The landscape of the NBA playoffs took an unfortunate turn yesterday as 2011 NBA MVP and Bulls superstar Derrick Rose tore his ACL late in a game 1 victory. True basketball fans everywhere and especially Bulls fans throughout the world held their breath as one of the best players in the game laid on the court in pain. The prospects of Chicago's playoff run just went from champions to chumps.
As much as I respect Coach Thibs and the coaching job he did this season ,with Derrick missing game after game with injury after injury, I just don't see the Bulls going past round 2 of the playoffs without D-Rose. I still think they have enough to beat the 76ers in round 1 but nothing past that. This team has bought into Thib's team concept and defensive schemes but at the end of the day you need a closer. Derrick is a closer.
This Bulls roster is full of good players (Noah, Boozer, Hamilton, et al.) and they have stepped up in the absence of D-Rose this season without question. They play harder than other teams and play for each other. This however was during the regular season and the playoffs are an entirely different animal. The "Second Season" is where good players and good teams become great. And I just don't see it happening as much as I would love it to be true. It basically happened last year during the playoffs and they had Derrick the whole time. Miami has two great players and one really good player in James, Wade, and Bosh.
I would be shocked if the Miami Heat don't coast to the NBA Finals now that the Bulls are less than perfect.
The Bulls championship run may still have ended against the Heat but under the circumstances it makes it harder to take. The "what if" questions will be asked throughout the playoffs and into next season as Derrick rehabs his injured knee.
As a Bulls fan and lover of basketball I hope the answers we get are from the prayers for Derrick Rose.