Today may mark the most bittersweet victory the Chicago Bulls have experienced in franchise history. The regular season Eastern Conference champs opened the 2012 Playoffs with a 103-91 win over 76ers, but lost Derrick Rose, who tore his ACL and is out for the remainder of the season. The injury occurred late in the fourth quarter as the Bulls were looking to close out the game. Immediately, questions were aimed at Coach Tom Thibodeau’s decision to have Rose on the court so late when the win appeared to be in hand.
“Thibodeau was asked about having Rose in the game despite the Bulls having led by 20 with four minutes remaining. Thibodeau is sensitive about that, though he has been consistent and has always played his starters late into games unless the outcome to him is absolutely certain. The 76ers had cut the Bulls lead to 99-87 just before Rose was injured.
“‘I do not work backwards like you (media) guys,’ said Thibodeau. ‘The score was going the other way. He’s got to play. We sat him to about the seven minute mark of the fourth quarter. Derrick has to work on finishing on closing. Our team did not handle that part great. That’s what I was thinking.’” [Bulls.com]
Bulls players were obviously shook up over the loss of their leader and Carlos Boozer called the win ““one of the saddest wins we’ve ever had.” As a result, the outlook for not only the Bulls but all playoff teams will change as a result of the reigning MVP’s injury.