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Saturday, April 28, 2012
Bulls can still win without Rose ... for now

By ESPN Stats & Info


Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Bulls went 18-9 during the regular season without Derrick Rose.

Last season's MVP, Derrick Rose, will miss the rest of the 2012 NBA Playoffs with a torn ACL in his left knee.

The Chicago Bulls lead their best-of-7 series against the Philadelphia 76ers, 1-0, and statistically they should be OK without their point guard, at least for this series.

In three games against the 76ers during the regular season, the Bulls were 11 points better per 100 possessions with Rose off the court, including one game that Rose did not play.

The Bulls played 27 games without Rose this season, and won 18 of them; however, their overall numbers were down across the board in his absence, although they did play more minutes without Rose this season (see chart).

With Rose on the court during the regular season, the Bulls shot 3 percentage points better from the field and scored 8 more points per 48 minutes.

But the Bulls, at least statistically, are a better defensive team without Rose. They allowed about 5 points fewer per 48 minutes with Rose off the court, and opponents shot a lower field goal and 3-point percentage and committed more turnovers with Rose off the court.

Expect C.J. Watson to move into the starting lineup and more minutes off the bench for John Lucas III. In the 26 regular-season games without Rose, Watson and Lucas' combined minutes went from 25.5 per game to more than 48, and they combined to average 21.9 points per game. On March 24 with Rose out, Watson matched his season-high with 23 points in an overtime win against the Toronto Raptors.

However, the Bulls were 11.6 points better per 100 possessions with Watson off the court this season. Defensively, the Bulls allowed 99.8 points per 100 possessions with Watson on the court and 92.6 when he was on the bench.

After Rose's injury, Accuscore projects the Bulls chances of winning the championship fall from 15.8 to 9.8 percent.

That said, the Bulls played very well this year without Rose. And at 9.8 percent, the Bulls still are a strong fourth in terms of having the best remaining odds at winning the title.

The Miami Heat are the main beneficiaries of Rose's season-ending injury, going from a 25.5 percent chance of winning the championship up to 30 percent. The Spurs are second at 20.8 percent and the Thunder are third at 19.4.