Bulls counting on Nazr Mohammed for proven backup in playoffs
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org April 18, 2013 10:42PM
Nazr Mohammed, Carlos Boozer
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Updated: April 19, 2013 7:42PM
The Bulls have their share of players who are battle-tested for postseason play. Then there’s Nazr Mohammed, who can best be described as war-tested.
In 15 NBA seasons, and now entering his ninth playoff run, the 6-10 center has seen it all. He also could be looking at some unforeseen playing time.
With Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson still trying to shake off the rust after extended injuries, Mohammed, 35, has been an insurance policy, putting in almost 25 minutes a night and averaging seven points and 7.4 rebounds in his last 10 games.
‘‘That’s the one plus, I think, from Jo and Taj being out — it got Nazr into rhythm,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. ‘‘He’s done a great job all year, even when he wasn’t playing, the way he handled himself and the way he kept working on his game. Then, when the opportunity presented itself, he was right and ready. He took full advantage of it, and he’s played extremely well.’’
Mohammed gives Thibodeau options, especially in trying to throw different looks at Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez.
‘‘It’s good to know that he’s there,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘Because in the playoffs, a lot of things unfold. You may have injury, you may have foul trouble, whatever you may have.’’
Bill of health
Reserve forward Vladimir Radmanovic (back) and, of course, Derrick Rose (left knee) are the only question marks for the start of the playoffs. Thibodeau admitted this is as healthy as his team has been since November.
‘‘It’s nice,’’ he said. ‘‘I like having the problem of trying to decide on a rotation. You would like to have everyone completely healthy, but I’ll take what we have.’’