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posted: 3/15/2012 9:22 PM

Bulls' Lucas almost joined Heat

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John Lucas III, the Bulls' offensive star of Wednesday's 106-102 win over Miami, returned to the NBA after a three-year layoff last season when he joined the Bulls.

Lucas thought his return to the NBA would happen with the Heat. But he was cut by Miami before the last preseason game in 2009.

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"I had a great training camp for them," he said. "Spo (Heat coach Erik Spoelstra) and them came to me and said they needed a little more of a veteran, so they brought Carlos Arroyo in. I just took it on the chin. It's a business. It's part of the game."

Lucas, 29, spent that season in China, but never stopped believing he would return to the NBA. He was a backup guard in Houston from 2005-07.

"I love the game of basketball. I love it with all my heart," he said. "I would never stop. This is the highest level, so I'm always going to shoot for the highest level."

While in China, Lucas would visit the gym at the Four Seasons Hotel to get in his shooting practice. He said his normal routine is 100 shots per spot, or 1,000 per day.

Deng adjusts to injury:

Luol Deng's return to the lineup wasn't spectacular. He contributed 11 points and 5 rebounds in the win over Miami, hitting 4 of 13 shots overall, but 3 of 6 from 3-point range.

Deng sat out the previous two games to rest his sore left wrist. He's been playing with a torn ligament since Feb. 4 and plans to stay on the court as long as he's able.

"If you've seen my game, I'm adjusting it a little bit," he said after the game. "You've got to keep finding ways to keep on improving and try to do other things that I'm not capable of doing now."

Late in the second quarter, Deng drove to the basket and fell to the floor after the shot. He stayed on the ground for a moment and was clearly in some pain.

"It's tough. As the game goes on, you forget about it until you get whacked or you fall," he said. "It's really my first time playing with this type of injury. I think as time goes on, I'll get better with it."

Portland changes coach:

During the past two seasons, three NBA coaches have resigned or been fired immediately after facing the Bulls -- Indiana's Jim O'Brien and Utah's Jerry Sloan last season, then New York's Mike D'Antoni this week.

Portland beat the Bulls to the punch by firing coach Nate McMillan on Thursday, following a 42-point loss to New York. Assistant coach Kaleb Canales will take over for rest of the season, starting with Friday's game at the United Center.

Bull horns:

The Bulls made no moves before Thursday's trade deadline. A team source suggested things were quiet in the hours before the deadline struck, with no serious talks going on. The Bulls gave no official update on Derrick Rose's status, but it seems likely he could miss this weekend's game to rest a groin strain. There were multiple reports that the father of Miami star Dwyane Wade was removed from the United Center during Wednesday's game for using profanity.

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