Quick off the dribble on hard court news

2 Playoff Teams, 1 Night

The Bulls and Hawks battle the Pacers and Cancucks Thursday in their respective championship quests

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    NEWSLETTERS

    They're down but not out.

    The Bulls and Blackhawks continue their playoff paths Thursday night, one leading games with worrisome play against a determined team, the other down for the count on borrowed time.

    Chicago's Bulls come into Game 3 amid analyst concerns about two too-close wins over the Indiana Pacers. (Some) fans worry the team is losing its gusto in the face of the hungrier, though generally less impressive Pacers. Worriers wonder: Are they on a downward trend?

    On the ice, the Blackhawks bought themselves Game 5 against the Vancouver Canucks with a win that gave the defending Stanley Cup champs a glimmer of hope. Coach Joel Quenneville credited the win to "attitude" and anger toward an unfair hit on Brent Seabrook. Worriers wonder: Do they have the fight to win another game?

    Fans aren't giving up, though, and neither are the teams.

    Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told the Associated Press he remains confident that Derrick Rose will be ready for whatever the Pacers throw him.

    Rose, for his part, was humble as always after Game 2. "Especially in the playoffs, you're supposed to be a leader on the team, you're supposed to take over games like that. I easily could have lost us that game."

    Meanwhile, rumors of Seabrook returning to the ice after his absence in Game 4 are said to be just what the team needs. That, along with the still-stinging fact that Raffi Torres wasn't suspended for his head hit on Seabrook, could propel the Hawks forward.

    "We're definitely going to gather behind that," Patrick Kane said.

    If the Hawks don't win tonight, they're out of the playoffs. Bulls have more cushion.

    Worriers wonder: Can they do it? 

    Let's wait and see.