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Suns coach Gentry likes Bulls’ chances

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



CHICAGO — Even though Derrick Rose will be in new territory if the Bulls make a deep playoff run, Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry said there’s a lot to like about the team’s prospects.

‘‘With (Carlos) Boozer and (Joakim) Noah healthy, they have as good a chance as anybody to win the East,’’ Gentry said. ‘‘They’ve got everything they need. They’ve got all the tools they need to be a tough out and go deep-deep in the playoffs.

‘‘The inexperience Rose has, I don’t think it really matters. In theory, that sounds good. In actuality, the guy is as good as anybody playing. He’s the runaway MVP in the league. Right now, he’s the best player in the league. I don’t mind saying I’m voting for him.’’

Nash rambler: Rose was pleased that veteran point guard Steve Nash, 37, played after missing the Suns’ previous two games because of the flu.

‘‘When you play against guards like that, they always make you better,’’ Rose said. ‘‘You learn something every game. He’s not fast, but he’s quick. He plays every angle on the floor.’’

Gentry was pleased that Nash was so determined to rejoin the Suns, who are just playing out the string.

‘‘He wanted to fly here and play; he got here late (Monday) night,’’ Gentry said. ‘‘That speaks volumes about what he’s all about. We’re not a playoff team. A lot of guys in our situation, it would be easy to milk an injury and let that be it. He’d never do that in a million years.’’

Up the Hill: Like Nash, 38-year-old forward Grant Hill is playing at an age when most NBA players have retired. Also like Nash, he still is playing well.

‘‘I’ve had him for nine years,’’ Gentry said. ‘‘He’s a much better defender than he was when he was one of the best athletes in the league, when we were in Detroit. He’s much smarter, much more effective.’’

Against the Bulls, Gentry put Hill on Rose.

‘‘If I was him,’’ Gentry said, ‘‘I’d look at me and say, ‘It ain’t happening.’ But when I tell Grant I don’t want him playing a lot of minutes, he goes, ‘Why?’ Those are the kind of guys you’re dealing with.’’



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