Rapid Reaction: Bulls 103, 76ers 91
April, 28, 2012
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com
Dennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireDerrick Rose will undergo an MRI on the left knee he injured late in Game 1.CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls cruised to a 103-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at the United Center. The Bulls lead the series 1-0.
How it happened: The Bulls got the type of offensive balance Tom Thibodeau has been hoping for all season. Derrick Rose scored 23 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out nine assists. He also shook off a lot of rust in the process, considering this was just his sixth game in a month and a half. But the only thing people will care about is how Rose is feeling. He fell to the floor after going to the rim for a layup with 1:04 left in the game and appeared to be grabbing his left knee. He was helped to the locker room by trainers and could barely put weight on the injured knee. Rip Hamilton had a big day, scoring 19 points, while Luol Deng chipped in 17 points and six rebounds. Joakim Noah gave the Bulls the energy they needed early, scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
What it means: This was exactly the start the Bulls wanted. Aside from Carlos Boozer, each starter scored in double figures and played well most of the game. Rose looked refreshed and got more confident as the game went on. Deng played solid defense all game and held Philadelphia guard Andre Iguodala to just 11 points. Hamilton turned back the clock and knocked down jumper after jumper early in the game. He finally looked like the player the Bulls expected when they signed him before the season. The only thing that matters now, though, is Rose's health. Obviously, if he has to miss a significant amount of time, any designs the Bulls had on winning a championship go down with him. The vibe in the United Center felt like a funeral after the game ended. Everyone feared the worst after Rose went to the floor.
Stat of the night: The Bulls had 27 assists.
Bold play of the game: With his team leading by eight points and trying to find a way to close out the game early, Kyle Korver knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:04 left in the third quarter that gave the Bulls an 11-point lead and a jolt of momentum heading into the final quarter.
What's next: Game 2 is Tuesday night at the United Center.