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- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau changed his mind and decided not to play Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver for the final regular season game Thursday for maintenance purposes. He previously had said he would put his starters out for the beginning of the game just to give them some time together after a long season of injuries. “”I wanted to see how we were looking,” Thibodeau said about how the team played against Indiana Wednesday. “I felt good about the things that were happening out there. Taking everything into consideration, I think this is the best thing right now.” C. J. Watson will start in place of Rose, and Ronnie Brewer will start in place of Deng. Korver will be out for the first time this season, making Carlos Boozer, Brewer and Omer Asik the only players to appear in every game.
- Cleveland coach Byron Scott decided to give rookie guard Kyrie Irving the night off, although he said Irving has recovered from the gastro-intestinal ailment that caused him to play just under 10 minutes Wednesday in the home finale. “I’m just shutting him down,” Scott said.
- As a result of the coaches’ decisions to rest their star point guards, Irving and Rose will have avoided playing against each other in Irving’s first season in the NBA. Rose missed the first meeting with one of his many injuries, and Irving was ill for the second game. “We have next year,” Scott said. “Both of those guys are really young. They are going to be battling each other for a long time.”
- While Thibodeau is looking ahead to the start of the playoffs Saturday, Scott is planning his end-of-the-season meetings with the players for Friday. He said the 2011-12 campaign was a positive one despite the 21-44 record going into the final game. “To have 21 wins, with the shortened season and looking at the future of the team, I’m happy with the way we competed and I think the future is bright for us,” Scott said.
– Kent McDill