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updated: 5/30/2014 6:28 AM

Rose's injury gave Heat an easier path

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  • With a healthy Derrick Rose leading the Bulls the last few seasons, Mike North is convinced that Miami Heat forward LeBron James wouldn't have so much championship hardware.

      With a healthy Derrick Rose leading the Bulls the last few seasons, Mike North is convinced that Miami Heat forward LeBron James wouldn't have so much championship hardware.
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Inside

I started reassessing the demise of the Chicago Bulls after watching the NBA playoffs unfold.

No one can convince me that a Derrick Rose-led Bulls team with Joakim Noah and Luol Deng wouldn't at least have won a conference championship or maybe even an NBA championship over the last couple of years.

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The Rose injury not only changed the course of the Bulls, but the entire Eastern Conference.

If you had told LeBron James after Rose won MVP in the 2010-11 season that Rose would no longer stand in the Miami Heat's way over the next couple of years, LeBron would have called you crazy.

Rose is coming back next season, but the team roster has changed dramatically. No more Deng and possibly no more Carlos Boozer. And with Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler as starters, the landscape looks quite different.

One thing for certain, though, is that Miami, with the bad-luck Bulls out of the picture, has a much easier road in the NBA playoffs.

Hawks find a way to win:

The Chicago Blackhawks did what great championship teams do -- they figured out a way to win when their backs were against the wall.

As they head to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Friday night, still down 3-2 in the series, everyone knows how fortunate they were to win a double overtime game at the United Center against the Kings.

Patrick Kane seems to have his mojo back, and I believe we will see a Game 7 at the United Center.

If the Kings don't win game 6 at home, Game 7 in Chicago becomes a difficult mountain to climb. I say that, of course, with all due respect to the Kings because they also have a championship pedigree.

In the end, it will come down to the goaltending. Jonathan Quick is a better netminder, but Corey Crawford is a winner, too, and a championship goalie.

Hawks' defensemen Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith have logged a lot of minutes, and at times have played a step slow and not always up to their usual standards.

Can the Hawks tighten up their game or win another 5-4 game? Either way, coming home for Game 7 is the first order of business.

It's extremely difficult to win back-to-back Stanley Cups and another title would be the third in five years for this franchise, which screams dynasty.

Here's what you have been waiting for: tonight's final score will be Hawks 4, Kings 3 in one overtime. Works for me.

Program notes:

Follow me on Twitter@ north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports radio. Catch my show from 7-11 a.m. Sundays, and check me out on iHeart radio or Foxsportsradio.com.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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