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Game 1: Bulls 103, Sixers 91

30 Apr 2012

Three Stars (leaderboard)
1. Derrick Rose: 23 points (.482 TS%), 9 rebounds, 9 assists
2. Joakim Noah: 12 points (.588 TS%), 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks
3. Rip Hamilton: 19 points (.985 TS%), 3 rebounds, 4 assists

Chicago’s championship hopes died Saturday at approximately 2:32 p.m. CT when Derrick Rose burst into the lane, jumped to a stop and pushed off to explode up toward the basket.

His left leg did not cooperate, buckling inward at the knee as the anterior cruciate ligament tore. Rose crumpled to the floor, visibly in serious pain, as the action moved to the other end of the court.

He will not play again this season, or for many months beyond that. It sounds to me like we’ll be lucky to see him at full strength for the 2013 playoffs a year from now. ACL injuries are no joke, especially for players who depend on speed, explosiveness and power to the extent that Rose does.

The rest of Game 1 seemed almost beside the point, though the Bulls looked every bit a championship contender for most of the afternoon. Rose, Joakim Noah and Rip Hamilton were in top form, Luol Deng was sneaky good, and Carlos Boozer didn’t need to do too much. The bench played even with Philadelphia, but that’s to be expected in a matchup of two of the league’s deepest teams.

What now? It’s hard to envision the Rosettes winning four games against Miami or the best the Western Conference has to offer, but I see no reason they can’t fight off the Sixers and potentially beat the Celtics/Hawks winner.

We’ve seen them do it before, and they can do it again, with hearts far heavier.

Box Score

Series: Bulls lead, 1-0
Next: Game 2, Tuesday 5/1 vs. Philadelphia, 7:00 CT

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