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Improved Taj Gibson key for Bulls

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DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Taj Gibson flashed back to the grueling workouts in the searing Southern California heat last summer.

There he was with Derrick Rose, running and jumping and trying to take his game to another level for the Chicago Bulls while their superstar point guard worked his way back from a left knee injury.

While Rose’s comeback screeched to halt in November, Gibson’s ascent continued.

He played a big role off the bench while assuming more responsibilities on a team that again lost its cornerstone and traded away another top player in Luol Deng. Gibson averaged 13 points and emerged as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate for a 48-win team with home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs against Washington.


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