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Bulls prepare to move forward without Rose

Are you pumped for tonight's Bulls game?

It's tough to be, whether you're a die-hard or a casual fan. The competitiveness of the basketball should be better without Derrick Rose for the rest of the Bulls' first-round playoff series against the 76ers, but it will still be a lot less fun to watch.

I wrote plenty for a column that appeared in the paper today about Rose's torn ACL and its probable effect, but there were a few more recent Bulls-related headlines that are worth saying a few words about.

Popovich voted Coach of the Year; Thibodeau second

I'm fine with the Spurs' Greg Popovich winning, and I'd have been fine with the Bulls' Tom Thibodeau going back to back as well.

Popovich matched Thibodeau's 50-16 regular-season record with a Spurs roster that consists of an over-the-hill all-time great (Tim Duncan), two other aging but still very effective key pieces (Tony Parker and the banged-up Manu Ginobli) and nobody else that averaged over 10.3 points per game. There are some nice young players in San Antonio, don't get me wrong, but that hardly looks like a 50-win roster in an 82-game season, let alone a 66-game version.

You could argue that Thibodeau winning the same number of games with Rose struggling through injuries all year was even more impressive. I'd can see either argument. What I hate is that voters may have shied away from Thibodeau because he won last year. How stupid. Vote for the best coach. If that's Popovich, fine, but make your decision based on merits, not who won most recently.

Pippen writes open letter to Bulls

1,483 words! Not counting his signature!

That's what Bulls great Scottie Pippen chose to write to this year's team in the wake of the Rose injury. It's a bunch of encouragement and cliched talk about how the Bulls are a team capable of winning even without their superstar.

I mean, it's a fine gesture, Scottie. But the Bulls had some pretty darn good teams in the 1980s and the 1990s, and they never won squat without a certain superstar guard in the lineup. The current Bulls don't have anyone close to you to step in as the alpha dog, either, as the close-but-no-cigar Bulls team of 1993-94 did when Jordan retired.

Watson 'comfortable' entering starting lineup

I like C.J. Watson a lot ... as a backup point guard. Now he can get hot and even carry the team for a stretch, but if you think he's going to be anything close to what Rose would be for the rest of the playoffs, you're kidding yourself.

Still, as the Chicago Tribune points out, the Bulls were 17-8 when Watson started this season. He's no stranger to the lineup, and he told the paper he's "very comfortable" moving into the role. I'll be comfortable with him if he can provide 75 percent of the numbers Rose typically does.

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