Chicago Sun-Times

April 2009 Archives

Bulls disagree with Rondo decision

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Not surprisingly, the Bulls didn't agree with the NBA's decision on Wednesday not to upgrade Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo's hard foul on Bulls center Brad Miller to a flagrant foul.

"I think definitely it was a flagrant foul," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "I mean, I just think when a guy gets hit in his mouth and gets 10 stitches... I saw Dwyane Wade's flagrant foul in Atlanta [Wednesday] night and I didn't think that was a flagrant foul. It barely seemed like he hit the guy.

"You can't worry about that. You have to get ready to play the game and, hopefully, the officiating is consistent for both sides. That's all we're looking for as coaches, consistency."

Gordon will go tonight

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Unless he suffers a setback sometime this afternoon, Ben Gordon is a go for tonight in Game 6 of the first-round series with the Boston Celtics. His left hamstring strain isn't any better, but it hasn't gotten any worse.

"He'll be ready to go," coach Vinny Del Negro said after the Bulls' shootaround. "His leg's bothering him, but we'll try to loose it up like we did before last game and once we get him loose let him go."

Gordon had ice on his wrist after the shootout, but that isn't believed to be a problem.

Gordon game-time decision

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Ben Gordon will test his strained left hamstring before Game 5 tonight in Boston to determine whether he is able to go. Gordon, though, didn't sound optimistic following the Bulls' shootaround this morning.

"I don't think it feels any worse, but it hasn't gotten any better," he said.

Gordon didn't participate in the shootaround. When asked if he would try to play, he said: "I don't know yet. I'm going to wait and see how it feels."

Gordon injured the hamstring during the first half of Game 4 on Sunday. He received a shot at halftime and returned to the game to hit several key shots, including a last-second three-pointer to send the game into double overtime.

Gordon rarely is injured -- he played in all 82 games during the regular season -- and is about the closest thing the Bulls have to an ironman. Teammate Derrick Rose is confident Gordon be along side him in the backcourt tonight.

"Ben's gonna play," Rose said. "He's a fighter. He was supposed to sit out last game, but he played and still hit the big shot, made some big plays."

Gordon is the leading scorer in the series with the Boston Celtics, averaging 24.8 points. If he isn't able to play Kirk Hinrich will start at shooting guard.

MRI confirms hamstring strain; Gordon day-to-day

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Ben Gordon underwent an MRI Monday morning which confirmed a strained left hamstring. Gordon's status for Game 5 Tuesday at Boston will be made before the game. Gordon hurt his hamstring in the second quarter of the Bulls overtime win Sunday, which tied the best-of-seven series at 2.

John Paxson, executive vice president of basketball operations--read general manager--is still expected to relinquish day-to-day duties of running the team once the season concludes. The Sun-Times reported the story Feb. 13. ESPN.com reported it again Saturday.
Director of player personnel Gar Forman, who sat next to Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Paxson at the team's practice Saturday, is expected to take over Paxson's day-to-day role. Paxson is expected to become a senior advisor to Reinsdorf perhaps with the title of team president, holding influence on all big decisions.

Rivers praises Rose

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Doc Rivers has a problem with the voting that selected Bulls point guard Derrick Rose as the NBA's rookie of the year. The Boston Celtics coach wants to know how anyone could not vote for Rose.

"I want to know who didn't vote for him," Rivers said Thursday following the Celtics shootaround. "No, really, if that wasn't guaranteed unanimous... It wasn't, right?"

When informed that nine of the 120 voters didn't cast their first-place vote for Rose, Rivers said: "C'mon, call those guys out. If that wasn't the layup of the year ... I mean, he's everything you want in a player and more off the court, too, in terms of how he handles himself.

"I thought he was put in a really tough situation here where you have veterans with contract situations and veterans who have done it their way and they were told they were giving the ball to a rookie and he was going to run the team. Very few people could have pulled that off and he did.

"Forget the basketball. The fact he did that, to me, he should have gotten rookie of the year."

Del Negro: No timeouts, no regrets

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Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro was unwavering when asked Tuesday about his use of timeouts in Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-seven series with the Boston Celtics. The Bulls were without timeouts in the final seconds of both games. In Game 2, Del Negro called his last timeout with 20 seconds left. Ray Allen hit a three which proved to be the game-winner with two seconds left. If the Bulls had a timeout left. they would have been able to take the ball out at half court rather than going full court. The coach would have also been able to get Ben Gordon, who scored 42 points, back in the game for the last possession.

Here's the exchange with Del Negro about his use of timeouts in the first two games:

hard to judge timeouts?

