Saturday, April 18, 2009
With Kevin Garnett possibly out for the entire Playoffs, we already figured the Celtics wouldn't repeat as Champions. But now, it looks as though Boston will have a hard time getting out of the first round.
Last year, Boston struggled with the Atlanta Hawks in the first round and Ray Allen was nonexistent.
Even without KG, the Celtics came into their series with the Bulls as heavy favorites. Many even see the Celtics getting to the Conference Finals.
With Derrick Rose leading the charge, the Bulls stole Game 1 and home court advantage of the first round series.
Rose looked anything like a rookie, as finished with a game high 36 points to go along with 11 assists. In fact, the 36 points tied the record for most points by a rookie in a playoff debut.
Rose now shares that record with one Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Chicago was up 9 points at half, but the defending champs came back. The two teams seesawed the lead back and forth in the 4th quarter. The Celtics had a 96-95 lead when Rajon Rondo fouled Rose away from the ball with 9.4 seconds left in the 4th quarter.
Rose hit both free throws to give the Bulls a one point lead. On Boston's ensuing possession, Joakim fouled Paul Pierce with 2.6 left. "The Truth" had a chance to seal the game for the Celtics as he hit the first foul shot. The truth be told, Pierce uncharacteristically missed the second shot and we went to overtime.
You thought for sure now the less experienced Bulls team would fold on the road. But Chicago held it together and and was up 105-103 with the Celtics having one last shot. Ray Allen got an open look on the baseline to tie the game again, but missed. Allen finished the game 1-12 from the field, mirroring his early playoff performance from a year ago.
Boy, how far has Derrick Rose come? He's easily the rookie of the year. But remember just over a year ago as a freshmen at Memphis, it was Rose who struggled at the foul line and missed a free throw at the end of the game that would have put the game away and given Memphis a National Championship.
In first ever playoff game, on the road, Rose was 12-12 from the free throw line.