16 days in order to win a medal or European championship.

“They don’t have anything like that in the NBA. That’s extremely difficult.”

Tim Frazier wins 2014-15 D-League MVP and Rookie of Year awards

Maine Red Claws guard Tim Frazier, currently a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, has been selected as both the 2014-2015 NBA Development League’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 18 head coaches.

Frazier (6-1, 170, Penn State) played in 41 games for the Red Claws, 40 as a starter, averaging 16.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 9.5 assists, good for second-best in the NBA D-League. Frazier led the NBA D-League with four triple-doubles while also recording 14 double-doubles for Maine. He scored a career-high 34 against the Delaware 87ers on Jan. 3, and led the team in scoring nine times and assists 37 times.

“There’s no question about it, Tim had an MVP-caliber season in Maine this year,” said Malcolm Turner, NBA D-League President. “It takes a special young man to be as consistently dominant as he was this season, and to do it as a rookie is even more impressive. It’s fitting that our coaches recognized his hard work and his talent by selecting him as both the MVP and the Rookie of the Year. We look forward to watching his game continue to mature as his NBA career unfolds.”

During his rookie campaign in Maine, Frazier was named NBA D-League Performer of the Week three times and was selected as a 2015 NBA D-League All-Star. He earned three GATORADE Call-Ups during the season, two to the Philadelphia 76ers and most recently to the Trail Blazers on March 30. In his first-ever NBA game on Feb. 9, Frazier dished out 11 assists in 35 minutes at Boston for Philadelphia. He recorded his first NBA double-double on April 15 when he recorded 13 points and 10 assists for Portland at Dallas. Frazier owns NBA career averages of 5.2 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 11 games with the Sixers and Blazers.

“This season, Tim quickly established himself as one of the league’s elite guards with NBA potential,” said Red Claws Head Coach Scott Morrison. “It was an honor and a privilege to take the court with Tim this season and I hope to be watching his progression in the NBA for years to come.”

Frazier becomes the second player to earn MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season, joining Devin Brown who achieved the feat in 2003.

Mike Budenholzer wins 2014-2015 NBA Coach of Year award

Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer, who guided the team to the best regular season in franchise history, is the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year, the NBA announced today.

Budenholzer received 67 first-place votes and 513 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. The Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr, who led the Pacific Division champions to a franchise-record and NBA-high 67 victories in his first season as an NBA coach, finished second with 56 first-place votes and 471 total points. Jason Kidd of the Milwaukee Bucks was third with one first-place vote and 57 total points. Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

Budenholzer led Atlanta to a 60-22 record in his second season, three games better than the previous team high of 57-25 set in 1986-87 and matched in 1993-94. The Hawks earned both the No. 1 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference and a division title (Southeast Division) for the first time since 1993-94 — the last season they had the NBA Coach of the Year (Lenny Wilkens). Atlanta made the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year, the longest active streak in the East.

After posting a 38-44 record last season, Budenholzer oversaw a 22-win improvement rooted in balance on offense and teamwork on defense. According to NBA.com/Stats, Atlanta tied for sixth in the league in offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions) and ranked seventh in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions). Six players averaged double figures in scoring, but none eclipsed 17 points per game. The Hawks set a franchise record for three-pointers with 818, ranked second in the NBA in assists (25.7 apg) and finished in the top five in field goal percentage (fourth), three-point field goal percentage (second) and free throw percentage (fifth).

Atlanta opened the season 5-5 before winning 35 of its next 38 games, a stretch that included a franchise-record 19-game winning streak. The 35-3 run also featured a 17-0 January, the best calendar month in NBA history and a perfect run that earned the Hawks’ starting five the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month and Budenholzer his second NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month award of the season. The honors continued when a team-record four Hawks players were selected to the NBA All-Star Game, coached on the East team by Budenholzer.

Lou Williams wins 2014-2015 NBA Sixth Man of Year award

Toronto Raptors guard Lou Williams, who averaged a career-high 15.5 points this season and helped Toronto win a franchise-record 49 games, is the winner of the 2014-15 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award as the league’s best player in a reserve role, the NBA announced today. The 6-1 guard becomes the first Raptors player to earn the honor.

Williams, in his 10th NBA season and first with the Raptors, amassed 78 first-place votes and 502 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics finished second with 324 points (33 first-place votes), and two-time winner Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers was third with 131 points (eight first-place votes).

Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote. To be eligible for the award, players had to have come off the bench in more games than they started.