Del Negro: ``You always want to try and keep a timeout, but you always want to try to keep yourself in the game. There's no need to save your timeouts if you're down 15 points, or 10, or 12. At certain times, when they're making runs like that, and we get the ball with 20 seconds to go in the game and we're down two, I want to make sure we get a good shot and have an opportunity to tie. Because if we don't execute well and set something up--especially with a young team--then they're shooting free throws and the game's probably over.

``So I would have liked to have had one at the end, but sometimes you can keep them and sometimes you have to use them to stay in the game.''

But those [were] one-point [differences] in a game with 18 lead changes and Ben Gordon's on the bench. And you're not getting the ball at half court. A lot of people second guessing today, or first guessing when it happened.

Del Negro: ``People are going to second guess and first guess. So what? I don't care. They can guess. I'm the coach. I'm going to make the decisions. That's the way it is. In two seconds or whatever we've got to take the ball out of bounds. The ball is going to go to Derrick, because he's our fastest guy to get it up the court. We set up a play in the time out. We didn't execute it because the Celtics did a good job with their execution. And that's the end of the game. I mean, two seconds, I don't second guess that.''

So no regrets?
Del Negro: ``No not at all. Not a second.''

Boston forward Leon Powe has a torn left ACL and other knee tissue damage and is out foe the remainder of the season. Powe sustained the injury in Game 2 of the best-of-seven series with the Bulls, which is 1-1.

Rajon Rondo, who sprained his right ankle in Game 2, is expected to play Thursday in Game 3 at the United Center.

BULLS-CELTICS GAME 2 LIVE BLOG

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The Bulls battled to the end but a Ray Allen three-pointer with two seconds left was the difference in the Boston Celtics' 118-115 win, which evened the best-of-seven playoff series at 1-1.
Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro for the second game was without a timeout--having called his last with 61 seconds left. So the Bulls were left with a desperation half court three from Tyrus Thomas to try and tie at the buzzer.
Ben Gordon led the Bulls with a game-high 42 points in 44 minutes. Allen led Boston with 30.
The series moves to the United Center Thursday for Game 3.
Derrick Rose, who scored 36 in Game 1, was in early foul trouble and finished with 10 points.
The Celtics took advantage of a 50-35 advantage in rebounds.

Allen buries three with two seconds left. No time out for Bulls in second straight game is huge coaching mistake. Bulls let opportunity to go up 2-0 slip from their hands. Celtics win 118-115 as series heads to United Center Thursday.

BG beats double-team for FT jumper--pushes odd Allen--to tie game with 12 seconds left. Vinny out of time outs. Again. When's he going to learn?? And no fouls to give. Boston has one time out left.


Celts lax defense on single coverage of BG, who hits j. But Allen answers with three on yet another second-chance opportunity after Bulls let Celts control offensive boar. Celtics up 115-113 with 20.1 seconds left.

Davis to line. 1:39 left. His two FT pull Boston within, 111-110. 90 seconds left. Noah miss inside. Celts of course control rebound. Rondo buries fade over Noah with 61 seconds left. Vinny takes time out. Celts up, 112-111.


Miller controls tip. BG misses fade corner j. Davis pounds inside hoop from Rondo on other end. Bulls cough up ball--Miller loses dribble after pass from Rose--Rondo breaks to other end for easy hoop.


Allen mugs Miller from behind and gets homer non-call. Rules jump instead of foul. 2:54 left.

Bulls suddenly playing bigger then collective size with aggressive defense. Effort is great equalizer.


Rose takes ball off block and FB drive and kick to BG for three. BG back with another three after Noah blocks Pierce on other end. Bulls up 109-104 and 3:11 left. About to take 2-0 lead in this best of seven series. BG (36 points) making case for long-term contract this summer.

Perkins grabs 7th offensive bound and makes lane hook to give Celts, 102-101 lead. Bulls inexcusable 24-second violation as Boston smothering BG with switching defense.

Most important stretch of series coming up. Bulls need to find way to stop Allen from springing free off screens as BG has no defense. Rose needs to attack rather than give ball up. Unless BG is open on perimeter.


Allen another three. 22 points in second half. Bulls TO after Rose pass to Noah goes out. Trouble. Bulls cling to 101-100 lead with 5:55 to go.

Kirk three open look in corner. Hinrich puts Bulls up 98-97. Rose blocks Eddie House and saves ball back to Hinrich, who feeds Noah. And one. Bulls up 101-97 after ninth fast break bucket in second half. 6:19 left.

