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Thibodeau finishes third in Coach of the Year balloting

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In what had to be a difficult process in picking one deserving candidate out of a handful of them, San Antonio Spurs’ coach Greg Poppovich was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year on Tuesday, becoming the third three-time winner of the award in league history.

Poppovich helped guide the Spurs to a league-best 62-20 regular season record, making it the 15th consecutive season the Spurs have reached or exceeded the 50-win mark under Poppovich. He received 59 first place votes and 380 points in balloting among sportswriters and broadcasters.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau finished third in balloting, garnering 12 first-place votes and 159 points. Phoenix Suns’ Jeff Hornacek was second with 37 first-place votes and 339 points.

Charlotte Bobcats’ coach Steve Clifford (127 points) and Toronto Raptors Dwane Casey (70) completed the top five.

Thibodeau helped lead the Bulls to 48-34 record during the regular season, which some consider more remarkable than the 62-20 record the Bulls achieved in his first season (2010-11) because of the loss of Derrick Rose just 10 games into the season and the trade of Luol Deng in early January when the team’s record stood at 14-18.

Thibodeau won the award during his first year as head coach and finished second to Poppovich during the 2011-12 season. He finished eighth in voting during the 2012-13 season in which George Karl won.

The Bulls have won no fewer than 45 games during the regular season under Thibodeau’s and their average of 51 wins in that time is fourth to San Antonio (57), Miami (56) and Oklahoma City (55).

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