Bulls Start Off Strong, But Finish Flat In First Sans-Rose Playoff Outing

CHICAGO – It was almost like Willis Reed limping through the tunnel again at Madison Square Garden, providing all the emotion and inspiration for the New York Knicks before Game 7 of the 1970 Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Except that Derrick Rose didn’t play. And the Chicago Bulls didn’t win, instead falling to the Philadelphia 76ers 109-92 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first-round series, evening the best-of-seven showdown at one game each.

It was going to be a tricky emotional night for the Bulls and their fans from the start. They faced going forward in this postseason without Rose, whose torn ACL in his left knee ended his season and severely undercut his teammates’ ambitions. Then Rose limped out just before tipoff in a black sweatsuit and matching black leg brace, with an absolutely forlorn look on his face.

The crowd cheered in appreciation, but the reminder of what had happened three days earlier and whom the team no longer could lean on hung in the air after Rose headed up to a luxury suite. The Bulls played well enough for a half, leading 55-47 at halftime after a particularly inspired second quarter by center Joakim Noah (8 points, 3 rebounds, 4-of-4 shooting). But the Sixers were confident too, hanging close – and then taking complete control in the third quarter.

Philadelphia outscored the Bulls 36-14. It missed only seven of its 22 shots, outrebounded the home team 14-5, limited Chicago to 5-of-20 shooting and got 18 points combined from Evan Turner (11) and Jrue Holiday (7). The Sixers continued to outhustle and outrun Chicago in the fourth, and by the five-minute mark of the final quarter, fans were streaming out of United Center. C.J. Watson, Rose’s backup, lost his personal matchup with Holiday, 26-12.

And Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer, with eight and nine points respectively, were horrible in a team-wide flat performance.

The Bulls head to Philadelphia now for Games 3 (Friday) and 4 (Sunday) with no momentum, a lot of doubt, gloom and doom about this postseason and questions even about next season, so dependent on Rose’s recovery and rehab. The Captain himself might not have been able to inspire the troops for this one.


  1. SAD says:

    its all over for the bulls no championship this year

  2. Loud City says:

    Well the Heat have to beat no one except themselves to get to the championship while the west is really going to be up in the air in the next round. Lakers vs Okc and Spurs vs Grizzlies… Would love to see Okc vs Grizzlies western conference finals it was so exciting last year….In the end though OKC vs Heat OKC takes it in the 7th game. Keep in mind if it does come down to OKC Vs Heat OKC has homecourt advantage….Loud city loud loud city bitch.

  3. The Steers… BRAVO!

  4. aaron says:

    im a OKC fan and i want to see them win but lets be real here history tell us its probably gonna be the spurs who win it all, anyone remember finals of 07 yea lebron just another blimp on the radar to them

  5. YXZ says:

    Rose’s injury shattered Chicago’s confidence and hopes of becoming NBA Champs. Chicago could’ve even beaten Miami with Rose fully healthy and in top form, but now they might not even get past the Sixers and if they do, the Celtics would eliminate them in the next round anyway. The road is perfectly paved for Miami to get to the Finals, where I highly doubt Lebron will miss his second chance in a row of getting an NBA ring. Miami => NBA Champs, Lebron => Regular Season MVP, D-Wade or Lebron => Finals MVP. I hope the Lakers or OKC reach the Finals and somebody knocks Popovich…uhhhh I mean the Spurs out. Anybody that isn’t a San Antonio fan would rather watch Miami against one of those 2 teams at least from a show/star power perspective.

  6. Zach Gillette says:

    I feel like everyone is forgetting that the Bulls attained the best record in the NBA with the roster they had in game 2 for the majority of the season.

    • Blaziken48 says:

      For real. I’ve been reading these comments and am really wondering how the “Rose-less Bulls” are supposed to be as awful as everyone is saying… As a Bulls and Memphis Tigers fan, I’m devestated that D-Rose can’t play. But the best record in the NBA without him? How can anyone say they won’t win another game? I am sensing A LOT of haters.

  7. The bulls is not out of it at all. The team has something to prove now more then anything. And that’s making it happen for there captain drose. My bulls will prevail the sixers got lucky and luck runs out…..