Allen three. He now has 21. BG fouled on drive. Good. Good. Game tied at 95 with 7 1/2 left.

Tyrus with six now one block away from tying Artis Gilmore's Bulls record for most blocks in playoff game.

Both teams turning ball over with frequency. Time to value each possession as Boston up, 92-91, with 8:50 left.

Tyrus with six blocks but Bulls can't control ball after rejections. Celts keep possession alive and up 90-87.


Refs review BG's last shot. Three instead of two is ruling. Bulls down, 88-87, going into final 12 minutes. BG with 28.

Bulls 24-second violation gives Boston last chance shot to end third with hoop. Tyrus Thomas blocks Rondo's drive at buzzer. Boston up, 88-86, at end of three.

Allen has 16 of his 18 in third. Salmons answers other end. Bulls down, 86-84, with 40.1 seconds left in third as Allen picks up third foul.

BG another three. Has 25 points. Bulls will need him to make up for Rose's quiet night. Perkins and Davis are moving Bulls in lane with ease.

Boston dictating pace and again pounding paint with bigger line up. BG buries three to pull Bulls within, 75-73, 5:30 left in third.

Allen on fire, buries three after Bulls fail to clear defensive board. Boston up 75-70. Rondo has triple-double (15 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) after steal and assist on same play.

Celts' defense disrupting Bulls. Steve Javy hits Joakim with technical after Perkins barks at Noah following foul. BG does good job getting Noah to calm down. Bulls down, 72-68, with seven minutes to go in third.

Bulls finally on board in third on Salmons' hoop, but Allen has made his last two and Boston up, 66-64, nine to go in third.


Powe is out for game with right knee sprain and maybe for Game 3 and longer, according to Doc Rivers.


Rondo has heavy wrap on right ankle, which he rolled with five minutes left in second quarter. But he does start third.


Johnson gets abused by Pierce. Bulls had foul to give, Johnson gives it but Pierce goes into shooting motion and gets three free throws with 4.2 seconds left. Pierce makes 2-of-3. Bulls take 61-58 halftime lead after closing second with 16-6 run.


Vinny smart to get Rose out for last 69 seconds so he doesn't pick up third foul. Linton Johnson comes in and immediately hits shot. Tide turning as Boston's banged up and suddenly a mess. Bulls bench outscoring Celts' 20-9. Bulls up 61-56 and now look in control.


BG getting going; made team's last two. Bulls up, 56-55 with 1:09 left in half. Bulls turning up `D', getting steals leading to fast breaks. RUN! RUN!

Allen now 1-of-15 for series. Rose is now 3-of-5 in game. Miller makes open 12-foot j; he's 3-of-3 tonight after being brutal in Game 1.


Davis picks up his third foul. Perkins has three, too. Powe is still out with knee sprain. Time for Bulls to accelerate pace.

Rondo out as trainer works on knee. Marbury back. Physical play turned on high.

Miller starting to be paint presence but he's getting away with three seconds. Bulls down, 46-42. Stagnant defense is inexcusable. Need to be aggressive. Davis hammers BG with 5:03 left in half. Rondo in pain with right knee after colliding with Rose. Huge if Rondo is out or playing hurt.

Rose finally scores. 7:14 left in half. Rose 1-of-3 after sitting most of first quarter with two fouls. Powe has minor left knee sprain. May be back but one less big man for Bulls to worry about now.


Davis fakes buddy Thomas and drives to hoop. And one. Miss FT. Better get Gordon back for Hunter and going on `O.' Bulls down, 43-36 with 7:23 left in half.


Doc Rivers hit with technical during time out but John Salmons misses free throw. Rondo breaks Bulls run with back-to-back hoops. Celts up 39-36 with 8 1/2 to go in half. Pierce buries j and Boston on 6-0 run. Lead, 41-36.


Bulls have held Celts scoreless in first three minutes of second quarter. Bulls on 11-0 run and now up, 36-35, off Brad Miller three. Time out.


Powe heading to Boston locker room. No word on injury.


Rose starts second quarter. Needs to avoid third foul. Stephon Marbury airs his first shot. Bulls need to take avantage while Marbury is on floor.

Bulls blow uncontested break in final seconds--Salmons loses handle on ball--but Bulls still should be relieved they are only down, 35-29, at end of opening quarter with Celtics shooting over 50 percent.

Rajon Rondo pushing pace and getting to line at will. On other end, Bulls still one and done with no offensive rebounding. Boston has led since start, up now 35-25 with 52 seconds left.

