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NBA Notebook: Karl named Coach of the Year; Bulls still hurting

The SportsXchange

George Karl was recognized Wednesday for leading the Denver Nuggets to their most successful regular season in franchise history with the NBA Coach of the Year award.

He received 62 first-place votes and 404 points in balloting by 121 sportswriters and broadcasters in the United States and Canada.

Miami's Eric Spoelstra finished second. He was followed by New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson, San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Indiana's Frank Vogel.

The coach of the year award is Karl's first in 25 NBA seasons. The only other Nuggets coach to receive the honor is Doug Moe.

Karl, who left the sideline several years ago to battle cancer, guided the Nuggets to a team-record 57 victories and the No. 3 playoff seed in the Western Conference as Denver reached the postseason for the 10th consecutive year.

Karl's personal milestones included his 1,100th win as an NBA coach and passing Larry Brown for sixth place on the league's career victories list. He was named Western Conference coach of the month twice, in January and March.

Since he took over as Nuggets coach in January 2005, Karl has a 423-257 record (.622), trailing only Moe (432) for most wins in franchise history. His overall record with the Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers is 1,131-756.

Karl has a streak of 21 seasons with a team finishing .500 or above during the regular season, matching Phil Jackson for the longest run in NBA history.

Karl will receive the Red Auerbach Trophy, named for the legendary Hall of fAme and Boston Celtics coach.

--The injury-ravaged Chicago Bulls ruled out forward Luol Deng for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference playoff series with the Miami Heat on Wednesday night and listed guard Kirk Hinrick as doubtful.

Deng is still not with the team. He remains in Chicago while recovering from an illness that sent him to the hospital last week for a spinal tap. Hinrich continued to be slowed by a calf injury.

Bulls coach Tom Thiboodeau is uncertain when Deng will return. But there were reports that Deng's condition is improving and he could be day to day with the possibility of being ready for Game 3 in Chicago.

With Deng out, the Bulls will continue to rely on Jimmy Butler for big minutes at small forward.

Hinrich has not played since Chicago's triple-overtime win in Game 4 of the first-round series with the Brooklyn Nets. Thibodeau said Hinrich's condition is improving and he remains day to day.

In Hinrich's absence, Nate Robinson has stepped up to fill the point guard duties and Marco Belinell has seen increased playing time at shooting guard. There were reports that Miami's LeBron James might guard the 5-foot-9 Robinson on Wednesday night.
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