Bulls

Rose won't change style of play vs. Howard, Magic

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Rose won't change style of play vs. Howard, Magic

ORLANDO, FLA. He knows the track record and a bruised left elbow doesnt help matters, but dont expect Derrick Rose to do anything different when he drives to the hole and faces imposing Magic center Dwight Howard on Friday night.

Im still going to attack, go to the hole, Rose said after the Bulls morning shootaround. Theres no change.

Rose has been taken down by the All-Star big man and three-time reigning league Defensive Player of the Year twice in the past -- and subsequently was forced to miss time due to injuries suffered on the mid-air collisions -- but although he has no plans to alter his game, he is aware of Howards presence.

Im a drive-first guy, but when you play him, youve definitely got to know that hes going to contest everything, he said.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau preferred to focus on how his team would guard Howard.

He commands so much attention and he plays so unselfishly that thats really what opens up their three-point game. Hes very difficult to guard. You cant guard him one-on-one, said the coach. You need your team help and you have to make multiple effort against him, but you have to be able to get out and challenge their threes.

Thibodeau is also wary of the Magics dangerous supporting cast.

Theyve got a lot of weapons, said Thibodeau, who cited sharpshooting forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson, as well as shooting guards Jason Richardson and J.J. Redick as players the Bulls would have to focus on. Theyre a deep team and theyre a good team. Theyre a well-balanced team, they play great defense, they share the ball offensively, so its going to be a tough matchup for us.

Roses point-guard counterpart, Jameer Nelson, is another Orlando player Thibodeau considers underrated.

Hes a fierce competitor and all the guy has done is win his whole life, he lauded. He can shoot the ball, he makes unselfish plays, hes tough, can create havoc getting into the paint.

Thibodeau is familiar with one of the Magics offseason acquisitions, power forward Glen Davis. Thibodeau coached Davis, who has gotten off to an uneven start with his new team, with the Celtics.

I think hes fine. Hell figure it out. Hes a really good player. Hes a great defensive player, both individually and as a team defender. He can hit spot-up shots, post up some, he said. He gives them a different look. You have Howard and Davis up front, a very physical presence.

Although Rip Hamilton is still getting comfortable with his new squad, the Bulls shooting guard is well aware of what Orlando brings to the table, having battled the Magic for several seasons as a member of the Pistons.

Ive been playing against them for years, said Hamilton, who is a game-time decision because of a groin injury. Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy has done a great job with them, Dwight has been awesome every year.

Following the Bulls shootaround, Thibodeau chatted with Van Gundys brother Jeff, his former boss with both the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets.

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

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AP

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

The Bulls couldn't have known it at the time, but when LeBron James blocked a Derrick Rose 3-point attempt in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, it was the closest those Bulls would ever get to the promised land.

It happened on May 26, 2011, seven long, long, long years ago today.

The game was an ugly one and certainly a fourth quarter the Bulls would love to have back. They took a 12-point lead on a Ronnie Brewer 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining. The Heat closed the game on a 19-4 run, with James' emphatic block on Rose the lasting image of the series.

James finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, and added six assists, three steals and two blocks in 46 minutes.

Rose went just 9-for-29, finishing the series shooting 35 percent from the field after being named league MVP over James.

It's probably unfair to say James and James alone shut the Bulls' championship window. Rose's ACL tear the following postseason realistically was the biggest culprit. But these Bulls had won 62 games, had homecourt advantage, had the MVP, the Coach of the Year and all the momentum. And still they couldn't get it done against James.

That win also sent James to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. He's been there every year since, though that could change as he faces the Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.