Hinrich gets third foul. Big-time trouble with Rose sitting with two fouls. Lindsey Hunter coming in for Hinrich for last 1:49 of first.


Ray Allen misses his first two shots in 10 minutes. Good sign that he is as cold as Saturday.

Leon Powe is now powering paint. But Bulls have made last five shots. Celts up, 28-21 3:29 left in opening qtr.

Celtics 11-of-18 from field. But Bulls amazingly within, 24-17, with all that has gone wrong. 4:57 left in first. Time out.

Joakim Noah picks up Kendrick Perkins turnover for easy slam. But Bulls still down 22-10 midway through first. Perkins has two fouls.


Celtics up 12-1 on rebounds. Kirk Hinrich picks up second quick foul after coming in for Rose, who is on bench with two. Crunch time is now. This game could be over in another few minutes if this continues.


Celtics have eight second-chance points already and are pounding offensive board. Boston on 7-0 run, up 15-6.


Rose picks up second foul and heads to bench with 8:49 left in first. TROUBLE!!!

Boston showing serious energy and active in paint. Celts lead 12-6 with 8:33 left in first.

TyrusTyrus Thomas get what is Bulls' third block of game and we're just three minutes into game.


Bulls showing full press but leave Glenn Davis open at other end; Celtics up 8-4, 9:39 left. Ray Allen foul.


Derrick Rose already has first foul just over a minute in. He fouled out Saturday.

Joakim Noah falls on opening tip and seemingly hurts ankle. We'll keep an eye on it as game progresses.

Don't know what it means but Kevin Garnett is on Celtics bench and Vinny Del Negro's Dad is not on the Bulls bench.

2008-09 T-MOBILE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD BALLOT

You have been chosen by the National Basketball Association to serve on a committee to vote for the T-Mobile Rookie of the Year Award for the 2008-09 season. The winner of this award receives the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy, named after the coach of the NBA's first championship team and one of the league's pioneers.
Please vote for three players. Five points will be awarded for a first place vote, three for second and one for third.

My choices for the 2008-09 T-Mobile Rookie of the Year are:


PLAYER TEAM
1. __Derrick Rose_______________________ ______Bulls________________________
2. __Brook Lopez_______________________ _____Nets________________________
3.__RusselWestbrook_________________________________Thunder__________________________

2008-09 NBA COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD BALLOT

You have been chosen by the National Basketball Association to serve on a committee to vote for the Coach of the Year Award for the 2008-09 season. The winner of this award receives the Red Auerbach Trophy, named after the legendary coach who won nine titles with the Boston Celtics.
Please vote for three coaches. Five points will be awarded for a first place vote, three for second and one for third.

My choices for the 2008-09 NBA Coach of the Year are:


PLAYER TEAM
1. _____Mike Brown__________________________ __Cavaliers_____________________________
2. __Stan VanGundy_____________________________ ___Magic____________________________
3. __ Rick Adelman____________________________ _____Rockets__________________________

2008-09 NBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
AWARD PRESENTED BY KIA MOTORS BALLOT

You have been chosen by the National Basketball Association to serve on a committee to vote for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year presented by Kia Motors for the 2008-09 season.
Please vote for three players. Five points will be awarded for a first place vote, three for second and one for third.


My choices for the 2008-09 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award presented by Kia Motors are:


PLAYER TEAM
1. ____LeBron James___________________________ ______Cavaliers_________________________
2. ____Dwight Howard___________________________ _______Magic________________________
3. ____Chris Paul___________________________ _______Hornets________________________


2008-09 ALL-NBA TEAM BALLOT

You have been chosen by the National Basketball Association to serve on a committee to vote for the All-NBA Team for the 2008-09 season. Please vote for the player at the position that he plays regularly. You can vote for five players on each of the three All-NBA teams. No ties may be awarded.
Five points will be awarded for a first team vote, three for second team and one for third team.

All-NBA First Team All-NBA Second Team
F __Dwight Howard__________________ F__Tim Duncan_________________________
F _LeBron James___________________________ F __Paul Pierce_________________________
C __Dirk Nowitzki__________________________ C _Yao Ming___________________________
G __Dwyane Wade__________________________ G __Brandon Roy_________________________
G __Kobe Bryant__________________________ G _Chris Paul___________________________

All-NBA Third Team
F __Pau Gasol__________________________
F __Carmelo Anthony__________________________
C _Kevin Garnett___________________________
G _Tony Parker___________________________
G Chauncey Billups____________________________

2008-09 NBA SIXTH MAN AWARD PRESENTED BY KIA MOTORS BALLOT

You have been chosen by the National Basketball Association to serve on a committee to vote for the NBA Sixth Man Award Presented by Kia Motors for the 2008-09 season.
This award is designed to honor a player for his contributions in a reserve role. In order to be eligible for this award, a player must come off the bench for more games than he starts.
Please vote for three players. Five points will be awarded for a first place vote, three for second and one for third.

