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updated: 12/18/2012 11:08 PM

Ex-Bull Scalabrine has high praise for Rose

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Tuesday night's game against Boston featured the United Center return of Brian Scalabrine, now a member of the Celtics broadcast crew.

Of course, Scalabrine wasn't about to let his Chicago popularity wane. He went on ESPN Radio's "Waddle and Silvy Show" to pump up the return of Derrick Rose.

"Last four minutes of a game I would take Derrick Rose, fresh, healthy, over any other player in the NBA," said Scalabrine, who spent the past two seasons with the Bulls.

"I believe Derrick Rose, fresh, at the end of the game LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, I would take at the end of the game Derrick Rose over those guys. Last four minutes of a game, I would."

Scalabrine did admit James would be the better choice to start a franchise, considering his size, strength and history of good health.

Family affair for Rivers:

Boston coach Doc Rivers, a Maywood native, is having a unique experience this season with this son Austin playing for the New Orleans Hornets.

"We connect as parent and child more than coach and whatever," Rivers said before Tuesday's game. "He's been up and down. He's really playing well now. Struggled there for a while. The basketball part, I don't talk to him a lot about, I really don't. I kind of let (Hornets coach) Monty (Williams) do that.

"I just want to make sure he's cleaning the apartment and all the stuff a parent would do. My wife goes up to see him a lot. We talk a lot. It's more text back and forth. I think he appreciates our league a little bit more, for sure."

Doc likes defense:

Doc Rivers also took some time to compliment the job performance of his former assistant, Tom Thibodeau. Heading into Tuesday's action, the Bulls had allowed an average of 87 points in the previous 12 games.

"I know early into the season Thibs was frustrated with their ability to defend, but now I think they're terrific," Rivers told reporters at the team's shootaround. "They're back to what they were.

"You take Paul (Pierce) away from our team and our ability to score goes away a little bit. And the way you'd have to stay in the games would be with your defense. That's what they're doing.

"They've won a lot of games where they've hung around and won them at the end because that's who they have to be right now."

Bull horns:

Heading into Tuesday's action, Boston's Rajon Rondo led the league in assists at 12.7, with the Clippers' Chris Paul second a 9.2. That's on pace to be the largest gap between first and second since 1978-79, when Kevin Porter led John Lucas II by 4.1 assists. The Bulls scored more points in the first half against Boston (55) than they had at the end of three quarters Monday in Memphis (53).

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