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Bulls notebook: At 36, Celtics standout Kevin Garnett still can get it done

Bulls center Nazr Mohammed Bostcenter KevGarnett watch as loose ball goes out bounds second quarter Chicago Bulls-BostCeltics NBA game Monday

Bulls center Nazr Mohammed and Boston center Kevin Garnett watch as a loose ball goes out of bounds in the second quarter of the Chicago Bulls-Boston Celtics NBA game Monday November 12, 2012 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 14, 2012 6:27AM



Once the youngest player in the NBA, former Farragut star Kevin Garnett was the oldest player on the court Monday night. And still a big factor.

In his 17th NBA season, the 36-year-old Garnett came to his former hometown averaging 16.0 points and 8.7 rebounds in a 30.5 minutes a game for the Celtics. He had scored 15 or more points in each game and had nine in the first half against the Bulls. When he went straight from Farragut to the NBA in 1995, Bulls rookie guard Marquis Teague was 2.

‘‘He can dominate a game with his defense, the pass and the shot,’’ said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who coached Garnett as an assistant to Doc Rivers when Boston won the NBA title in 2007-08. ‘‘[And] especially his intensity. He does all the things that unite and inspire a team. He’s a great leader for them. What you see in a game is what you see in practice. You get that every day.’’

In his prime, Garnett was an NBA Most Valuable Player in 2003-04. At 36, he’s the Celtics MVP.

‘‘When he’s not on the floor, we’re struggling,’’ Rivers said. ‘‘To be where we want to be we’re going to have to improve in that area [playing without Garnett], because he’s not going to play every minute. He’s never going to play more than 30. And there will be nights when he doesn’t play at all.’’

Another step for Rose

No step in Derrick Rose’s comeback is a small one. Thibodeau reported Monday that Rose has started cutting in workouts to rehabilitate his injured knee.

‘‘It’s the next step,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘Everything is going ­according to plan. He’s been very diligent. He’s in every day. Started cutting. He’s been ­shooting for awhile. He feels pretty good. He’s doing great. We just have to be patient.’’

Traveling call

Thibodeau said Rose likely will make only one stop on the upcoming circus trip — to Los Angeles, where Rose has a home.

While Thibodeau likes having Rose as close to the team as possible, he doesn’t want him hopscotching from city to city on the rigorous trip to Phoenix, Los Angeles (the Clippers), Portland and Houston.

‘‘I like him being in one place,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘For him the rehab has to be the priority, so that’s what I want him to focus on. It’s a long trip and we’re going to be jumping around. He’ll be on the trip for part of it. He’ll meet us out in L.A.’’

They like Mike

Rivers’ comment on the Lakers’ hiring of Mike D’Antoni to replace Mike Brown: ‘‘Interesting,’’ he said. ‘‘Mike’s a heckuva coach. I’m amused by all of this [opinion] that all of the sudden Mike D’Antoni’s not a good coach. He’s a terrific coach.

‘‘But other than that, I don’t have a lot to say about it. We don’t want them to do too well. We all know that.’’

Said Thibodeau: ‘‘I hated to see Mike Brown go, but Mike D’Antoni is a terrific coach. He’s got a great track record. I’m sure he’ll do well.’’



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