My choices for the 2008-09 NBA Sixth Man Presented by Kia Motors are:


PLAYER TEAM
1. ___Jason Terry____________________________ _________Mavericks_____________________
2. __Travis Outlaw_____________________________ __Trailblazers_____________________________
3. __J.R. Smith_____________________________ __Nuggets_____________________________


2008-09 NBA MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD
PRESENTED BY KIA MOTORS BALLOT

You have been chosen by the National Basketball Association to serve on a committee to vote for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award Presented by Kia Motors for the 2008-09 season. The winner of this award receives the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, named after the first Commissioner of the NBA.
Please vote for five players. Ten points will be awarded for a first place vote, seven for second, five for third, three for fourth and one for fifth.

My choices for the 2008-09 NBA Most Valuable Player Presented by Kia Motors are:

PLAYER TEAM
1. __LeBron James_____________________________ ___Cavaliers____________________________
2. ___Dwyane Wade____________________________ ___Heat____________________________
3. _Kobe Bryant______________________________ __Lakers____________________________
4. ____Dwight Howard___________________________ _____Magic__________________________
5. ___Brandon Roy____________________________ ___Trailblazers____________________________

2008-09 NBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER AWARD
PRESENTED BY KIA MOTORS BALLOT

You have been chosen by the National Basketball Association to serve on a committee to vote for the NBA Most Improved Player Award Presented by Kia Motors for the 2008-09 season.
This award is designed to honor an up-and-coming player who has made a dramatic improvement from the previous season or seasons. It is not intended to be given to a player who has made a "comeback."
Please vote for three players. Five points will be awarded for a first place vote, three for second and one for third.

My choices for the 2008-09 NBA Most Improved Player Presented by Kia Motors are:


PLAYER TEAM
1. __John Salmons_____________________________ ____Bulls___________________________
2. __Danny Granger_____________________________ ____Pacers___________________________
3. __Devin Harris_____________________________ _____Nets__________________________

Trash talk heats up

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So far in the first-round series between the Bulls and Boston Celtics, it's been difficult to tell which team is the defending champion and which is the young team without much playoff experience.

After winning the first game of the series on Saturday, the Bulls have said all the right things since and certainly didn't provide any bulletin-board material.

The same can't be said for the Celtics, who virtually said the 36-point performance of Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was a fluke.

"Everybody has their night," Boston center Kendrick Perkins said Sunday. "I know it won't happen again. He'll never have another game like that against us.

"It wasn't anything they did. It was all on us."

Following their shootaround Monday morning, the Bulls didn't have much of a response.

"I don't read it," coach Vinny Del Negro. "I focus on our people and what I can control. It doesn't matter what people say. It's about going out and doing it. All that stuff gets overblown."

Bulls guard Ben Gordon simply said teams react emotionally after a playoff loss.

"I definitely don't think they expected us to come out and win the first game," Gordon said. "They're probably questioning themselves and trying to see what they can do. In the playoffs, that's how it is. When you win a game, you feel like you can never lose. When you lose a game, you feel like you can never win."

Perhaps the most intelligent comment made during the off day on Sunday was by Bulls center Joakim Noah.

"We really didn't do anything yet," he said. "We won one game in a seven-game series and people are acting like it's the biggest deal in the world. It feels good and I feel like we set the tone, but we didn't accomplish anything yet.

"What we want to do is win this series and we know they're not gonna go down without a fight."

Missed FT saves Bulls, Del Negro

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Like many of his players, coach Vinny Del Negro is experiencing the intensity of the playoffs for the first time in his current position. Overall, Del Negro did a solid job preparing his team and devising an effective game plan.

But he's fortunate Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce missed the second of two free throws with 2.6 seconds left in regulation, because the Bulls would have lost -- and Del Negro likely would have been fitted for goat horns -- if the shot had fallen.

Here's the situation: If Pierce makes the second free throw, the Celtics have a one-point lead. The Bulls could have called timeout and moved the ball to half-court. A team could expect to draw up a play to get a reasonable look in 2.6 seconds.

But Del Negro had burned all of the Bulls' timeouts by that point, so the Bulls would have had to inbound the ball on the baseline -- 94 feet from their basket.

