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Rose pushes Bulls one step closer

CHICAGO — Derrick Rose had 33 points, Luol Deng added 23 and the Bulls beat the Hawks 95-83 on Tuesday in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to take a 3-2 series lead.

Taj Gibson had 11 points, all in the fourth quarter. Rose also scored 11 in the fourth, when Chicago outscored Atlanta 26-15.

"Taj, man, he just doesn't know how good he is right now," Rose said. "Still young, still trying to learn the game, but he came in and did what he's supposed to do."

Chicago is one win from its first conference final since 1998, the year Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen wrapped up their second title three-peat.

Rose, the league's youngest MVP, hit 11 of 24 shots and had nine assists. In Game 4, he needed 32 shots to score 34.

That offset another strong night by Atlanta's Jeff Teague. Filling in for injured Kirk Hinrich, Teague delivered his third 21-point game of the series.

The Bulls led by 15 in the first quarter but trailed 70-69 early in the fourth before going on a 9-0 run. Rose started it when he drove to his left for a layup, fed Gibson a no-look pass in transition for a three-point play and added a layup to make it 78-70.

"We've prepared ourselves all season for moments like this," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "The playoffs are like this. They're hard-fought, a grind. You have to overcome things."

Bulls 95, Hawks 83

ATLANTA (83): Smith 6-14 4-4 16, Horford 6-13 0-0 12, Collins 0-0 0-0 0, Teague 8-11 5-7 21, Johnson 6-15 2-2 15, Crawford 1-9 0-0 2, Pachulia 5-6 3-4 13, Williams 1-2 0-0 2, Wilkins 0-0 0-0 0, Armstrong 0-0 0-0 0, Powell 1-1 0-0 2, Sy 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 34-71 14-17 83.

CHICAGO (95): Deng 8-18 7-7 23, Boozer 4-11 3-3 11, Noah 0-2 0-0 0, Rose 11-24 10-13 33, Bogans 4-7 0-0 11, Asik 0-0 0-2 0, Watson 1-2 0-0 2, Gibson 5-5 1-3 11, Korver 0-0 0-0 0, Brewer 2-3 0-0 4, Butler 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-72 21-28 95.

Atlanta 21 21 26 15— 83

Chicago 32 16 21 26— 95

3-Point GoalsAtlanta 1-12 (Johnson 1-5, Teague 0-1, Smith 0-2, Crawford 0-4), Chicago 4-14 (Bogans 3-5, Rose 1-5, Deng 0-4). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsAtlanta 39 (Horford 10), Chicago 45 (Boozer 12). AssistsAtlanta 20 (Teague 7), Chicago 21 (Rose 9). Total FoulsAtlanta 21, Chicago 16. TechnicalsSmith, Atlanta defensive three second, Boozer, Chicago defensive three second. A22,980 (20,917).

Thunder ties series in triple OT marathon

OKLAHOMA CITY — Less than 14 hours after a marathon in Memphis, the Thunder and Grizzlies tried to mix in some rest with a bit of working out.

The Thunder trailed Game 4 by 18 in the first half Monday night before rallying to take a 10-point lead in the fourth. But Memphis tied it on a late 3-pointer by Mike Conley.

Oklahoma City had chances to win in the final seconds of regulation, the first overtime and the second overtime before Kevin Durant finally took over to help tie the series at 2.

"It was a great win for us," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Tuesday. " … It was a crazy environment."

Durant had six of his 35 points in the third overtime, and the Thunder scored the final 10 points. Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook scored 40. Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph scored 34.

BYNUM SORRY, SUSPENDED: Lakers center Andrew Bynum expressed remorse for his flagrant foul on Mavericks guard J.J. Barea during Sunday's Game 4, which finished Dallas' sweep of Los Angeles. Bynum will be suspended for five games next season. The league also fined him $25,000 for ripping off his jersey while heading to the locker room, so the suspension will cost more than $700,000. Bynum said, "I want to actually apologize to J.J. Barea for doing that. … All I can say is, I've looked at (a replay), it's terrible, and it definitely won't be happening again."

EXECUTIVE HONOR: Heat president Pat Riley and Bulls general manager Gar Forman shared the league's executive of the year award. Each received 11 votes; one executive from each of the 30 teams voted.

PACERS: Larry Bird is staying as team president after meeting with owner Herb Simon in Los Angeles. Bird was in the final year of his contract.

WARRIORS: The team plans to interview former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown and Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey for its coaching job, and the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times reported. The post might not be filled before the draft, June 23.

Triple play

Oklahoma City's win over Memphis on Monday was the sixth NBA playoff game to go triple overtime:

Year Round Teams Winner

2011 Conference semifinals Thunder at Grizzlies Thunder

2009 First round Celtics at Bulls Bulls*

2004 Conference semifinals Nets at Pistons Nets*

1993 Finals Suns at Bulls Suns*

1976 Finals Suns at Celtics Celtics

1953 Division semifinals Nationals at CelticsCeltics (4OT)

* Team lost series

Source: ESPN

Rose pushes Bulls one step closer 05/10/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 12:19am]
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