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NBA Notebook

Associated Press
The NBA notebook …
DEERFIELD, Ill. ó Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose insists the NBA has not informed him he has won the MVP, regardless of what teammate C.J. Watson has said on Twitter.
He said ěno, not yetî Saturday when asked if he had been told he won the award.
Roseís comment came a day Watson caused a stir by posting a congratulatory post on Twitter.
The message read: ěCongrats to drose on winning the MVP heís played unbelievable this season!!! now just need tibs to win coach of the yr.î
Rose is a top MVP candidate after averaging 25 points and 7.7 assists while leading Chicago to a league-best 62-20 record. Tom Thibodeau also is a favorite for Coach of the Year.
Rose made light of Watsonís post, saying ěC.J. knows a lot of people. A lot of famous people, too, so watch that guy.î
BOOZER
DEERFIELD, Ill. ó Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer sat out his second straight practice because of turf toe on his right foot.
Coach Tom Thibodeau said that Boozer was feeling better, but was “not quite ready to go yet.” The Bulls meet Atlanta in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with Game 1 Monday at the United Center.
THUNDER-GRIZ
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) ó The new kids in town are trying to take over the Western Conference.
The Memphis Grizzlies already knocked out the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs and will now face the Oklahoma City Thunder in a series that ensures one of the NBA’s rising young teams will make it to the conference finals.
The Thunder and Grizzlies were the league’s two youngest teams at the start of last season, then improved their win totals more than any other teams. That rapid ascent has carried both into the second round of the playoffs, with Game 1 on Sunday in Oklahoma City.
“We’re both bad teams that have risen up and become good teams,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said Saturday. ” … Our transformations started the same way, and they actually were ahead of us. We’re here, and they’re here.”
But who would have ever believed it just two years ago?
The Thunder started out that season 3-29 and were on pace for the worst season in NBA history before a strong finish left them with 23 wins in their first season after relocating from Seattle to Oklahoma City. Memphis finished that year with 24 wins and started the next one 1-8 during the failed Allen Iverson experiment.
MAVS-LAKERS
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. ó The Los Angeles Lakers will have to pick on somebody their own size to make it to another Western Conference finals.
For all of Kobe Bryant’s brilliance, the Lakers’ back-to-back title runs were built on the defensive dominance and offensive mismatches created by their two 7-footers, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Few teams can match Los Angeles’ sheer size when 6-10 Lamar Odom is in the mix, and even fewer can overcome it in the paint.
But their second-round opponent is the Dallas Mavericks, whose roster is stacked with three talented 7-footers: Tyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood and superstar Dirk Nowitzki. Although the Mavs do different things with their size, Gasol knows the Lakers probably won’t push anybody around in the next two weeks.
Gasol is facing a long series keeping up with Nowitzki ó and hopefully forcing Dirk to keep up with him.

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