"It was a big relief," Ben Gordon said of Pierce's miss, "because if he would have made that, we would have had to hit a miraculous shot because I don't think we had any timeouts at that point. That was big for us."

That's why veteran coaches always save a timeout for exactly that situation. Del Negro, though, has a habit of burning all of his timeouts in close games.

I asked Del Negro on Sunday what was going through his mind when Pierce was on the line.

"I didn't think the game should have gotten to that level," he said. "If you think about the game in the third quarter, they made that run - we were up nine at the half - and I didn't call timeouts, because, one, I think as a young team that's a good learning tool for us.

"We have to realize, they're scoring, we're not scoring, they're getting back in the game. We have to get after it defensively. When you're not scoring, you rely on your defense. That's what's going to get us to the next level."

As you can see, he really didn't answer the question.

BULLS LIVE IN-GAME BLOG

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Ray Allen clanks for the last time--misses from corner--and Bulls steal Game 1, 105-103. Rose, phenomenal, finishes 36 points and 11 assists. 36, Kareem had same total in his playoff debut.

See you Monday for Game 2.

Pierce loses ball on drive and Eddie Rush blows call; gives ball back to Celts with 3.7 sec left.

Rose fouls out. Bad coaching. Foul to give but he's the LAST guy who should do it. Score one for Doc Rivers who attacked Rose with 10.3 seconds left.


TT misses 16-foot j on base line. Guess he pressed his luck. Boston grabs rebound and takes time. 11.6 seconds left. Crunch time as Bulls nurse two-point lead.


Only 63 seconds left after Boston time out. Bulls inbound to Rose in front of Celts' bench. Tyrus buries jumper just inside three-point arc. Wow! Three TT jumpers (8-of-11 from field) are going to key this OT win? Boston misses on other end and Celts foul with 32.6 seconds left. Bulls to inbound.

Perkins rolls in hook. Tied at 101. TT knocks down another j and Bulls back up two. Pierce j over Rose, tied again. Bulls three-seconds on next possession. Kidding right? Three seconds in OT. Joke!


Uh, oh! Rose picks up fifth foul with 2:48 left. TT doesn't do Rose any favors on D-team. Boston does, though, with another turnover.

Cool Salmons makes J, Bulls up 101-99, three to go.

Baby Davis too easy on roll to hoop. BG miss. Celts courtesy TO on ensuing break by Allen, who has been awful. Tyrus j on other end. Back tied, 99-99, 3:53 left.

No Noah! No. Hacks Pierce on double-team of Pierce with 2.6 seconds left. Pierce to line and Bulls without time outs. Shame on Vinny! Got to be better with time managemetnt. Pierce, good and NO GOOD! Do you believe in miracles?
OVERTIME!

Ref Eddie Rush overturns Salvatore's travel call on Salmons. Celts did touch ball after he picked up dribble. Rondo gifts Bulls with foul on Rose with 9.4 seconds left. Rose, after being poked in eye, buries both FT. Nothing but net. Bulls up, 97-96. Rondo limps to bench after rolling ankle defending Rose. Rondo still in after time out.


Rondo rebounds Allen miss and hits jump-hook over Noah. Help!! Celts up 96-95 with 22.1 seconds left.


Rose blows by Pierce and Pierce GT gives Rose his 34th point and Bulls, 95-94, lead with 31.1 seconds left.Rookie Rose is having historical playoff debut.

Rose misses lay up. Noah misses follow tip. Hinrich fouls Pierce who waits for contact before missing corner j. Pierce to line, good and good. Boston up, 94-93, with 37.4 seconds left. Time out. Maybe Vinny's Dad has a play to run.

BG has 12 of his 20 in fourth. Money.


BG big-time j Bulls up 93-90, Rose foul on other end. 68 seconds left.

Noah grabs his 15th rebound off Davis missed FT. BG and-one coming on Allen brush foul. Good. Bulls, 89-88. 1:45 left. Hinrich huge steal of Pierce while Boston's best man calling play. TT finishes with lane floater. Bulls up three.


Vinny's Dad now taunting refs. If he gets a T, heads should roll. Bleeping joke, he said of foul call. Bleeping joke is right. Take your seat.

Vinny's Dad now on bench. Come on. Back to stands Pop. This ain't Little League.


Hey, look! A BG three. First FG since 1st quarter for Bulls leading scorer. Boston back with three straight hoops and lead 85-84 after Pierce FB lay in off Bulls TO. 3:25 left. Strap it down, Hawk! Call your sons. Call your daughters for STRETCH!

