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updated: 1/2/2014 11:42 PM

Former Bulls assistant Adams returns to UC

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The Boston Celtics didn't bring many familiar faces to the United Center on Thursday, with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett now in Brooklyn and Rajon Rondo recovering from knee surgery.

The contest did offer a reunion for the Bulls, though. It was the first game back in Chicago for Boston assistant Ron Adams since the Bulls chose not to renew his contract after last season.

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Before the game, first-year Celtics coach Brad Stevens talked about adding Adams to his staff.

"He's been a longtime friend of mine and he's been great," the former Butler coach said. "When I hired him he characterized himself as my editor. I thought that was a good phrase. He talks to me about what will work and won't, to try this or that.

"He's been great to have around. He's one of those guys who's been in coaching a long time and has so many experiences."

Adams spent the past four years on the Bulls' coaching staff and is one of Tom Thibodeau's best friends in coaching. The two first worked together in San Antonio under Jerry Tarkanian in 1992.

The Bulls' decision last summer created some controversy, since Thibodeau did not support the move. Adams also worked for the Bulls during Scott Skiles' coaching tenure.

Whether the Bulls miss Adams this season is difficult to measure in the wake of another Derrick Rose knee injury. Joakim Noah gave Adams a plug when he talked about the surprisingly competitive Celtics at the morning shootaround.

"It just shows what having an edge can do," Noah said. "A lot of guys counted those guys out. They're competitive. They're very well-coached. Shout out to Ron Adams. They have a bunch of hungry players, guys that want to win."

Thibs not ready for school:

Brad Stevens jumped from a successful stint at Butler University to the Celtics. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was asked if he could see himself returning to college. That's a job Thibodeau hasn't held since he was an assistant at Harvard in 1989.

"The college game is a great game, too," Thibodeau said. "A big part of college is obviously the recruiting. You build a network of contacts and coaches over a period of time that you use to get the players you want. I've been out of that so long now. It would be difficult to go back because of not having that contact.

"I love the NBA game because it's all basketball. But the college game is a great game. I've got a lot of real good friends that are college coaches, and they love it."

D-league duo:

Boston just sent guard MarShon Brooks on a D-League assignment to get him more playing time. He was in the starting lineup for the Maine Red Claws on Thursday against Tulsa.

If the Celtics made this move a week earlier, Brooks could have played against Marquis Teague, whose first two games with the Iowa Energy were against Maine. Teague played his third game for Iowa on Thursday at Sioux Falls.

Bull horns:

Kirk Hinrich turned 33 on Thursday. … Sign of the times: The Bulls-Lakers game on Jan. 20 has been dumped by TNT in favor of Portland-Houston. … Celtics guard Rajon Rondo has said he's close to returning from ACL surgery on his right knee. Rondo last played on Jan. 25, 2013, so he's about 11 months into recovery.

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