Bulls star Derrick Rose went down with an injury late in Saturday’s playoff game, and the news isn’t good for Chicago: Rose will miss the rest of the postseason with a torn ACL.
CHICAGO — Derrick Rose crumbled to the floor, clutching his left knee. His season is over and the Bulls’ title hopes just might be finished, too.
Rose will miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee late in Chicago’s 103-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Saturday’s playoff opener, casting big cloud over a team eyeing a championship run.
He scored 23 points and was playing more like the league’s reigning MVP after missing 27 games because of injuries during the regular season, but his injury-plagued season came to an end as the Bulls were wrapping up an impressive victory.
Rose crumbled to the ground after he drove the lane with about 1:20 left and the Bulls leading by 12. He was going for a layup when he came to a jump-stop and seemed to change his mind as the 76ers’ Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen rotated over, passing off to a teammate before an awkward landing.
Team medical personnel immediately rushed out and tended to Rose for several minutes as he was writhing in pain near the baseline before helping him to the locker room. Rose was taken to the hospital, and the results of the MRI were not good.
Whether Rose should have been in the game at that point figures to be debated for a long time around Chicago. He checked back in with just under eight minutes left and the lead got as high as 20 shortly after that before the Sixers chipped away at it.
With Philadelphia making a push, coach Tom Thibodeau decided to stay with Rose.
“I don’t work backward like you guys do,” Thibodeau said. “The score was going the other way.”
Veteran guard Richard Hamilton defended the decision, saying, “Philly was making a run. In playoff basketball, you never want to give a team confidence. … When you have a team down, you have to try to keep them down. They made a little run so we needed guys that could put the ball in the basket.”
Sixers coach Doug Collins also had Thibodeau’s back.
“He knows what he’s doing coaching his team,” Collins said. “Thibs is my buddy. I have the ultimate respect for him. From his standpoint he wanted to finish that game for what he did. It’s awful that Derrick got hurt.”
Losing Rose is obviously a huge blow for a team that made the conference finals last year and captured the top overall seed for the second straight season.
He was finally performing more like the reigning MVP after being out of the lineup so often during the regular season with various injuries and mostly struggling the few times he did play late in the regular season.
Heat guard Dwyane Wade said he found out during the Miami-New York matchup later Saturday that Rose’s season, and his hopes of playing in the Olympics, was over.
“I said a prayer for him and his family,” Wade said. “You never want to see anyone get injured, especially a player of his caliber. Very unfortunate. You hope he does his best to rehab and gets back to being the D-Rose that everyone loves.”
Rose found his touch after a slow start in this game and also contributed nine rebounds and nine assists. Hamilton added 19 points, Luol Deng scored 17 and Joakim Noah (12 points, 13 rebounds) had a double-double for Chicago.
Elton Brand led Philadelphia with 19 points. Jrue Holiday scored 16, and Thaddeus Young had 13 points. Chicago product Evan Turner scored 12 and was booed mercilessly after acknowledging he thought the Miami Heat would be a tougher first-round matchup.
Well, he might be right now that Rose is out. Then again, the Bulls grabbed home-court advantage throughout the playoffs despite a run of injuries that would have ruined most teams.
They were 18-9 without Rose during the regular season and had their projected starting five available for just 15 games. Hamilton was out much of the year because of injuries, and Deng has been dealing with a torn ligament in his left wrist.
Before Rose went down on Saturday, the Bulls simply overwhelmed the Sixers and looked like a team gearing up for another big run after losing to Miami in the conference finals last season.
“Your heart goes out to him,” Kyle Korver said. “It’s been a hard year. With all the work that he puts in and the kind of person he is, to see this happen stinks. It’s a sad win.”
Young felt for Rose, too.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” he said. “You don’t want to see him go down like that in the first game of the first round of the playoffs.”
Rose hit just 1 of 7 shots in the first quarter but went on a tear late in the second as the Bulls took a 53-42 lead to the locker room. He then scored eight in the third and hit two 3-pointers to help Chicago stay in control, even though things did get a little heated.
That happened when Noah got fouled by Turner trying to put back Deng’s miss with 4:36 left in the quarter. Hamilton started jawing with Turner. Rose and Brand got involved, too.
Fans, meanwhile, started chanting “MVP! MVP!” in a nod to the rivalry between Rose and Turner that dates to their high school days. When the dust cleared, Hamilton, Brand and Rose all got technicals, and Noah hit 1 of 2 foul shots to make it 69-55.
Hamilton added two more free throws on the next possession to boost the lead to 16. After the Sixers pulled within eight, Korver nailed a 3 to start a 12-2 run that stretched into the fourth and made it 84-66. But now, the Bulls will have to make do without Rose.
“He’s had a lot of injuries this year,” Thibodeau said. “It’s been unfortunate. But we do have more than enough to win with. Whatever the circumstances are, we’ll deal with it.”
James scores 32, Heat roll by Knicks 100-67
MIAMI — LeBron James dropped to the floor holding the back of his head, grimacing and then staggering a bit when he reached his feet.
