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posted: 4/29/2012 8:53 PM

Sorry, Bulls, but long playoff run not likely

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A lyric came to mind while walking toward the Berto Center on Sunday afternoon.

"My house is dark and my thoughts are cold," Santana sang.

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Welcome to the day after the day before.

The Bulls scheduled practice for 1 p.m., and the media workroom was crowded even before the first basketball was dribbled.

Inquiring minds wanted to find out what the Bulls' mood was less than 24 hours after a torn ACL ended Derrick Rose's playoffs.

What we saw and heard from the Bulls were weak smiles and defiant rhetoric. It was difficult to tell whether they were trying to convince us they were all right or convince themselves.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau uttered his customary, "We have enough to win."

Center Joakim Noah said, "The motto of our team is 'no excuses.' We're not going to make excuses now."

General manager Gar Forman said, "I feel pretty strongly our team can come out and compete at a high level."

Which reminds me of another lyric: James Taylor's, "Love is just a word I've heard when things are being said."

The Bulls' rational has been heard before when things were being said during desperate times.

The nature of world-class athletes is to refuse to surrender to adversity. They join hands, stick out there chests, and dare anybody to predict they're about to fail.

Dare I, then?

Certainly I do.

Most at the Berto Center, inside and outside the Bulls' family, believe this team has a chance to survive the Philadelphia 76ers in their first-round playoff.

But win another series? Then reach the NBA Finals? Then win the championship?

Uh, no.

Yet Forman said, "I'm confident and the players are confident that we'll be able to continue on and have success."

Thibodeau was asked whether he could remember a team losing its best player and proceeding to win the NBA title. He said he thought the Celtics did it. He couldn't remember when, nor could anyone else.

Forman mentioned the Knicks as an example when Willis Reed was injured and returned only briefly.

That New York team compensated for Reed's absence with the likes of Bill Bradley, Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe and Dave Debusschere.

The Bulls will try to compensate for the loss of Rose with the likes of Noah, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Rip Hamilton.

Oops not bad, but not much comparison, is there?

To state the obvious as if it were profound, the Bulls are in trouble. They have flipped from being one of the title favorites to being one of the favorites to flop.

All the Bulls can do heading into Game 2 of the Sixers' series Tuesday night is speak loudly because they no longer carry a big stick.

"We're not going to let the media or anybody else paint the picture for us," Noah said.

Look, I'm no Rembrandt, but it's difficult to resist taking brush to canvas and make it appear that the Bulls are destined to go down sooner than later.

Sure, stranger things have happened than the Bulls somehow winning this year's NBA title, most recently Philip Humber pitching a perfect game.

Maybe a desperate case could even be made that this is the year for some team to make an improbable playoff run, considering how the discombobulated regular season led into the postseason.

Sorry, but I can't think of a lyric that forecasts the Bulls being that team.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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