Game 1: Homecoming of sorts for Philly's Collins

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Game 1: Homecoming of sorts for Philly's Collins

Doug Collins is very familiar with Chicago.

Collins was born in Benton, Ill., and attended Illinois State University, where the court in Redbird Arena is named after him. The 76ers made him the first overall pick in the 1973 draft and he went on to play eight seasons in the NBA, averaging 17.9 points per game.

The Bulls gave him his first shot as a head coach in the 1986-87 season and he spent three years on the sideline in Chicago. The Bulls played in Chicago Stadium back then, so Collins never coached in the United Center.

Collins said his return to Chicago is a "very special feeling" and says he still keeps in touch with Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and others within the organization.

"It's interesting -- Jerry Reinsdorf and I have become the best of friends," Collins said. "We spoke about a month ago for an hour on the phone. He's reached out to me and maybe we'll get a chance to go out to dinner while we're here. He's been a very special guy.

"Bulls VP of basketball operations John Paxson is like a son to me, so I have very strong feelings about him. All the people who work for this organization, basically, they're still here."

Collins coached Michael Jordan during his three years in the league and took the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals in the 1989 playoffs, in which they beat the Cavaliers 101-100 in a thrilling Game 5 thanks to a Jordan jumper.

"I was telling our guys the other day. I remember our '89 run when we got to the conference finals," he said. "I remember flying to Cleveland and thinking about what I was going to say to our guys for Game 5. It was interesting -- the Kentucky Derby was that day and the winner was 'Sunday Silence.' And I just told them that's what it was going to be in Cleveland. And then Michael hit the shot."

Collins hasn't been in Chicago since that 1989 season, but he still has a lot of respect for the Bulls and the city.

"This is a special organization," he said. "Not many teams can have the championship runs that they've had, win 12 games the next year and have sell-outs.

"This is a very special city. They have embraced me. I don't have any championship rings. Jerry's given me six championship watches with great notes that I kept very proudly. I haven't been here since '89. But when I walk down the street, the bus drivers are honking and waving and the fans say how much they appreciated my time. I love this. I love this city and it's going to be interesting to see. I'm sure they're not going to be lovely to me today, but it's a very special place."

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively over Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively over Kings

It was a gift and the Bulls weren't going to look it in the mouth as Dwyane Wade was poised to finish off another one of his sterling defensive plays with a breakaway dunk with the game tied and Arron Afflalo and DeMarcus Cousins trailing.

Lightly touched by the small of his back by Cousins, Wade miscalculated his liftoff and missed the dunk but was bailed out by the refs for a foul with 14 seconds left.

Then, he bailed the Bulls out.

Wade had his fifth fourth-quarter defensive play, stripping Cousins on a steal on the ensuing possession with the Sacramento Kings having a chance to win, leading to a Michael Carter-Williams dunk and finishing a 102-99 win Saturday night at the United Center.

It was a clock-turning performance for Wade on both ends of the floor, even if his missed dunk is a reminder that he is 35 years old. But putting up 30 with six rebounds and four assists on the second night of a back-to-back is proof positive he took Friday's loss to Atlanta personally and used his play to back up those feelings.

He scored 13 in the fourth, along with the last of his four blocked shots and all three of his steals took place in the final 12.

Cousins dominated the game with 42 and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes, the only Kings player in double figures all night.

Back-to-back triples from Cousins gave him 40 and tied the game at 97, as a third one rimmed out with a little under two minutes left.

Cousins dominated the start of the third quarter, hitting midrange jumpers over Robin Lopez and taunting the Bulls bench after hitting a jumper to put the Kings ahead, 70-63 midway through the third.

It looked like the worst was over when the Bulls made a short run to end the third, surviving the onslaught from Cousins — and surviving their own experimenting as the Paul Zipser played heavy minutes and even finished out the game on the floor.

Zipser scored 13 and Nikola Mirotic scored 11 off the bench, with Jimmy Butler scoring 23 with seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes.

Phillips DT Chris Elmore commits to Syracuse

Phillips DT Chris Elmore commits to Syracuse

Phillips senior three-star ranked defensive tackle Chris Elmore (6-foot-0, 270 pounds) has given Syracuse his verbal commitment while on his official visit.

Elmore, who first announced his decision via his Twitter account, was asked why he decided to commit to the Orangemen.

"(Syracuse) is the place for me," according to Elmore via text. "I just feel it and I didn't want to pass up a chance to play for Syracuse and in the ACC."

Elmore, who originally gave then Western Michigan head coach PJ Fleck his verbal commitment back last summer reopened his recruiting process once Fleck left WMU to take the head coaching job at Minnesota.

Elmore is now the 20th known verbal commitment to Syracuse and the first from Chicagoland in the Class of 2017.