Noah 'most likely out' as Bulls face elimination

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau referred to Derrick Rose as a game-time decision leading up to approximately 387 games this season — some of which he surely knew Rose would miss.

Thibodeau has, as far as I know, at least conceded Rose will miss the rest of these playoffs with his torn ACL, sparing opponents, reporters and fans the constant games. That Thibodeau is describing Joakim Noah today as "most likely out" for tomorrow's Game 5 with the 76ers, according to the Chicago Tribune, is a bad sign for Noah's chances of playing. You can probably book the Bulls being without a second key starter for a second straight game.

And if the Bulls don't play a heck of a lot better than they did in Sunday's 89-82 loss at Philadelphia, you can probably book their season being over by Wednesday. Playing with Rose is obviously a huge blow, and Noah being out with a sprained ankle only compounds the Bulls' woes, but injuries are no excuse for them consistently being dominanted in the final minutes by a team as lacking in talent as the 76ers.

Until Sunday, I thought the Bulls would still very likely win this series. Now I think they're done, but it hardly matters anyway. If they're not good enough to beat this extremely mediocre 76ers team, and to do so decisively, what chance would they have against the suddenly rolling Celtics in the second round, anyway?

I'd still much prefer the Bulls get there. Getting ousted by a veteran team with your superstar down in Round 2 isn't nearly as embarassing as getting beat this way by a No. 8 seed. But one way or another, it's obvious that what looked like it could be a great season for the Bulls is going to have an unhappy ending.

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