Miller and Noah getting def. rebounds which KG would own. Noah gets cheap foul. Bulls still up, 81-79. Five minutes left.


Powe hammers Joakim on drive. Refs talk flagrant but decide no. Border line but these are the playoffs.


Rose and-one--great base line fade shot--give Bulls 80-77 lead. Rondo coming back next whistle.


Bodies now falling like Bruins and Hawks are playing. This stretch run won't be for squeamish. 75-75 with 8:43 left.


Hinrich now defending Pierce, who has six inches on Kirk. Good luck!

Rose in traffic makes floater. Maybe he can do it alone. Allen misses other end, 1-of-9. Bulls clinging to 1-point lead. Pierce coming back with 10:26 left.


Pierce starts fourth on bench. Time to take advantage, Bulls.

Rose is unbelievable; 25 points, perfect from line. But Boston ends third on 12-4 run and up, 70-69, after three. Both teams looked like they were in the final mile of the Boston marathon in final few minutes of third.
Time for Ben Gordon to get going on O. Rose can't do it alone.


Salmons misses his last two shots. Baby Davis takes KG baby j and Bulls commit 13th turnover. Going to need to value ball better and get Salmons--no 38 vs. Celts today--going or this could get ugly.


Rondo three just gives Boston 68-67 lead but Tyrus little j, gives Bulls one-point edge. Rose seems to have shaken off bad leg.

Stop the presses!!! Rose gimpy after banging knees with Allen. Still in game but favoring right leg.

Hey, look! Ben Gordon got a call. Heading to line after time out, trying to increase 67-60 lead midway through the third.

Tyrus to Salmons on break after TT def. rebound. Bulls keeping pace with suddenly running Celts.


Allen still missing open looks. BTW, Kevin Garnett's presence on bench lasted all of one half. KG back in locker room watching game on TV. He didn't sit on bench during any of the 22 games he missed in regular season due to sprained right knee.
Pierce again from three but Rose (who's a rookie?) keeping Bulls in front with his 21 points and seven assists. Bulls up, 63-58.

Pierce for three. Uh, oh!

Second half underway.
Rose scores first. Pierce beats three Bulls for Boston's first hoop. Celts get out on break. Tyrus Thomas forced to foul Glenn Davis, who sinks two free throws. Boston banging boards.


Celtics completely out of sync on offense. Eight turnovers, including on inbound play with 5.1 seconds left in half. Kirk Hinrich's hand bats ball. Brad Miller takes gift open follow to beat buzzer after BG gets fouled--again no call--on j. Refs looking at replay to see if clock stopped before Miller's hoop. Bulls up 53-44 if no change.

Grab some lunch. This is getting interesting.

During time out with 1:08 left in the first half, Vinny preaches ball movement; ``Swing the pass! Don't catch it and then throw!''


Joakim just blocked Perkins. Noah doing well with 10 points and eight rebounds. Looks like he owns the paint so far. Imagine if Noah can keep this going.

Pierce and Allen MIA on offense, a combined 2-of-10. Not exactly Bulls `D' doing it, but they'll take the gift.


Rose beats 24-sec clock with top of key j, heads-up play to give Bulls an eight-point lead, game's largest.

Celts 0-for-5 on threes. Boston best three-point shooting team in league. Still, better not keep playing with fire and giving Pierce such open looks beyond the arc.


Welcome back Tyrus, whose slam off steal on break puts Bulls up 42-38 midway through second.

Salmons sinks second hoop after struggling. Maybe getting loose.

Kirk Hinrich buries an open corner three on his first shot. Misses a step-back j. Tim Thomas misses an open three. Rose finally takes ball to hoop. Bulls better not start settling for perimeter shots. Attack!!!

Leon Powe has abused Tim Thomas twice on offense. Tyrus Thomas may need to get back in, foul-trouble or no.


Tim Thomas starts quarter and buries an open three. Gordon hammered on break drive, no call. Welcome to the physicality of playoff hoops.

Miller finally hits an open j (1-for-4) to start second-quarter scoring.


Derrick Rose ends first quarter looking like playoff vet--nine points and four assists. Rajon Rondo also keeps this match up in spot light with 12 points. Bulls end first 12 minutes on 7-2 run and game is 28-28. Bulls hanging tough.

Pierce will sit for final two minutes as Celtics go small. 8-0 run for Boston, Celts lead 24-19. Bulls on pace for 24 turnovers. Recipe for disaster.


During time out, Vinny preaches better defense and double-team on Pierce and Ray Allen.