Williams came off the bench in all 80 of his appearances and averaged 25.2 minutes. He led or tied for the team lead in scoring 18 times, second most in the league for a reserve, and the Raptors went 14-4 in those games. The 28-year-old also led the Raptors in free throw percentage (86.1) and made a career-high 152 three-pointers, nearly double his previous high of 88 set with the 76ers in 2010-11. On March 4, Williams set a Toronto record for points in a quarter with 21 in the fourth period against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Fan reaction/discussion: Lou Williams wins 6th man of the year

Damian Lillard struggles in Blazers Game 1 loss to Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Portland Trail Blazers 100-86 Sunday to take a 1-0 series lead. Blazers guard Damian Lillard struggled badly, shooting 5-of-21 for 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

Damian Lillard was locked in at long last. This was the stingy and smothering laser-like All-Star effort we’d been promised all week by the guard. It was the defensive performance of a lifetime.

Here was Lillard late Sunday night, long after the Blazers Game 1 loss against the Memphis Grizzlies, shutting down the scrutiny, one dress sock at a time. He’d already toweled off like a retiree watching a sunset. Now, the Blazers All-Star guard sat on a folding chair, back to the room, checking text messages.

It was so crowded with media in Lillard’s corner of the locker room that when guard Steve Blake emerged from the showers he had to dispatch a locker room attendant through the mob of cameras to retrieve his clothes. Also, during the Lillard filibuster a reporter from TNT asked Chris Kaman if he wouldn’t mind giving the network a quote, as Lillard was about to bleed their deadline out.

Kaman obliged and left. Blake eventually dressed, conducted an interview and left the room. So did the rest of the Blazers teammates. One by one, from Robin Lopez to Nic Batum to Wesley Matthews and back, the Blazers absorbed the disappointment and disappeared out the locker room doors.

Clippers take Game 1 vs Spurs

Clippers take Game 1 vs Spurs

The Clippers beat the Spurs 107-92 in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin did big things for the home squad in the win. Here’s the Orange County Register reporting:

Paul delivered on the all-around excellence fans of his are accustomed to, scoring 32 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists, and Griffin delivered four of the game’s most emphatic points on the way to 26, 12 and 6.

“They had it going,” Doc Rivers said. “And we noticed it and kind of rode it.”

With the game yet to be decided in the third quarter, Griffin hammered home two separate merciless slam dunks on the head of San Antonio reserve Aron Baynes, sending the Staples Center crowd into a state of euphoria.

And while the defending NBA champions fought back from a 20-point lead to get within single digits in the fourth quarter, Griffin and Paul were there again to answer, leading a 7-0 run that doused any sparks of a comeback.

With four days off since their regular season finale, the Clippers had a trio of practices to go over the Spurs and their multiple offensive sets and defensive schemes.

Austin Rivers gets taste of playoff basketball

Here’s the OC Register reporting on Clippers reserve guard Austin Rivers:

Austin Rivers gets taste of playoff basketball

Austin Rivers has watched NBA playoff games. He’s attended a few and was in the stands when the Boston Celtics hoisted the NBA championship trophy.

This was, however, the first time Rivers had played in an NBA postseason game. He entered Sunday’s game against San Antonio late in the first quarter and while Rivers saw limited minutes, it still was a first-in-a-lifetime experience for the Clippers coach’s son.

“Obviously, I grew up around it (NBA postseason) with my father, but it’s different when you’re out there,” said Rivers, Doc Rivers’ second son.

“At the same time, whether I was at the game or watching it like any other player, it’s still basketball but the stakes are higher.”

Austin Rivers said he didn’t expect to alter his playing style or experience any nerves, not even playing against the defending champion Spurs. The Clippers reserve guard said before the game that he was going to stick with what has gotten him playing time since being traded from New Orleans.

Nuggets in search of new head coach

Nuggets in search of new head coach

Here’s the Denver Post reporting on the Nuggets, who finished the regular season with a 30-52 record, not even coming close to qualifying for the playoffs in a very difficult Western conference.

The Nuggets are in search of their second coach since 2013. Popular opinion says they’re very worried about the bottom line, that they’ll skimp on the coach’s salary and place most of the monetary resources in player salaries. Yet, those close to the Nuggets say price will not be an issue during their search. And that takes into account the fact that the Nuggets still owe Brian Shaw, who was fired March 3, $2 million.

So if money is no object — or at least not an obstacle — the Nuggets should be in good shape financially in their search for a coach, which, last week, general manager Tim Connelly said had started.

“We don’t want to put any unnecessary internal time frames on it. There’s no deadline. I think the deadline is we want to have a coach as we head into the draft,” Connelly said of the June 25 event. “It’s a pretty pivotal pick for us, and a pretty pivotal moment. Not just with the draft itself and the chance to make trades, and free agency happens soon thereafter. So if we have to wait, we can wait. But we want to make sure that we talk to all of the quality candidates and pick the best guy.”

