Thibodeau, Rose earn NBA's March accolades

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Thibodeau, Rose earn NBA's March accolades

Friday, April 1, 2011
Posted: 4:05 p.m. Updated 7:31 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.--With the exception of All-Star point guard Derrick Rose, the Bulls haven't garnered much in the way of individual accolades this season. As the NBA regular season winds down, however, that may be about to change.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was named the Eastern Conference coach of the month for March, during which the Bulls moved up to first place in the East, due to a 13-3 record under the guidance of the first-year coach.

Ironically, one of Thibodeau's predecessors with the Bulls, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson, was awarded the honor in the Western Conference. It was the second time this season Thibodeau received the award after earning the honor for January.

Two Bulls players, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver, also received recognition recently.

Deng was named the Central Division nominee for the 2010-11 NBA Sportsmanship Award. Deng previously won the award--named after the top executive of the Bulls' opponent Friday night, Detroit Pistons Hall of Famer Joe Dumars--following the 2006-07 season.

Korver was named a nominee for the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, awarded by the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA). Korver, whose charitable foundation has put on community events for youth in Chicago, as well as his previous NBA stops of Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Omaha, Neb., where he attended college.

Meanwhile, Rose is also up for a PBWA honor: The Magic Johnson Award, which is awarded to "the player who best combines excellence on the court with cooperation with the media and fans."

Rose named Player of the Month

Derrick Rose was named the NBAs Eastern Conference player of the month for March, the league announced Friday.

Rose, who led the Bulls to a 13-3 record in March, notched his career high in assists with 17 in a win at Milwaukee on March 26 and tied his high scoring mark with 42 in a loss at Indiana on March 18. He also set career marks in three-pointers made with six in a win at Atlanta on March 22 and in free throws made and attempted with 18 and 21, respectively, in the aforementioned Indiana loss.

Rose is averaging 25 points per game (the seventh-highest number in the NBA) and 7.9 assists per game (ranked 10th in the league) this season. The third-year All-Star was also the awards recipient in November.

Kobe Bryant of the Lakers was named the Western Conference player of the month

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

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AP

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

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

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

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. 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. 

"I took off too far as I look at the instant replay," Wade said. "I should've took maybe one more dribble. Can't say I felt 35, I just took off too far (laughs). But hey, sometimes you get calls, sometimes you don't. I'm a person who hasn't gotten a lot all year so I'm not gonna apologize for nothing."

Stripping Cousins on his spin move was the finale, but he swatted an Arron Afflalo corner triple in the fourth, smothered Ty Lawson at the rim twice for blocked shots to end the third and tortured Lawson again in the fourth for another steal that led to him following up a Jimmy Butler missed layup with a follow and foul.

"Just a read," said Wade on stripping Cousins. "We knew he was gonna go to DeMarcus at that point. Once we forced him left, I knew he had to come back to the right hand. And being in the right place at the right time, the ball was right there for me."

Wade played like a desperate and motivated man, 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 took to twitter to apologize for the poor effort against the Hawks, producing his best all-around performance as a Bull.

"We've been good in desperate moments," Wade said. "We haven't been good in non-desperate moments, when we win three in a row or playing a team that we should beat. But (in) the desperate moments I like us."

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.

"I thought he was terrific," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He was aggressive all game long, taking the ball to the basket, getting to the line 15 times. He came up with two big plays."

Hoiberg threw out different lineups and rotations, playing Paul Zipser as a sixth man and having the second-round draft pick close the game. Zipser took advantage, hitting three triples and scoring 13 points.

"I thought it was night and day from last night," Hoiberg said. "Our energy was really good all night long. We got just enough stops to find a way to win."

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

"He was pretty much unguardable for the majority of the game, Taj did a solid job on him," Hoiberg said. "When Robin was on him, they put him on the perimeter and let him shoot threes. He's a monster."

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 Lopez and taunting the Bulls bench after hitting a jumper to put the Kings ahead, 70-63 midway through the third.

But the Bulls stayed close, with Hoiberg choosing to sit Rajon Rondo for the second half after playing him six minutes in the second quarter, using Wade as a point guard and going with Carter-Williams for defense, along with Zipser, who didn't look scared of the moment.

"I like the wrinkle coach put in there, putting him in early," Wade said. "He gave him an opportunity and he helped us big time."

Butler scored 23 with seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes, didn't have to play the hero for once and made fun of Wade's apology tweet.

"He was due for a big night," Butler said. "He can tweet again if he can come out again and give us 30 and some big steals and big dunks."

"I think that's what called of him, to score baskets and guard. It's kinda sneaky. You never really expect it until it happens."

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 with Zipser instead of going with Denzel Valentine, switching things up altogether.

But the tone was set by the leaders, who can only manufacture but so much urgency on a nightly basis.

"I like this team when we're desperate," Wade said. "A desperate team, we're not bad."