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Friday, April 1, 2011
Bulls not focused on standings

By Nick Friedell

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- With Friday's win and the loss by the Boston Celtics, the Bulls now sit three games up in the loss column over both the Celtics and the Miami Heat for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. It's a distinction they are happy about, but one they don't seem to be overly concerned about with just seven games left in the regular season.

"We're not thinking about nobody else but ourselves, to be honest," Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said. "It sounds selfish, but it's true. We've got to focus on us, getting healthy and getting Joakim [Noah] back. Be playing our best basketball and tighten up our screws on offense and defense and get ready for the playoffs. Each day we're trying to get better. We're not worried about other teams in our conference. Or teams in other conferences. We want to have as many wins as we can this season and we want to get as sharp as we can for the playoffs."

Bulls point guard Derrick Rose agreed.

"It might sound crazy, but I'm just worried about over here," he said. "Our destiny's in our hand and we're just trying to finish the season strong and win every game."

Rose's ankle is OK: Derrick Rose appeared to sprain his ankle again in the third quarter, but he said he is fine.

"It's fine," he said. "I don't feel it right now. Usually when guards do it, you bounce right back. With big men, that's a bad injury for them."

Rose admitted to some initial nerves after the injury occurred, though.

"At first it was [scary]," he said. "But my will to play got me back in that game."

Long break: Because of the Dennis Rodman halftime ceremony, and a popcorn spill in the front row, there was about a 40 minute break between the second and third quarters. A break that clearly hurt the Bulls' momentum.

"If it wasn't for the halftime, our energy would have been better," Rose admitted, before adding that the Bulls shouldn't use any excuses.

That's a mantra Tom Thibodeau likes to hear.

"You're faced with things like that throughout the course of the year," Thibodeau said. "They had the same halftime. So they came out a lot more aggressive than we did. [Saturday] we have another game. We've got to be ready for that one."

The last word: "Hard worker. Every time somebody talks about him [it's] hard work. After he gets done with some games, [he] just goes and works out. Getting himself in condition. And if you heard him speak tonight, he said he wanted to be in the top shape because some of his teammates were telling him to ... he was an animal," -- Rose on Rodman.