Derrick Rose, back in the NBA playoffs

Derrick Rose, back in the NBA playoffs

On Saturday, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose played in his first NBA playoff game in years, stayed healthy, looked pretty good, and enjoyed a win. The former league MVP shot 9-of-16 for 23 points, seven assists and two steals as the Bulls beat the Milwaukee Bucks 103-91 to take a 1-0 lead in their first round series.

Leading the Bulls was guard Jimmy Butler, who shot 8-of-14 for 25 points and six assists. Forward Pau Gasol shot just 5-of-17 for 10 points, though he did add 13 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Center Joakim Noah had six points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block.

In Milwaukee’s loss, Khris Middleton scored 18 points on 17 shot attempts. The Bucks as a team shot just 39.3% for the game.

Brandon Knight undergoes left ankle surgery

Brandon Knight undergoes left ankle surgery

Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle yesterday.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Richard Ferkel in Los Angeles. Knight is expected to make a full recovery.

Knight averaged 17.0 points and career-highs of 5.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals this past season, one of just nine players in the NBA to post at least those amounts in each of those categories. A four-year NBA veteran out of the University of Kentucky, Knight played in 11 games with the Suns this past season after being acquired in a trade from the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 19.

Mirza Teletovic cleared to resume basketball-related activities

Mirza Teletovic cleared to resume basketball-related activities

The following statement has been issued by Nets General Manager Billy King regarding the status of forward Mirza Teletovic:

“Mirza has been cleared to resume basketball-related activities. Mirza will be listed as OUT for games, and if his status changes, we will update at the appropriate time.”

Statement from Brooklyn Nets team physician Dr. Michael Farber:

“Over the last three months, Mirza has been closely monitored on blood thinners and follow-up testing has met our expectations. The most recent bloodwork was normal and Mirza has been cleared to resume all basketball-related activities.

Teletovic last appeared in a game on January 22 at the Los Angeles Clippers. In 40 games (four starts) this season, Teletovic averaged 8.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 22.3 minutes per game.

Lance Stephenson says he lost confidence in his jumpshot this season

The Charlotte Hornets finished this season with a 33-49 record, failing to make the playoffs in a forgiving Eastern conference. It was a disappointing season. Lance Stephenson was considered a positive addition to the squad last offseason, and while he averaged a solid 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists in just 25.8 minutes per game, the swingman only scored 8.2 points per outing on subpar 37.6% FG. And from three-point range it was nothing but bricks. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Lance Stephenson says he lost confidence in his jumpshot this season

Hornets swingman Lance Stephenson had a rough first year in Charlotte, but said he plans on coming back better and with more confidence next season.

Stephenson, who signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Hornets last offseason, shot 17.3 percent from 3-point range this season. That mark was the worst in NBA history among players who have attempted at least 100 3-pointers, according to basketball-reference.com.

“That is terrible,” Stephenson said of his shooting Thursday as the team addressed the media for the final time this season.

Stephenson said he lost confidence in his jump shot early in the season and never regained it.

Keeping Brandon Knight is priority for Suns

The Phoenix Suns’ season is over. They finished 39-43 and failed to make the playoffs in a very tough Western conference. Here’s the Arizona Republic reporting on their roster situation:

Keeping Brandon Knight is priority for Suns

The Suns’ changes will start with those already at the end, or potential end, of contracts.

Of the seven current roster players in that situation, the only three with a good chance of returning are Brandon Knight, Brandan Wright and Danny Granger.

Gerald Green, Marcus Thornton and Earl Barron will be unrestricted free agents on July 1, and Jerel McNeal will have to prove enough in NBA Summer League to convince the Suns to allow a late July contract guarantee kick-in.

The Suns’ desire to retain Knight is an obvious priority, given that they cashed in two big chips (the Lakers’ first-round pick and Tyler Ennis) to acquire him.

Because Knight is a restricted free agent, the Suns can control that situation by either matching an offer sheet to retain him or negotiating a long-term deal directly.

Deron Williams faces additional criticism

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on Nets point guard Deron Williams. The team is currently in a tight game with the Magic on the final day of the regular season:

Deron Williams faces additional criticism

The crosshairs are back on Deron Williams as another disappointing season nears its end, thanks to back-to-back disappearing acts in critical games and a harsh critique from former teammate Paul Pierce.

With the Nets set to play their season finale Wednesday against the Magic - a game they have to win in order to keep their playoff hopes alive - another Hall of Famer jumped on the Williams’ blame train.

“I can’t argue with what Paul Pierce said. I have to agree with him,” Reggie Miller told WFAN. “I don’t really like to kill guys but you have to call a spade a spade. I think he’s right on.