Looks like Celtics are starting to get interested in playing some `D' after both teams have early shooting success. Bulls best match that intensity on defense. BTW, Brad maybe you shouldn't keep taking that 18-footer, open or not.


Weak-side help on defense. Hello? Any more hoops like Perkins open gimme and the Bulls will be in serious trouble.

Salmons gets on board with drive to hoop and Rose follows with a fast break which sends him to line. Bulls need to keep pushing pace.


Salmons 0-for-3, including second air ball. Boston breaks back for two quick hoops. Rondo blows by Miller. Trouble brewing as Celts grab first lead, 12-11, with 5:56 left in first.

Tyrus Thomas takes a seat after picking up his second foul with 6:56 left in the first. Cheap foul which sends Paul Pierce to the line for two, good-good, 11-8 Bulls. Miller in for Thomas.


Derrick Rose can't rush an off-balance shot instead of being patient when the Bulls have to play a half-court game on such possessions.

Noah block of Rondo portends good things.

Paul Pierce can't be left open off a screen for such easy looks. His hoop pulls Celtics to within, 7-6.


John Salmons' airs his first shot, a base line open look. Could mean he's on his way to a third sub par shooting game due to the groin injury. Bulls lead 5-4.


That's the running game the Bulls must dictate to have a chance.

Joakim Noah slams home a Derrick Rose alley-oop pass on Bulls first possession, a fast-break opportunity set up by good defense. Bulls up 2-0.

Raptors without Bargnani tonight

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Andrea Bargnani will not play against the Bulls tonight. The Toronto Raptors forward will miss the game with a sore left heel.

Sixers catch a break

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To finish with the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls need the Philadelphia 76ers to lose at least one of their final two games.

Although the Sixers bring a five-game losing streak into tonight's home game against the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia's task got a bit easier after the league office suspended Celtics guard Ray Allen for the game.

Allen was punished for elbowing Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao in the groin on Sunday. The elbow wasn't noticed by the game officials, but was caught by the television cameras.

The Celtics were already playing without forward Kevin Garnett, who won't return until the playoffs because of a knee injury.

Still flying high

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The Bulls gathered at the Berto Center today, but only spent about 15 minutes on the court. With their injury situation, they really can't hold a normal practice session, so it seemed like the only reason they got together was to enjoy Monday's win at Detroit as a group.

"I'm definitely happy with the way we came out and played," guard Ben Gordon said. "That's definitely the biggest game of the season.

"We played through adversity last night. We didn't let any of the things that didn't go our way deter us."

The Bulls currently are sixth in the Eastern Conference, but they still don't control their own destiny. If they beat Toronto Wednesday in the season finale, the Bulls need the Philadelphia 76ers to lose one of their final two games. If the Bulls lose the finale, they still can finish sixth if Philadelphia (which plays Boston tonight and Cleveland Wednesday) loses its final two games.


Luol Deng still has pain in his injured right shin and with five games left in the regular season seems to be a long shot to return to the Bulls lineup before the postseason.
``I increased the workout a little bit and had a great deal of pain,'' Deng said before missing his 18th game due to the injury. ``So I'm just going to try and be off of everything for a little bit again.''
Deng will rest the leg for another week. The Bulls will play their last two regular-season games next week. So does Deng believe his season is over?
``I don't want to get to that point,'' he said. ``Even if I'm capable of being back for five or 10 miniutes, whatever, so guys can sit down a little bit because guys are playing a lot of minutes I can help out. Now I can't even scrimmage for five minutes let a lone go and play. I'm hoping next week to try and increase it again and see how it goes.''
The Bulls re-signed Linton Johnson III for the rest of the season Tuesday.
Tim Thomas missed the game against the New York Knicks Tuesday because of a family situation.

Salmons to start

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John Salmons will play today against the New Jersey Nets. Salmons missed the last game, a loss at Indiana Wednesday, due to a groin injury.

Rose, Love share monthly rookie honors

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Derrick Rose and the Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love today were named the Eastern and Western Conference T-Mobile Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in March.

Rose ranked first among rookies in assists (5.9 apg) and minutes (38.7 mpg), second in scoring (16.9 ppg) and third in free throw percentage (.851). The first-year guard led the Bulls in scoring three times, rebounding twice and assists 11 times. Rose posted seven games with at least 20 points and 10 games with six or more assists.

Love ranked first among rookies in rebounds (9.6 rpg) and third in scoring (15.8 ppg) for the month. In addition, Love scored double digits in 14 of 17 games in March, 20 or more points three times and recorded nine double-doubles. For the season, he leads all rookies in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and double-doubles (24).

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