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Thursday, May 3, 2012
Collapse could have lasting impact

By Melissa Isaacson

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- It is not likely to spark any great shock should the Chicago Bulls end up succumbing to the Philadelphia 76ers in their first-round series and fade out of these NBA playoffs.

Nationally, the news cycle might not even last 24 hours for the team that lost its franchise player to a devastating knee injury in Game 1, then was defeated with a guy named C.J. Watson taking his place. And even locally as some people actually dumped their playoff tickets and other more sane fans quickly predicted doom, there is likely to be a sense of inevitability along with the disappointment.

But a first-round elimination by the Bulls, currently tied 1-1 after an embarrassing home loss in Tuesday's Game 2, should spark shock and locally, it should cause outrage. And more than that, early elimination by the Bulls, coupled with Rose's injury, may well have long-term implications for a franchise, its players and a head coach whose prospects only recently seemed unquestionably positive.

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