The NBA Playoffs got off to a sterling start today as the seventh-seeded Bulls went into the TD Banknorth Garden and upset the #2 seed Celtics in overtime, 105-103. If you’re interested in the most concise recap of the game, we offer these four words: “Holy crap, Derrick Rose.”
Derrick Rose was almost unguardable this afternoon, hit 12 of his 19 shots, all 12 of his free throws, and tied a rookie record by scoring 36 points in his first playoff game, placing him in the company of such no-names as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and Tim Duncan. The thing of it is, though, you could make the argument that Rose didn’t even win the battle of the point guards today.
On the other side of the ball, Rajon Rondo went a little ape himself, leading Boston with 29 points, 7 boards, and 9 assists; moreover, Rondo turned the ball over once, and that only came after a pass bounced off of an inattentive Kendrick Perkins‘ hands. Rose, by comparison, registered five turnovers and fouled out near the end of the game; he is still a rookie, after all.
The game eventually came down to supporting casts, and Chicago’s came through in spades. If we were to give you a choice between Tyrus Thomas or Ray Allen as “guy who swings overtime by nailing three straight long jumpers,” you’d likely choose Allen. Hell, if we let you choose between Thomas and, oh, Helen Keller, you’d still be hesitant to opt for Thomas. “Maybe she got hot.” In actuality, Helen Keller couldn’t play basketball because she kept getting distracted by trying to read the bumps on the ball.
But no, it was Tyrus freaking Thomas nailing shot after shot, eventually finishing with 16 points on the day; Allen, by comparison, missed an impossible final shot to finish 1-12 on the afternoon, winning the “Even A Blogger Can Do That” award for the evening. Almost as atrocious as Allen’s offense was Allen’s defense; Ben Gordon repeatedly made Ray-Ray look foolish, eventually sending the former All-Star to the bench for spells in crunch time.
This is, to say the least, bad news for the Celtics. While this win took superlative efforts from Rose, Thomas, and Joakim Noah (11 points, 17 boards, 3 blocks) an abortion of a night from Allen, and still went to overtime, it didn’t seem like anything (outside of Ty Thomas hitting everything in sight) was implausible. I mean, it wasn’t that much of an upset. Whether Kevin Garnett’s absence is wearing on the Celtics more than we would have guessed is something only the team knows. Either way, it’s time for them to get their act together, or it’s one-and-done for the defending champs.