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posted: 4/27/2012 9:27 PM

Bulls' Hamilton remembers season with Collins

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Most everyone remembers Richard Hamilton as a longtime member of the Detroit Pistons.

But Hamilton actually played his first three seasons in Washington, which included one year of being coached by current 76ers boss Doug Collins.

Asked if he has positive memories of being coached by Collins, Hamilton answered with an enthusiastic yes.

"He taught me a lot. Doug was great," Hamilton said. "I think he's great for any young guy. He really showed me how to play and move without the ball."

Collins took the Washington job in 2001, at the same time Michael Jordan launched his forgettable comeback with the Wizards.

"I had Michael the same year, so it was exciting to get two different perspectives of two guys who had been in the league for a long time and knew their stuff," Hamilton said.

The previous year Hamilton played for Jordan's first hand-picked coach, Leonard Hamilton, who was hired from the University of Miami.

"Yeah, that one was different," Rip Hamilton said. "That one was different right there."

Center of improvement:

The Bulls have been asked many times this week if they're a better team heading into the playoffs this year than they were last season, when they lost in the conference finals to Miami.

The answer is inevitably yes, because they've had another year of playing together. By finishing 50-16, the Bulls essentially matched last season's winning percentage.

Derrick Rose is coming back from an ankle injury, but coach Tom Thibodeau singled out another player who has been moving at full speed.

"Joakim (Noah) was a totally different player after being out so long (with a thumb injury). He never could really find his rhythm or his stamina after his injury," Thibodeau said. "We have more scoring this year. Last year we had to rely heavily on Derrick's scoring to give ourselves a good chance to win.

"This year Derrick doesn't have to score like that. We have a number of guys that can score the ball. It's a balanced attack. I think having six guys who can score in double figures helps you a lot."

Bull horns:

The Bulls led the league in points allowed at 88.2 and set a franchise record in the process. It's the fewest points given up in an NBA season since San Antonio and Detroit allowed 84.3 points in 2003-04.

The Bulls won a coin flip against San Antonio to snare the 29th pick in the draft. The Spurs will pick 30th.

The Sixers plan to start 6-foot-9 rookie Lavoy Allen at center in Game 1, according to He has averaged 4.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 41 games this season.

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