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updated: 5/1/2012 9:59 PM

Thibodeau has nothing but praise for Popovich

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  • Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau tries to motivate his team during their 109-92 loss to the 76ers during Game 2.

       Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau tries to motivate his team during their 109-92 loss to the 76ers during Game 2.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 

Here's a stunning revelation: Tom Thibodeau expressed no disappointment at finishing second in voting for NBA coach of the year to San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.

Thibodeau could have become the first person to win that award two years in a row, but Popovich delivered a convincing win. He garnered 77 first-place votes, compared to 27 for Thibodeau. Indiana's Frank Vogel took third.

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Asked about finishing in second place before Tuesday's game, Thibodeau didn't have much to say, but he did have plenty of praise for Popovich.

"I don't pay any attention to that stuff. I just worry about coaching our team," he said. "He (Popovich) did a great job and he deserves it. The thing about Pop is he's a great example for our profession. I'm happy for him that he's had a great season.

"The thing I really admire about him is I had an opportunity to meet him 20 years ago and he's the same guy today that he was then. So all the success, the championships -- he has not changed one bit. Great humility, great coach, great executive. I'm happy for him."

Collins about top coach:

A few days ago, Philadelphia coach Doug Collins endorsed Tom Thibodeau as NBA coach of the year, but he was willing to spread the love on Tuesday -- including plenty for the Spurs' Gregg Popovich, who won for the second time in his career.

"You can vote for four or five guys," Collins said. "I'd vote for Pop, I'd vote for Thibs and I thought Alvin Gentry did a great job in Phoenix. There are a lot of guys who do a good job. They do a darn good job. I have so much respect for these guys in the league. Thibs was coach of the year last year, could have won it this year."

Collins defends Thibs:

Sixers coach Doug Collins stepped up in Tom Thibodeau's defense Tuesday. While many have argued that Derrick Rose shouldn't have been on the floor when he tore the ACL in his left knee with 1:15 left in Saturday's Game 1, Collins offered a historic example.

He pointed to a game in 2004 when Houston's Tracy McGrady scored 13 points in the final 35 seconds to pull out a 1-point win over the Spurs. Thibodeau was an assistant to Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy at the time.

"We have long memories as coaches. When you have games like that, you never forget them," Collins said. "I err on the side, sometimes, of keeping guys in the game too long, because I know if you ever take a guy out of the game with a big lead and it slips away, you can't bring them back. Because they shut it down once they go out. It's human nature for a pro athlete. That's what they do."

Lucas listens to Rose:

Bulls guard John Lucas on what injured teammate Derrick Rose has told the team.

"Derrick reached out to everybody," Lucas said at Tuesday's shootaround. "Said let's get it going, let's bring that ring back to Chicago and we'll go from there. He's our captain and that has not changed. He's always with me, talking to me (about) what I need to do better, what I can do better. When you have a leader like that who gets everybody motivated, it's always a plus."

Bull horns:

The Bulls are 30-2 in playoff series when have homecourt advantage, and 31-4 when they win Game 1. Most of the failures have come in recent years, though. They lost with home court last year against Miami and in 2005 against Washington. ... Philadelphia's Jrue Holiday (26 points), Lou Williams (20) and Evan Turner (19) all recorded career playoff highs in Game 2.

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