Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who led his team to the best regular-season record in the NBA, was named the NBA's coach of the year on Sunday.
In his first season as a head coach after 21 years as an assistant, Thibodeau led the Bulls to a 62-20 record by establishing a defensive mindset.
Thibodeau received 76 of 119 first-place votes and 475 points overall. Philadelphia's Doug Collins second with 210 points.
Thibodeau is the Bulls' first Coach of the Year winner since Phil Jackson won it in the 1995-96 season. Thibodeau tied Paul Westphal's NBA record for most victories by a first-year head cach.
Thibodeau, 53, replaced Vinny Del Negro in June, and with a rebuilt roster, the Bulls produced their best regular-season record since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen won the NBA championship in the 1997-98 season.
Thibodeau's only other head coaching job was for one season at his alma mater, Division III Salem State, in the mid-1980s. He got that job after three years as an assistant.
BULLS 116, PACERS 89: The Bulls had trouble pulling away from Indiana during the first four games of their playoff series, then finally found the gas pedal on Tuesday. Guard Derrick Rose shook off a sprained left ankle and led the Bulls to a convincing 116-89 victory in Game 5 at the United Center. The Bulls won the first-round series 4-1 and will take on the Orlando-Atlanta winner. Rose finished with 25 points and forward Luol Deng added 24. Less than three minutes into Game 5, the Bulls opened their first double-digit lead of the entire series. The Pacers closed to within 61-57 midway through the third quarter, before Rose knocked down three straight three-pointers to spark a 23-8 run. The home team led by 19 heading into the fourth and coasted from there. The Bulls set a franchise record with 14 baskets from three-point range. Forward Danny Granger led Indiana with 20 points.
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