“The most important position in the game today is the point guard position,” he added. “And if you can’t get that out of your point guard - because that’s the coach on the floor. That’s the guy that has to get everyone rallying in the right position. So if your point guard is not demanding and is not accountable and is holding everyone else accountable, your team is going to struggle.”

Isaiah Thomas hates coming off the bench

Isaiah Thomas hates coming off the bench

Here’s NESN reporting on a key Boston Celtic:

Isaiah Thomas hates coming off the bench

Isaiah Thomas won’t sugarcoat it: He hates coming off the bench. Hates it. If given the chance to start, Thomas would take it in a second.

That’s not going to happen anytime soon, though. The Celtics point guard has been too valuable to his team in a reserve role, and the team itself has enjoyed too much success for coach Brad Stevens to mess with a good thing this late in the season.

So, for now, Thomas is stuck. But as the Celtics prepare to begin postseason play, he’s not going to be one to complain.

“Nobody’s sold me on no sixth man role,” Thomas said before Tuesday’s 95-93 win over the Toronto Raptors. “I’ve only had a few talks with (president of basketball operations) Danny (Ainge), a few talks with Brad. This is the role for the team right now, and I’m going to take full advantage of it.”

Lakers will finish this season with 4th worst record in league

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on the Lakers, who in case you forgot were in the NBA this season:

The Lakers have plenty of question marks, but their 59th loss of the season, a 120-106 defeat Sunday at Staples Center at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, gave them some measure of certainty about the near future.

With that, the Lakers clinched the league’s fourth-worst record, meaning fans no longer have to cheer for losses this season to improve the team’s position heading into the May 19 draft lottery.

“It feels great,” coach Byron Scott said after Sunday’s game. “I understand a lot of the fans with where they were getting at [with losing games]. But I don’t agree with it.”

The Lakers will have an 82.8 percent chance of retaining their 2015 first-round pick, which they would convey to the Philadelphia 76ers if the pick falls out of the first five this year.

In hugely important game for Brooklyn, Nets gets blown out by Bulls

The Chicago Bulls are already headed to the 2015 NBA playoffs. The Brooklyn Nets hoped to join them. But a two-game losing streak now has Brooklyn’s postseason dream turning into a nightmare.

Behind 26 points off the bench from Nikola Mirotic, 22 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks from Pau Gasol, and 50% team shooting, the Chicago Bulls beat the Nets in Brooklyn 113-86.

The Bulls outscored the Nets 30-15 in the third quarter. And with plenty of Bulls fans in the crowd, the visiting team got plenty of cheers on a number of plays — especially when D-Rose unleashed some quickness, several times leaving D-Will and other Nets defenders flat-footed behind him.

For Chicago, Jimmy Butler shot 7-of-10 for 17 points, Taj Gibson was 5-of-6 for 15 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, and Derrick Rose only shot 5-of-13 as he works his way back but still looked good, showing explosiveness at times and finishing with 13 points and seven assists.

The Nets struggled in just about every way possible. Bojan Bogdanovic came off the bench to lead them in scoring with 17. Jarrett Jack scored 15 in 25 minutes off the bench, but needed 14 shots to do it. Brook Lopez had a quiet night with 13 points, eight rebounds, no assists and one block. Deron Williams shot 3-of-13 for just nine points, seven rebound and five assists. Joe Johnson scored 12. Thaddeus Young shot 3-of-11 for eight points, 11 rebounds.

The Bulls had 26 assists, the Nets 12. And the Bulls hit 12-of-30 three-pointers, the Nets 3-of-12.

It was a mess in Brooklyn.

Nets coach Lionel Hollins: “Stats say it all. They shot better from the three than we did from two, they outscored us 56-36 (in the second half). We had 12 assists, five in the first half, and I told the coaches that if we go out there and can’t get more than five assists in the second half and only have 10, we can’t win. We got two more for 12 assists. We have to give up the ball, we have to make shots, we have to make layups, we have to defend with second and third efforts. It was a disappointing loss, but the way I look at it is that we have one more game left and we have to win it.”

For the Bulls, who played without center Joakim Noah, a bonus in addition to the win was very solid from Derrick Rose, who isn’t anything close to his superstar self of the past, but looks like a player that can help his squad in the postseason, which is the most Chicago can expect from him right now.

“The big thing is obviously getting Derrick Rose back,” said Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau.

“He’s got the power, quickness and speed; it’s very unusual. I don’t know if anyone else is like him in the league,” said Thibodeau about Rose.

The Bulls go on to prepare for the playoffs. The Boston Celtics clinched a playoff spot tonight, so the Nets must hope that the Pacers and Heat — other East squads hoping to reach the postseason — don’t remember how to play basketball for the next 48 hours.

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