A few moments later, he was fine.
And a few moments after that, the Miami Heat had complete control of Game 1 against the New York Knicks.
James scored 32 points after shooting 10 for 14 from the field, and the Heat rode the strength of what became a 32-2 run to easily beat the Knicks 100-67 on Saturday, striking first in the series between clubs that waged classic annual battles from 1997 through 2000 and are meeting for the first time since.
Dwyane Wade added 19 points in his first game back after dislocating his left index finger.
“Our guys had a noticeable look in their eyes the last 24 hours,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We wanted to get back to the basics and play to our identity. For the most part, we were able to do that by being aggressive.”
No, this wasn’t redemption for falling short in last season’s finals.
But for James and the Heat, it sure was a fine start.
“I’m a different player this year, a different person this year compared to last year,” James said. “I’ve waited to get back to the postseason, prepared myself all season, throughout the offseason to get back to this point.”
It was physical, it was heated — and it was one-sided. New York’s 67 points matched a franchise playoff low.
Mario Chalmers finished with 11 points and nine assists for Miami, which turned 27 New York turnovers into a franchise playoff-record 38 points. The Knicks were called for 21 fouls in the first half, Miami enjoying a 28-5 advantage in free throws attempted in the first 24 minutes alone, and center Tyson Chandler sent James flying with what was called a flagrant foul as the Heat were blowing the game open.
J.R. Smith scored 17 for the Knicks, who lost Iman Shumpert to a torn knee ligament and have dropped 11 straight playoff games dating back to 2001. Carmelo Anthony missed 12 of 15 shots and finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Baron Davis added 10 points for New York.
It was the worst playoff loss for the Knicks since a 126-85 defeat at Chicago on April 25, 1991.
“This series is not over,” Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire said. “We’ve got to learn from our mistakes today and get ready for Monday.”
The series isn’t, but Shumpert’s is. The Knicks said the rookie guard also tore a lateral meniscus and would miss approximately six to eight months. Even before an MRI at a hospital, Anthony said what was obvious to anyone who saw Shumpert take a non-contact tumble in the third quarter.
“We know Shump is not going to be with us,” Anthony said.
Maybe it was ironic that this game took a turn when someone who helped doom Miami in last season’s finals sent the two-time MVP flying.
Chandler — who helped Dallas win the 2011 title over Miami — set a back pick near midcourt with 1:34 left in the half, and James never saw it coming. The original call was a flagrant-2 against Chandler, which would have meant an automatic ejection. After review, it was downgraded to a flagrant-1, so Chandler could stick around for the rest of the debacle.
Given that he spent Friday and Saturday fighting the flu, Chandler would have probably rather left anyway.
“They played really well,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said, “and we played awful.”
An awful 9 minutes for the Knicks decided this one.
After all, this is a Heat-Knicks playoff series. It’s almost required to have emotions boil over.
With Jeff Van Gundy and Alonzo Mourning in the building — remember, the former Knicks coach once tugged on the Heat center’s leg during one memorable Miami-New York playoff dustup — along with Knicks assistant general manager Allan Houston, he of the game-winner to eliminate the Heat from the last playoffs following a lockout-shortened season of 1999, things got heated once again.
There were early hints that tensions were high, like Stoudemire and Udonis Haslem getting double-technicals after jawing back and forth with 4:10 left in the opening quarter. A few minutes later, after Shane Battier committed a hard foul on Anthony — who missed his first seven shots — Davis ran about 50 feet to give Battier a light shove.
That was all little stuff, compared to what was coming. Said Woodson: “All hell broke loose.”
Mike Miller’s 3-pointer with 2:22 left in the half capped a run of 13 straight points by the Heat, and they were just getting started.
After making both free throws awarded for the Chandler foul, James banked in a 20-footer from the left wing while getting hit by Smith 10 seconds later for what became a five-point possession for Miami.
“I thought it was a legal pick, honestly,” Chandler said.
And James still wasn’t done, first hitting a fadeaway with 48 seconds left, then a layup while getting hit by Jared Jeffries with 3 seconds left in the half.
“Spectacular,” Spoelstra said of James’ flurry. “His play spoke for itself. It seemed on both ends of the court he had his hands on every single play, in some form or another.”
The run then was 24-2. The lead was 54-31. For good measure, the Heat scored the first eight points of the third quarter as well, making it 62-31.
“Very eager to start this series off right,” Heat forward Chris Bosh said.
A bad day got even worse for the Knicks midway through the third.
Shumpert — who started the final 17 games of the regular season after Jeremy Lin had knee surgery — was carried off the court by teammates after going down in almost the exact spot as where the Chandler-James collision took place.
Shumpert was bringing the ball up the right sideline and tried to dribble behind his back when he pulled up and immediately grabbed at his left knee. He was brought into the Knicks’ locker room for evaluation, and as he was lifted from the floor Anthony looked at the scoreboard, shaking his head in disbelief.
