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Bulls losing their edge pains Derrick Rose more than his ankle

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Derrick Rose would have liked to offer an answer, some definitive explanation.

After all, there had to be some logical reason for the Atlanta Hawks to come into the “House That Air Built’’ on Monday night and put up 103 points against the No. 1 defense in the league.

Maybe it was the rust of having almost a week off.

“B.S.,’’ Rose replied.

Maybe then it was overlooking a Hawks team that was supposed to be exiting stage right in the Orlando series.

“Nope, we know what kind of team they have,’’ Rose said.

Heck, then it must be Carlos Boozer’s fault. Everything else is these days.

“No excuses,’’ Rose said. “We just didn’t play with an edge.’’

So there it is. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals and the player that will be named league MVP today is talking about some mystical force in the universe that the Bulls were lacking in the upset.

What, no unicorns were available?

“Coach talks about the edge all the time,’’ Rose said. “There are no excuses, like I said. We just need to watch the film, get the edge back. It’s about right now we need to just get it together. It’s a series and it’s the first team to four. I can’t explain it, but our edge wasn’t there.’’

So when exactly is this “edge’’ going to stand up and be accounted for? It was a no-show for most of the Pacers series. That was won on talent alone. Then it had the audacity to not even bother buying a ticket for Monday’s Game 1.

And as far as the Hawks go, it doesn’t look like David is done slinging stones anytime soon. Sounds like a job for Superman. Luckily for the Bulls, he plays on their team and wears No. 1 — still.

As bad as Rose looked in the first half against the Hawks, including his 2-for-10 shooting, he was 4-for-8 in the third and 5-for-9 in the fourth to finish with a team-high 24 points.

He is still the best player on the floor, has a short memory and takes losses personally. All good traits on why Wednesday will be a bounce-back game for Rose.

Now, if his left ankle would just get the memo.

With the game all but over, Rose turned the same ankle that he injured in the Indiana series, bending over in pain and putting his hands on his knees. He limped into the locker room, but was handling it well. At least much better than Bulls fans, who know that without Rose, they would then have to turn their attention to the two disappointing baseball teams in town.

Exhale, Chicago.

“It feels the same as before,’’ Rose said of his ankle. “I should be all right. I’ve been getting treatment all day and night, and I have this machine that I bring home with me for it.’’

Now, if the Bulls could just come up with an “edge’’ machine for the entire team to borrow over night.

Today’s break between games will be interesting for the standout point guard. Sometime between treatments, he will be named the youngest MVP in league history.

“It’s a dream if it happens, but right now that’s the last thing I’m worried about,’’ Rose said.

You can’t blame him. A bum ankle, a 1-0 deficit in the semis and an Amber Alert for the “edge.’’ There’s a lot going on in his young mind.

Was this a wakeup call Monday?

“I hope so,’’ Rose said. “I just hope we don’t wake up too late.’’

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