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updated: 5/6/2012 8:57 PM

What else can go wrong for Bulls?

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Maybe the Bulls should consider conceding their playoff series against the 76ers before something irreparable happens to someone in their organization.

Wouldn't it be better to just get the entire season over with already?

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Bad enough Sunday at Philadelphia was that Derrick Rose stayed back in Chicago with a torn ACL and Joakim Noah stayed on the Bulls' bench with a sprained ankle.

"They've been hit with a lot of stuff," 76ers head coach Doug Collins said of the Bulls after his team's 89-82 victory.

Injuries to Rose and Noah would be enough stuff but Collins blurted that Bulls executive vice president/basketball operations John Paxson also was absent from Game 4.

"Pax is so much the guts of that organization," Collins said, "and I just want to send out prayers to him."

Paxson later released a statement revealing that he is addressing an arrhythmia issue, which he hadn't intended to make public.

OK, now, so what's next for the Bulls, their team bus missing the Berto Center and winding up in Milwaukee? The United Center roof caving in like just another Metrodome? The NBA officially declaring this franchise a disaster area?

Don't feel sorry for the Bulls. View this run of bad luck as payback for the good luck of winning the rights to Rose in a draft lottery.

The least of the Bulls' problems now is trailing the Sixers 3-1 in games in their best-of-seven first-round playoff series. The most is that body parts are failing ... first on Rose ... then on Noah ... now on Paxson ...

Who'll be the next in line for heartache?

After Philly's third straight victory over the Bulls, confetti fell onto the Wells Fargo Center court and one fan held up a sign that read, "Not in our house."

OK, then, how about in the Bulls' house? The series moves to the UC for Game 5 on Tuesday with the Sixers having an opportunity to end it.

"We're not out," Bulls' guard Kyle Korver said.

The Bulls insist their heads aren't down either, though their befuddled facial expressions refute that sentiment.

"There's more basketball to be played," Bulls' forward Taj Gibson said.

Not much more it would seem, though the one positive for the Bulls is they figure to have enough character to keep playing hard until eliminated.

The Bulls don't have Rose and Noah.

They aren't shooting well. They aren't playing particularly intelligently. But they have been giving it everything they have.

"We're fighting but we can do a lot better," Tom Thibodeau said.

The Bulls' head coach had enough fight left in him to indicate he wasn't pleased with Sunday's officiating. But the officials aren't costing the Bulls their season. Nor are the Sixers.

Circumstances are, like losing their soul in Rose and their spirit in Noah.

A chance remains that the Bulls can extend the series, especially against the Sixers, who aren't exactly the Jordan Bulls or Showtime Lakers.

As things stand now, however, the 76ers are bad and the Bulls are worse. Neither team will win this series but one will lose.

"Game 5 has to be as important to us as it is to the Bulls," Collins said. "A closeout game is the hardest game to win in sports."

We'll see Tuesday night whether the Bulls have enough able bodies to make it hard on the 76ers.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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