Bulls Derrick Rose Out for Season Puts Heat in 2012 NBA Finals
It took one game, just one game for all the work that the Chicago Bulls did during the regular season to go up in smoke. With the news that Derrick Rose will miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, there went any hopes Bulls fans had to win an NBA title.
The reigning league MVP tore his ACL in the late stages of the Bulls’ 103-91 playoff debut victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday. With just 1 minute and 20 seconds left in the game, Rose landed awkwardly after going up for a pass. Immediately, grimacing in pain, Rose hit the ground as the air was sucked right out of the United Center. He had 23 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists at that point.
“You hope it’s not as serious as it looked,” Luol Deng said.
“You pray that he’s going to be all right,” stated Joakim Noah after the game.
“My heart kind of dropped,” Richard Hamilton added.
In what has been an injury-filled year, Rose will now be forced to sit on the sidelines and watched the Miami Heat waltz their way to their second consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. Miami easily took care of New York in their playoff opener, putting the Knickerbockers out of their misery with a 33-point blowout, 100-67.
LeBron James was dominant, leading the way with a game-high 32 points on 10-for-14 shooting. James was very aggressive going to the hole and capitalizing on his opportunities. LBJ finished the game making 11 of his 14 free-throw attempts.
“LeBron really led the way, obviously attacking, getting to the free throw line,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “He was on the back line of our defense, like a free safety, reading the offense in front of us.”
Dwyane Wade pitched in with 19 points of his own to go along with Mario Chalmers’ 11-point, 9-assist effort. Miami would take on the winner of the Pacers-Magic series in the second round, and would meet one of four teams in the Eastern Conference Finals: Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston or Atlanta.
“I’m a different player this year, a different person this year compared to last year,” said James. “I’ve waited to get back to the postseason, prepared myself all season, throughout the offseason to get back to this point.”
Miami would enjoy home-court advantage all the way to the 2012 NBA Finals. The only two Western Conference teams to finish with better record than the Heat were San Antonio and Oklahoma City.