- Scott Powers, Reporter
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CHICAGO -- The Philadelphia 76ers' confidence in their ability to defeat the Chicago Bulls in their first-round Eastern Conference quarterfinals playoff series didn’t grow overnight with the news of Derrick Rose's season-ending injury.
The 76ers said Sunday they know firsthand just how good the Bulls can still be without their best player. The 76ers lost to the Bulls 89-80 without Rose in Chicago on March 17. C.J. Watson started at point guard for the Bulls in that win and had a team-high 20 points.
Rose played in just 39 of the 66-regular season games due to a variety of injuries, and the Bulls were 32-7 with him and 18-9 without him.
“One of the things I shared with our guys is [Rose] missed 26 or 27 games this year,” 76ers coach Doug Collins said after Sunday’s practice. “They have played without him. It’s not going to be that he’s not missed any games, and all of a sudden now, ‘What are they going to do?’ They’ve won some games without him. They’ve won some big games without him.”
The 76ers still consider the Bulls a formidable opponent without Derrick Rose.