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posted: 11/18/2013 10:44 PM

Rose's 3-pointers just part of Bulls' plan

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Derrick Rose's 3-point barrage against Indiana on Saturday was something the Bulls visualized more than a year ago. Rose's streak began while he played off the ball and Kirk Hinrich handled the point.

The idea, hatched during the summer of 2012, was to play Rose at shooting guard sometimes to ease the strain of his comeback from knee surgery.

"That's why we really went after Kirk hard because it was not only with the idea of starting last year at the point," Thibodeau said Monday. "We actually thought Derrick was coming back at the end of last year. But part of (signing Hinrich) was the fact that they can play so well together. We already knew that because it had been done before."

Thibodeau was asked if Rose's sore hamstring might have been a reason for the 11 attempts from 3-point range against the Pacers.

"The defense is going to tell him what's there," Thibodeau said. "So if they're going under (screens) or they're sagging and he's open and it's off good movement and he has rhythm, then that's a good shot.

"In the Cleveland game (last Monday), I thought in the third quarter he got into a nice rhythm. I felt in that game he was close to breaking through."

Bobcats coach credits Thibs:

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford considers Tom Thibodeau a mentor. The two coaches had similar experiences, playing and coaching at small colleges before breaking into the NBA.

Clifford played college basketball at Maine-Farmington, while Thibodeau toiled for Salem (Mass.) State. Clifford joined the Knicks as an advance scout in 2000, while Thibodeau was an assistant under Jeff Van Gundy. The two later worked together with Van Gundy in Houston.

"On a personal note, he's one of my closest friends, and then on a professional note, he's very much a mentor to me," Clifford said before the game. "When I joined the Knicks 14 years ago, for whatever reason, he decided to take me under his wing, teach me a lot. Not just X's and O's, but how to talk to the players, how the players think, and he still helps me to this day."

Yao, Ewing stop by:

There was a strong collection of big men Monday at the United Center. Yao Ming watched the second half from a suite, and Patrick Ewing sat on the bench as a Charlotte assistant coach.

When Yao played for the Houston Rockets, Ewing, Tom Thibodeau and Steve Clifford were on Jeff Van Gundy's coaching staff.

Earlier in the day, Ewing was asked about getting a chance to be an NBA head coach.

"We'll see, only time will tell," he told reporters. "Thibs waited 20 something years. I'm not waiting that long."

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