Reporting Nick Shepkowski
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By Nick Shepkowski-
(CBS) The Bulls pulled away from the 76ers in what wound up being a 103-91 win in game one of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Forget the 1-0 lead in the playoff series, forget the free Big Mac’s for all the fans, this was as depressing as you’ll find a locker room after a playoff victory.
After what appeared to be a serious injury to Derrick Rose’s knee, the Bulls locker room felt more like that of a team that had just been eliminated from the playoffs, not of one that had just gone up 1-0 in their first round series.
“”It might be one of the saddest wins we’ve ever had” Carlos Boozer said after the game, and justifiably so.
With Derrick Rose at 100% the Bulls goal of winning the Eastern Conference and potentially an NBA Championship is already challenging enough. The Bulls with Rose at less than 100% take a hit from there, and without Rose at all have no chance whatsoever in competing for an NBA crown.
“It’s tough, I feel really bad for him,” Kyle Korver said, ”He wants to be out there as bad as anyone else and I just feel bad for him.”
Korver was able to speak with Rose after the game and noted that Derrick wasn’t up for saying much.
“He’s not really wanting to say a whole lot right now” Korver added.
Taj Gibson on the other hand went on to mention how difficult it is to see a teammate in pain.
“You never want to see one of your teammates go down, especially when you see him and he’s in a lot of pain” Gibson said.
Gibson went on to add that playing without Rose is something the Bulls have done before and that the series is anything but over regardless of the injury.
“We’ve been in this situation before, its only one game” Gibson noted.
As much question as some people will have for why Tom Thibodeau kept Rose in the game with a large lead, Luol Deng remains standing behind his coaches decision to leave the reigning league MVP in the game.
“I don’t know why you would question it, its a playoff game” Deng said.
As for how the Bulls potentially have to play without Rose, John Lucas III promises to be ready to play.
“I’m going to be ready. I’m always focused, always ready to go”.
Saturday’s win put the Bulls ahead of Philadelphia 1-0 in the best of seven series, but their spirits were obviously dampened with the latest injury to their star point guard.
In addition to covering the Bulls for 670TheScore.com, Nick Shepkowski is the associate producer on The McNeil and Spiegel Show, weekdays 9am-1pm on 670 The Score. You can follow Nick on Twitter ”I’m going to be ready. I’m always focused, always ready to go”at @Shep670.