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Bulls host Nets in season finale on CSN

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Bulls host Nets in season finale on CSN

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Posted: 11:12 a.m.

Associated Press

After going 35-5 at the United Center, the Chicago Bulls have proven how dominant they can be at home.

With a chance to finish with the NBA's best record and potentially earn home-court advantage throughout the postseason, the Chicago Bulls play host to the New Jersey Nets in Wednesday night's season finale.

Chicago (61-20) recorded its season high-tying eighth consecutive win by defeating the Knicks 103-90 on Tuesday in New York. Combined with Western Conference-leading San Antonio losing 102-93 to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Bulls and Spurs are tied for the best record in the league.

Since tiebreakers are all even, a random drawing would be held if the Bulls were to finish with an identical record as the Spurs. San Antonio closes its regular season at Phoenix later on Wednesday.

"That's something special. It's definitely something that we want, but we have to look at the bigger picture," Bulls forward Joakim Noah said. "For us it's all about improvement and just focusing on the next opponent and the results will take care of themselves."

Carlos Boozer scored 14 points on 5 of 19 shooting Tuesday, but recorded a season-best 22 rebounds while Luol Deng had 23 points and 10 boards.

After a 39-point effort in Sunday's 102-99 win at Orlando, Derrick Rose scored 26. The MVP favorite is shooting 63.9 percent over his last two games.

"Rose is amazing. His athletic ability is ridiculous. He's come farther, quicker, faster than anyone expected," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He's playing at a level that not many people play."

Chicago, which hasn't won nine straight since March 19-April 2, 2005, came under some scrutiny after coach Tom Thibodeau decided to stick with his regular rotation despite locking up the East's top spot Friday.

That decision may come back to haunt Thibodeau, as reserve swingman Ronnie Brewer left Tuesday with a sprained left thumb. His status is unknown.

The Bulls have limited teams to 89.2 points during a 20-2 stretch. New Jersey is 3-30 when scoring 90 points or less.

The Nets (24-57) suffered their fourth straight loss and 14th in 16 games with a 105-103 defeat to Charlotte on Monday.

Sasha Vujacic, averaging 16.8 points over his last five games, hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 10.9 seconds remaining but D.J. Augustin's jumper with 1.1 seconds to go gave the Bobcats the win.

"We had a great effort, " said Brook Lopez, who scored 31 points. "It's a shame we couldn't get one more here, because the fans showed us a lot of support this season and tonight. I just want to thank them for their support. It hasn't been easy. I thought we played the best we possibly could."

Lopez is averaging 32.4 points - 12.0 above his season mark - on 59.6 percent shooting over his last five games. The 7-footer, though, is averaging just 13.0 points on 27.3 percent shooting in his last two games in Chicago.

The Nets, who are allowing an average of 108.1 points on 51.8 percent shooting during a 1-10 stretch, have been outscored by an average of 10.7 points during a six-game road losing streak.

New Jersey has been outscored by 13.6 points per game during its last seven trips to Chicago, losing six.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Zach LaVine gets no respect

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NBC Sports Chicago

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Zach LaVine gets no respect

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, Dave Watson, and John Sabine react to the week in the NBA and ‘list’ season.

1:45 - On Sports Illustrated top 100 NBA players list and the Bulls players, LaVine disrespect

13:10 - Which recent draft class would have the best starting five?

22:30 - Would Iman Shumpert be a good fit for the Bulls?

32:55 - Matt Peck goes on a rant that involves Wade+Melo

34:45 - Dave gives his top 5 PG’s of all-time

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

NBA G League to introduce new, $100K prize tournament

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USA TODAY

NBA G League to introduce new, $100K prize tournament

The NBA G League is introducing a new tournament format for their premier showcase games, starting in the 2019-20 season. 

The 2019 NBA G League Winter Showcase will take place December 19-22 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and it will feature all 28 teams in the league, with the winning squad taking home a $100,000 prize. 

Under the re-brand, the NBA G League Winter Showcase will see the teams seeded No. 1 through 28, with the top four seeds receiving a bye and advancing straight to the Championship Bracket. The remaining 24 teams will get placed into six separate four-team brackets. All games played at the Winter Showcase will count against G League regular-season records.

For a league full of players fighting for NBA attention and ultimately, (NBA) dollars, the $100,000 prize is sure to add a decent amount of motivation. Last season more than 60 players received Gatorade call-ups (to the NBA) during or right after the showcase games. 

The Bulls know quite a bit about the talent that can be found at the NBA G League Winter Showcase.

Last season the Bulls signed guard Brandon Sampson to a Two-Way contract following a breakout performance at the 2018 G League Showcase for the Rio Grande Vipers.

Sampson averaged 17.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.0 assists through 18 G League games for the Vipers before signing his Two-Way deal with the Bulls and gaining 214 minutes of NBA experience over 14 games. 

The new tournament format for the Winter Showcase will make for an exciting spectacle to for hardcore basketball fans and will add a great layer of intrigue to what is already the best in-season scouting event for NBA scouts interested in the G League.