Absolutely everything was going Miami’s way.
“We’re just trying to play our game,” Wade said, “trying to come out and take care of business.”
James provided the exclamation point with 1.4 seconds left in the third quarter.
He made a 3-pointer over Anthony, and then got the fourth quarter off. Through three quarters, the entire Knicks roster had only outscored James by 15, and Miami took an 81-47 lead into the final 12 minutes.
“I think the Miami Heat right now are feeling great about their performance,” Stoudemire said. “Which they should.”
Magic shock Pacers 81-77 in Game 1
INDIANAPOLIS — The Orlando Magic entered Indiana’s building as huge underdogs and walked out talking trash.
Jason Richardson and Jameer Nelson scored 17 points apiece to help sixth-seeded Orlando, playing without Dwight Howard, surprise the third-seeded Pacers 81-77 in Game 1 of the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series on Saturday night.
“Y’all look real stunned,” Magic center Glen Davis, Howard’s replacement, yelled at the crowd as he left the court. “Y’all look real stunned.”
Howard, the Magic’s leading scorer and the league’s top rebounder, will miss the rest of the season after having back surgery. The Magic played defense Howard would have been proud of down the stretch, overcoming a seven-point deficit by holding the Pacers scoreless for the final 4:05.
“We’re all we got,” said Davis, who had 16 points and 13 rebounds. “We’re not trying to impress the doubters or make them believe. Only if we believe. When we believe, there’s unlimited things that we can do. We’ve been through a lot mentally, physically. We’ve overcame and did a great job out there today.”
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy was fine with the chatter about his team’s chances. Before the game, he joked that the best prediction he had heard was the Magic losing in five games. He quickly followed that by saying opinions don’t matter.
His team backed him up.
Orlando took a 68-67 lead on a dunk by Earl Clark with 9:41 remaining, but the Pacers held the Magic scoreless for nearly five minutes to take a 75-68 lead.
A 3-pointer by Richardson cut Indiana’s lead to 77-75. The Pacers missed 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions, and Danny Granger missed two free throws with 1:14 left. Richardson made another 3-pointer to give the Magic a 78-77 lead with 1:04 to play.
“With Dwight being out, the 3-point line is what we had to take care of, and we didn’t,” Pacers guard Paul George said.
Granger missed in close, and Orlando snagged the rebound. Nelson was fouled and made two free throws with 24.5 seconds left to give the Magic an 80-77 lead.
Darren Collison missed a shot from near the free throw line, and Orlando rebounded. Clark missed two free throws with 12.1 seconds remaining, giving Indiana one more chance. Indiana barely got the ball inbounds, then Granger traveled with 7.5 seconds remaining. J.J. Redick’s free throw at the other end finished the scoring.
“This team is full of talented players who can play hard,” Orlando forward Ryan Anderson said. “That’s a great mix and we have each other’s backs. Everybody says that, you know, the underdog thing and stuff. We don’t believe it. We don’t look into that at all. We know how we can play and we know how good we are.”
David West scored 19 points, Granger added 17 and Roy Hibbert had eight points, 13 rebounds and nine blocks for the Pacers.
“In one game, you give up what you played all season for,” West said. “We talked about how good this team was, how dangerous they were in shooting the ball. They got us.”
Indiana coach Frank Vogel expected Orlando’s offensive style, which focuses on spacing the floor and shooting 3-pointers, to present a challenge. Orlando led the league in 3-pointers made and attempted during the regular season and was third in percentage (.375).
He was right.
Orlando fell behind by 10 in the first quarter before rallying in the second. A 3-pointer by Richardson gave Orlando a 43-40 lead, and the Magic increased that lead to 49-42 on a bucket by Nelson. The Magic led 51-44 at halftime, taking the air out of a crowd that showed up with high expectations. The Pacers made numerous atypical mistakes; among them, shooting just 9 for 15 from the free throw line.
Indiana opened the second half on an 8-2 run that included a 3-pointer and a fadeaway by Granger. George Hill was fouled on a 3-pointer, and he made all three free throws to finally give Indiana a 58-57 edge and bring the crowd back into the game.
Anderson’s 3-pointer in the final minute of the quarter, his first of the game, gave the Magic a 64-63 lead at the end of period. Indiana held Orlando to 13 points on 6-for-19 shooting in the period, but couldn’t support its good defense with offensive production in the fourth. Indiana shot 30 percent in the final 12 minutes and 35 percent overall.
“We definitely let this one get away,” George said. “We went through a stretch of a lot of in and out shots.”
Game 2 will be Monday night in Indianapolis.
“It is huge, to go out there and get Game 1 in their place,” Davis said. “Now their back’s against the wall and they’ve got to win Game 2. We’re trying to get every game we can. We’re not trying to slow down. We’re not trying to be complacent.”
Indiana doesn’t plan to fall behind 2-0.
“We need to be sharper on reads offensively and execute in crunch time,” Vogel said. “I have every bit of confidence we will bounce back.”