Tom Thibodeau and Doc Rivers traditionally have dinner together — schedule allowing — on the eve before their teams meet.
Dinner is usually on Rivers.
That had better change, especially after Rivers said all the things Thibodeau has wanted to say about his coaching situation.
Rivers addressed the rumors that Thibodeau and the Bulls’ front office were headed down a slippery slope that eventually could lead to Thibodeau getting out of his contract to go elsewhere.
“I think it’d be nuts not to have him here,’’ Rivers said Friday. “I think he’s one of the best coaches in this league. So if you have that, that’s an asset. I don’t think any right-minded organization would allow that asset to leave. Because with all this adversity they’ve had with injuries, if you allow that one to leave, things will fall apart. That would be pretty much a guarantee.’’
Thibodeau thanked Rivers but also dismissed his rumored departure.
Behind closed doors, however, Thibodeau undoubtedly loves it. Rivers’ comments not only put him in the elite coaching class, but they send a message to Bulls management that maybe it had better tread lightly.
Next dinner on Thibodeau.
Player of the week
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder small forward: LeBron James is still the standard when it comes to MVP talk, but Durant has done more than just throw his name in the hat, averaging 37.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists in his last 10 games. He is carrying the Thunder.
Team of the week
Brooklyn Nets: Look who finally woke up. Winning eight of their last nine entering this weekend, including victories against the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors, the Nets are finally living up to all the preseason hype.
The big five
1. Heat, 2. Indiana Pacers, 3. Thunder, 4. San Antonio Spurs, 5. Portland Trail Blazers.
Awful for Andrew
The three teams bad enough to start tanking in hopes of drafting Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins: 1. Milwaukee Bucks, 2. Orlando Magic, 3. Utah Jazz.
33.9 The scoring average for Kevin Durant in the 17 games missed by Russell Westbrook. Durant has four 40-plus games in January entering the weekend.
Two to watch
Spurs at Heat, noon Sunday: The Spurs had their hearts broken in the NBA Finals by the Heat last season. Maybe this is a preview of the rematch.
Thunder at Heat, 6 p.m. Wednesday: Durant has been a one-man show the last few weeks, but the leading candidate for MVP is about to meet the four-time MVP.