    • Marcus Iron says:

      Not really my sixers are way better than the roseless bulls sorry man but the bulls won’t win another game without rose the series will end 4-1. y’all get ready for next year.

      • Blaziken48 says:

        I realize D-Rose is VERY good, but you forget they got the best record in the NBA without him. No way this series ends 4-1 in the Sixers favor. Now I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended 4-1, but you got the wrong team on the winning side.

  8. OMG says:

    Bulls aint going nowhere right now they r too weak,their morale is destroyed, an easy target for any good team. Lucky them only the heat are a force right now so i doubt any suprises will happen but anyway if they make it or not, it doesnt really matter they are no match for the heat. The heat are too good for any eastern team, Lebron, Dwade and the rest of the crew will chew up, stomp,exterminate, DESTROY all those role and bench players they r gunna face on the road to the nba finals, probably 1 or 2 loses at most for the heat till the nba finals and their first meeting with a good team that can match them.

  9. chitown says:

    This was just game 2 and there is no need to panic. I highly doubt the sixers are going to shoot 60% for the rest of the series. The bulls need to limit the sixers in transition. That will be a key for them the next game. Limit the sixers in transition and be quicker on switches to defend against the pick and pop. Reduce the number of open looks they get. Protect the ball (which will limit them in transition) and reduce iso plays for Watson and lucas. I think they’re dribbling just a bit too much.

    I’d like to see a bit more high low action. They are going to try and limit korver and rip right off the bat. I think getting booz going early will really benefit the team. Yeah he shot 40%, but he’s not getting that many looks. Gibson needs to do a better job of setting screens for lucas. He was setting atrocious screens the whole game.

  10. SixerFan says:

    The Sixers will end up beating the bulls the next 2 games, lose game 5, win game 6 and move on to the next round, bulls’ season is over without rose and bull fans have to deal with it. Its unfortunate that the team has to rely so much on DRose to much, unlike the Sixers where the starting line up each puts up 10 pts each minimum, where they can replace a started if injured, with the bench !!

    • leo says:

      heard of the benchmob?

      • Matt says:

        Ok it’s not like the Sixers have to rely on Holdiay @ all the bulls will bounce back they played half the season without him and they just have to continnue to play hard and Noah’s gotta take more jump shots :p

  11. KayWadeFan says:

    it was only one game. As a MIAMI HEAT fan, i am praying for the Bulls to win this series and the next so we meet them. it will be fun to watch

  12. EliteGuard009 says:

    I for myself can feel this dark foreboding for the Bulls, especially now they will head to the nest of the Hawks. D.Rose’s presence is a must to boost their morale, unfortunately there is none. Without D.Rose, Hawks is too much of an enemy for the bewildered Bulls.

  13. KevinB says:

    Bulls played with great heart in the first half. Do not know what happened at halftime, but knowing the bulls, the tide just turned as emotions flowed. Once they get their heads back from the emotions (HOPEFULLY SOON) the bulls should be able to rally up and slip past the sixers and keep moving on to the road of Champions.. GO BULLS!!!

  14. Saeed says:

    Proud of my Sixers, happy to see them even the series so far, and to win on the road in Chicago by as many points as they did. I don’t expect the Sixers to win the series but I’m happy to see how competitive they have remained. Go Sixers!

  15. CarlosKing says:

    Still looking forward for the Bulls to Win… from a Heat Fan

  16. chibulls2012 says:

    17 point loss, doesn’t look like rose could have made much a difference even if he were playing. this is just one of those nights for the bulls. they shot terribly the entire second half, while philly played unbelievably, shooting around 60%. as it was a worrisome performance the the bulls, i, along with anybody in their right mind, still believe they will win this series. as for the next ones, that will be up to coach thibs and the remaining roster to figure out, but a getting blown out by an 8 seed sure isn’t helping much optimism.

    • ReallyMan says:

      Hah, you actually think Jrue Holiday would’ve gone 11-12 from the field till late in the fourth with Rose on him, my oh my..

