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Derrick Rose injury made East even worse

Updated: December 5, 2013 10:37PM



The Eastern Conference is bad.

Not just slow-start, teams-still-finding-their-way bad, but garbage-dump bad. When a .500 record has you sitting in the No. 3 seed, well, that says it all.

Miami Heat star LeBron James was watching live the night the East got worse.

“I didn’t want to believe it,’’ James said Thursday, when discussing the season-ending injury to Derrick Rose. “I was actually at home watching the Bulls-Blazers game [on Nov. 23] when it happened. I seen the play.

“Joakim [Noah] caught it at the elbow and D-Rose went back door. I seen him kind of come up gimp. I thought maybe he just twisted his ankle or something like that at the time. But when I seen them working on him on the sideline on the bench, it didn’t work well. I was hoping for the best for him. And obviously the news wasn’t the best.’’

No it wasn’t.

And just like that the East turned from a three-team race to two: Miami and Indiana.

At the same time, that collection of bad teams in the conference is also the reason why the Bulls still feel really good about where they can end up. It may also be why they stay the course with the roster rather than blow it up, according to coach Tom Thibodeau.

“For us, we’re not changing anything,’’ Thibodeau said. “Maybe the strengths of our team changed some with Derrick going out. But how we go about preparing, style of play, what goes into winning, all that remains the same. It’s important to understand that.

“I feel very good about the makeup of our team. We have to keep grinding. We went through it for two years now. This is the third year. We can do it.’’

In the East? Absolutely they can.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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