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updated: 1/17/2012 11:38 PM

Watson-Hamilton duro strong for Bulls

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The Bulls used a completely new starting backcourt Tuesday night against Phoenix.

With C.J. Watson coming back from an elbow injury the day before, he got the call to start in place of Derrick Rose.

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Watson was impressive, scoring 23 points to go with 5 assists. He hit 8 of 12 shots and was a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range.

"Even though I was hurt, I tried to do a lot of dribbling drills, shooting drills, so I wouldn't be lacking too much," Watson said. "Probably won't be 100 percent for about a month or so."

Meanwhile, Richard Hamilton returned from 11 games off with a groin strain. He started at shooting guard and looked sharp with 11 points and 6 assists in a modest 21 minutes of action.

"It was fun. I was excited to be on the floor," Hamilton said. "I had to catch my second wind. I thought coach did an excellent job with my minutes. The only thing I told myself was go out there and play hard."

Rose will have more time to rest as the Bulls get a two-day break for the first time in three weeks.

Considering how well the Bulls played Tuesday without him, it will be tempting to rest him against Cleveland and Charlotte this weekend to give his toe injury more time to heal.

"He's usually a pretty quick healer," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "So he'll get his treatment, then we have a couple days off. So we'll see where he is after that, but he usually responds pretty well to treatment."

Miami a favorite among GMs:

The annual general manager survey was released on nba.com Tuesday, and it seems just one NBA boss believes the Bulls can get past Miami in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Well, probably two, because Bulls GM Gar Forman wasn't allowed to vote for his own team.

The question was posed, "Which team will win the Eastern Conference?" Miami received 96.3 percent of the votes; the Bulls got 3.7 percent. That lone voter apparently thinks the Bulls will ride the Miami momentum into the Finals, because they also got one vote to win the title.

Derrick Rose won the vote for best point guard in the NBA, though Chris Paul made it close. The Bulls dominated voting for best defensive team and Tom Thibodeau for best defensive coach.

Lucas holds dance contest:

John Lucas III held a contest among his Twitter followers looking for the best video of someone doing the "Carlton Dance." The winner got tickets to Tuesday's game.

People often joke that Lucas bears a striking resemblance to actor Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton Banks on the 1990s sitcom "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

Lucas said he got 400 video entries for a contest that ran just a couple of hours, including some dancers performing in public before bewildered onlookers. He was planning to meet the winner after Tuesday's contest.

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