      • chibulls2012 says:

        no, but he also wouldn’t be able to account for carlos boozer and luol deng combining for 17 points and 10 rebounds. plus, there were plently of other sixers scoring. lou williams, evan turner, andre iguodala, etc. if d-rose had played and guarded holiday, he could have easily dumped it off to one of them. derrick rose is very good, but last time i checked he can’t magically make his teammates perform, and that’s what it came down to in this game. if you’re saying jrue holiday is the only reason they won this game then you were watching the wrong channel.

  17. kobe24 says:

    bulls cant win w/o rose…. period.
    hell, they cant even beat miami with d-rose.

    spurs-heat in finals.

    • Jan says:

      Strange, since the Bulls won vs Miami w/o Derrick Rose…

      Anyway, doors wide open for Miami to get to the Finals and for LeBron “the flopper” James to get his MVP (still with Kevin Durant would win it). James would be better off playing Soccer with his “acting skills” he once again displayed in game 1 vs NY, a disgrace to basketball… He has the talent and ideal body for basketball, why did he have to bring it the flopping and “”supermodel” like behavior I do not understand.

      • Sick says:

        that was regular game moron…
        they can’t beat the no. 8 sixers w/o rose…

      • dgosse says:

        Jan, you jealous dawg? If you’re good at “flopping” then use it to your advantage until the NBA comes up with the new rule coming up in the future about flopping plays. Some players can do it good and some can’t. But that screen set by Chandler was illegal and caught Lebron off guard. Lebron could’ve bulldozed his way through Chandler if he knew the screen was being set. (According to you Lebron has the ideal body)

      • Jack says:

        u are just jealouz of the hype lebron has,..u blame the media,..ESPN and the likes, even charles THE LOSER barkley, blame him blame them, theyre making this guy so tough,..and even to the extent of acting,..as u said! well hater is always a hater,..

      • Jose631 says:

        Jan you are such a hater, are you mad that your chicago bulls cant win a playoff series without derick rose ? Please learn about basketball bfore u type thiscry baby comments about lebron, what tyson chandler did pushing lebron is not aceptable and lebron is smart enough to flop just a little bit, anyways, al least you recognise that miami is gonna make it to the finals,and yes we can win without lebron or w/o d wade unlike your bulls, you know what this players do by taking cheap shots at the king and at flash, it only makes them mad and when they get mad they are even more lethal……………………….. for all the haters : lookout……………………………… HEAT WAVE COMING……………. 2012 nba CHAMPS for shoooo……

      • S27M says:

        Jan is it that time of the month again.
        YOU reak with scent of a genuine hater. Rule of thumb in life is to maximize every opportunity you get and LeBron does that pretty well by getting to the line on almost every shot.
        Your thoughts are a disgrace to basketball.

      • Blaziken48 says:

        Jose631 Really now? Really? That’s probably the most ridiclous thing I’ve ever heard. If the Heat were missing just one of the two, you’d be done. Did you see how they performed at the end of the season without them? Sorry but that was just plain stupid. As for the Bulls, they have very deep depth on the bench. This was just one of those games. They didn’t earn the best record in the league for nothing.

    • Bullsfolife says:

      Rgith on, lebron, wade, and bosh are the biggest floppers in the NBA. The three kings my a$$, more like the three drama-queens. I don’t know why heat fans never have anything intelligent to say about the situation. I doubt he was talking about the chandler incident, there’s like…TONS of footage where lebron fake people even TOUCHING him. Is it ILLEGAL to flop?? Technically no, but is it honorable? Not at all, you would think they wouldn’t need the help from the refs since “They’re so beastly”. Use what to their advantage? Lying?? I PROMISE you, that if the opponents were winning with this flopping(shoe on the other foot). I absolutely GUARANTEE everyone that we would’ve have complaints like this “Whatever, you guys only win because you guys can play the game like men. WE do it on pure skill, we have lebron, wade, and bosh and we don’t need to go to such lengths to win a game!” =/ So please…save all your fake justification, and just admit..you’re not THAT great, without the flopping. OR, don’t compare floppers to the greats because that’s not apart of the game.

    • uih7866 says:

      Yes, but they beat Cryami TWICE using only their bench. 😉

      Jus sayin’.

      Lechoke FTL