Bulls lose Rose for season in win over Sixers
CHICAGO — A routine playoff victory took a nasty turn for the Bulls on Saturday afternoon as they lost Derrick Rose for the rest of the playoffs with a torn ACL.
With about 1:15 remaining in a 103-91 win over Philadelphia, guard Derrick Rose drove toward the basket, came to a jump stop with both feet, then fell to the ground grabbing his left knee.
After staying on the ground for about three minutes, Rose was helped to the locker room by a pair of Chicago trainers. He was taken for more tests, which revealed a torn ACL, according to the team. Rose will miss the rest of the playoffs.
Up until that moment, any questions about Rose’s health seemed to be answered during Game 1 of this first-round playoff series at United Center.
The Bulls’ three-time All-Star missed 17 of the past 22 games because of groin and ankle injuries. After a slow start in the first quarter, Rose produced 23 points, nine assists and nine rebounds.
Needless to say, the Chicago locker room was quiet and subdued, as though the team had suffered a 30-point loss.
“It might be one of the saddest wins we’ve ever had,” forward Carlos Boozer said. “Our prayers are with him, and we’re hoping for the best. We’ll see what happens.”
“We’re definitely worried,” added Luol Deng. “If it was a little injury, he wouldn’t go down like that. Like I said, it looked bad. Right now, we’re hoping for the best.”
Chicago led by as many as 20 points several times in the fourth quarter, so there wasn’t a compelling reason for Rose to be on the floor in the final two minutes. Thibodeau refused to second-guess the decision to leave Rose on the court. Just before the injury occurred, the Sixers did cut their 20-point deficit down to 12.
“I don’t work backwards like you guys,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The score was going the other way. He’s got to play.”
“In playoff basketball, you never want to give a team confidence,” guard Richard Hamilton said. “We needed guys out there that can put the ball in the basket.”
Overall, this was quite a change from last year’s playoff opener for the Bulls. They played a sub-.500 Indiana squad in the first round and needed a 16-1 run in the final 3:30 to escape from a 10-point deficit.
Philadelphia seemed to be within striking distance in this one, trailing 79-66 heading into the fourth. That was before Kyle Korver opened the final quarter with a pair of jumpers and a free throw from Taj Gibson gave the Bulls their largest lead to that point at 84-66.
Hamilton, in his first playoff game for the Bulls, added 19 points and Luol Deng scored 17. Elton Brand led Philadelphia with 19 points.
“That was the fourth time we have played the Bulls this season. This is the best they have played against us,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said. “The Bulls played great. I really hope that Derrick Rose is OK. I admire him and believe that he’s one of the bright lights in the NBA.”
The Bulls got off to a quick start, delivering a 10-0 run after Sixers guard Jrue Holiday opened the game with a 3-point basket. When Philadelphia tied the score 28-28 early in the second quarter, the Bulls answered with a 9-0 run.
“We would be eight to 15 back and then cut it down,” Brand said. “Every time, though, we made a mistake, they executed and made us pay for it. They made a run every time.”
With 4:36 left in the third quarter, Boozer got tangled up with Sixers guard Evan Turner after a foul was called. In the ensuing verbal skirmish, Rose, Hamilton and Brand were given technical fouls.
NOTES: The Sixers started rookie Lavoy Allen at center in Game 1. . . .. Fans at United Center booed Turner, a Chicago native, who said last week he would rather play the Bulls than Miami in the first round. Turner was also a high school rival of Rose. . . . Collins on why his team slumped at mid-season after starting 20-9: “It’s called weaker opponents.” . . . Collins was coach of the Bulls from 1986 to 1989, while Thibodeau was a Philadelphia assistant from 1994 to 1996. . . . The 76ers have dropped their last five playoff series. . . . Game 2 is Tuesday at United Center.