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Doug Collins joins the praise-Rose parade

Count 76ers coach Doug Collins among the NBA players and coaches around the league dazzled by the growth of Derrick Rose.

“He’s amazing,’’ the former Bulls coach said Monday. “He’s improved his outside shooting, so if you try to go underneath all those screens, he’ll pull up and hit threes. And you can’t keep him out of the paint. He has a rare combination of speed and strength. And when he gets to the line, he makes his free throws.’’

Collins also is a big fan of the off-the-court Rose.

“The neatest thing about him is, as great a player as he his, he’s a better kid,’’ Collins said. “With that kind of humility, in this city, these fans are so blessed to have a guy like that they can cheer for. Hopefully, he’s going to stay healthy and have a long career here. He’s a brilliant player.’’

The Heat’s on

While the attention has been on the race between the Bulls and Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, a lurking Miami might be the bigger threat. The Heat, 8-2 in its last 10 games, plays seven of its last nine against teams with records below .500. The Celtics, meanwhile are just 4-6, and have five opponents left who are above .500, including trips to Chicago and Miami.

Considering that they still are two games ahead of Miami and Boston after losing to the 76ers on Monday, the Bulls, who have won eight of their last 10, appear to have the edge. They also have only two games left against teams over .500.

In addition, the Heat plays six of its last nine on the road. The Bulls have five road games left in their final nine.

Fans may be looking ahead, but not the Bulls.

“We’re just trying to win out,’’ Rose said. “If we get to the No. 1 spot, fine. If not, we’ll still be thankful we’re in the playoffs.’’

Toros? Si

It was Latin Night at the United Center, part of the NBA’s none-too-subtle effort to woo Hispanic fans.

Mariachis performed the national anthem, players were introduced in Spanish, and Hispanic entertainment was abundant.

The Bulls also wore the Los Bulls jerseys.

Shouldn’t it be Toros instead of Bulls?

“Good call,’’ Joakim Noah said. “I’d like that.’’



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