Today is a sad day for Chicago sports fans. Despite winning Game 1 of their series with the 76ers this afternoon, this may just be the most disappointing day that the Bulls franchise has gone through since the breakup of the 199o’s dynasty.
With a little over a minute left in regulation, and the Bulls up by 12 points, Derrick Rose drove to the basket, got himself high up into the air, and dropped a pass off for Carlos Boozer before landing on one foot in serious pain. Rose dropped to the floor holding his left knee and was visibly in severe discomfort. He would remain on the floor for a couple of minutes while the Bulls trainers took a look at his knee. Rose was unable to put any pressure on his left leg while being helped off the floor, which made it clear to everyone watching that this may be a serious injury.
Well, we now know that Rose suffered a torn ACL on the play and will miss the rest of the season, as well as the Olympics. This is a HUGE loss for the Bulls. Even though this is about the worst possible news to a rabid Bulls fan, I am still trying to look at this situation with an optimistic point of view.
With Rose done for the year, there really aren’t any high expectations for this Bulls team. Yes, we all know that they are still a very good team without Derrick Rose (they proved that this year by going 18-9 without him in the lineup), but let’s be honest. Not many people will be expecting them to advance to the Conference Finals now, and if they do get there, no one will expect them to beat the Heat. Having said that, now is the time for the Rose-less Bulls to go out and prove their critics wrong.
The Bulls will approach the remainder of these playoffs with a chip on their shoulder. They are going to go out there and give everything they’ve got to try and win as many games as possible without Derrick Rose. We will now begin to see just how valuable their depth really is. In the regular season, C.J. Watson and John Lucas III stepped up and really played well in the absence of Derrick Rose. When Richard Hamilton got healthy at the the end of the year, he stepped up his game while Rose was still trying to find his own rhythm. The Rose-less Bulls won a number of big games this year, which will no doubt give them confidence moving forward.
Here’s my prediction. The Bulls will eliminate the 76ers in 6 games. In the second round, odds are that they will meet the Boston Celtics. Boston has come on really strong since the all-star break, but they are beatable. I say the Bulls take that series to 7 games with a decent chance of winning it because of the strength of their bench. If they do get by the Celtics, then that’s where I have to draw the line. I don’t see them being able to take out the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals.
This is going to be the toughest test of the year for the Bulls, but if there is one team who could overcome this adversity, it is this team. They have as much, if not more heart than any other team in the league. If you look back at the blog I wrote about the Bulls earlier in the year when I talked about them being a “true team,” this is when being a true team really becomes important.
Take a “glass half full” approach on this situation, Bulls fans. It’s the best way to handle the adversity.
Thanks for reading.