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Celts’ Rivers lauds Thibodeau, Collins

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

LOS ANGELES — Celtics coach Doc Rivers is happy for his former assistant Tom Thibodeau and the turnaround he has engineered in Chicago. But another coach with Bulls ties would get Rivers’ vote if coach-of-the-year balloting was held today.

‘‘Thibodeau has been phenomenal,’’ Rivers said. ‘‘He’s done a wonderful job. When you think of coaches of the year, he’s one of them. I’d vote for Doug Collins as my No. 1 guy, but Thibs would be right there, too.’’

At 38-16, the Bulls are three wins short of their regular-season total for last season, when they went 41-41. Under Collins, who coached the Bulls before the Phil Jackson championship era, the 76ers are 27-29 and have equaled their win total of last season.

Front Rose

Rivers is on the Derrick Rose bandwagon.

‘‘I’d vote for Derrick for MVP,’’ he said. ‘‘He single-handedly has put that team on his back at times. When you look at the injuries and the comebacks they’ve had, what he’s done has been remarkable.’’

No fun

If it happens, it happens. But Rivers said he would not look forward to squaring off with Thibodeau in a Celtics-Bulls playoff series.

‘‘It would be no fun,’’ Rivers said, ‘‘because Thibs and I are so close.

‘‘But you’re gonna have to go through somebody. It may happen, but that would be no fun.’’

Another Guinness

After practice Saturday, Celtics sharpshooters Ray Allen and Paul Pierce set a Guinness world record by combining for 13 three-pointers in one minute.

It was the first official attempt for most threes by two shooters in one minute. About 60 seconds later, Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki eclipsed the Allen-Pierce record, making 15 threes.

‘‘I own the world record for the shortest time owning a world record,’’ Allen said.

Bieber watch

Asked about pop star Justin Bieber playing in the Celebrity All-Star Game, Spurs/West All-Stars coach Gregg Popovich readily admitted where he stands on the teen music sensation.

‘‘It would be disingenuous of me if I told you how excited I was to see Justin,’’ Popovich said.

Bieber showed a lot of game as a playmaker and shooter, though. He was the MVP of the celebrity contest.

Stern warning

After saying, ‘‘It’s time to start negotiating and get rid of that rhetoric,’’ NBA commissioner David Stern said there are some encouraging signs — but also serious hurdles to clear — as the June 30 expiration of the collective-bargaining agreement approaches.

‘‘There’s no disagreement about the numbers,’’ Stern said, referring to financial data showing the owners are losing money. ‘‘We need a different kind of model. If we thought we didn’t, we would have extended the collective- bargaining agreement by a year, which was our right. So, at this point, the owners know what their numbers are and what they need to do, and I think the players are beginning to understand it.’’

At the 2010 All-Star Game, Stern estimated the league was headed for $400 million in losses during the 2009-10 season. But union officials have expressed skepticism at the amount of the losses.

‘‘I don’t want to force Billy [ Hunter, the players union chief] to disagree with me publicly,’’ Stern said. ‘‘But I would say to you that there’s no disagreement about the numbers. There’s disagreement about certain components of the numbers, whether they should be included or not. The union’s position was, ‘Let’s not argue about the numbers. Let’s just go and negotiate about the outcome.’ ’’

While saying, ‘‘We have a huge gap,’’ Stern gave another reason for optimism: ‘‘What gives me hope is that a lockout would have huge negative consequences for everybody. We understand what’s at stake. We both have the capacity to shut down the league.’’

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