Derrick Rose crumbled to the floor, clutching his left knee. His season is over and the Bulls’ title hopes just might be finished, too.
Rose will miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee late in host Chicago’s 103-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Saturday’s playoff opener, casting a big cloud over a team eyeing a championship run.
He scored 23 points and was playing more like the league’s reigning MVP after missing 27 games because of injuries during the regular season, but his injury-plagued season came to an end as the Bulls were wrapping up an impressive victory.
Rose crumbled to the court after he drove the lane with about 1:20 left and the Bulls leading by 12. Team medical personnel immediately rushed out and tended to Rose for several minutes as he was writhing in pain near the baseline before helping him to the locker room. Rose was taken to the hospital, and the results of the MRI were not good.
Whether Rose should have been in the game at that point figures to be debated for a long time around Chicago. He checked back in with just under eight minutes left and the lead got as high as 20 shortly after that before the Sixers chipped away at it.
With Philadelphia making a push, coach Tom Thibodeau decided to stay with Rose. “I don’t work backward like you guys do,’’ Thibodeau said. “The score was going the other way.’’
Sixers coach Doug Collins also had Thibodeau’s back.
“From his standpoint, he wanted to finish that game for what he did. It’s awful that Derrick got hurt,’’ said Collins.
Rose found his touch after a slow start and also contributed nine rebounds and nine assists. Richard Hamilton added 19 points, Luol Deng scored 17, and Joakim Noah had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Chicago.
Heat 100, Knicks 67 - LeBron James scored 32 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field, Dwyane Wade added 19 points in his first game back after dislocating his left index finger, and host Miami rode the strength of a 32-2 run to easily beat New York in Game 1.
Mario Chalmers added 11 points and nine assists for Miami, which turned 27 New York turnovers into 38 points.
The Knicks were called for 21 fouls in the first half, giving Miami a 28-5 advantage in free throws attempted, and center Tyson Chandler sent James flying on a flagrant foul in the second quarter.
J.R. Smith scored 17 for the Knicks, who have dropped 11 straight playoff games dating to 2001. Carmelo Anthony missed 12 of 15 shots and finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, but the Knicks also lost guard Iman Shumpert for the postseason after he tore a left knee ligament in the third quarter.
After Mike Miller’s trey with 2:22 left in the half capped a 13-0 run by the Heat, Chandler set a back pick near midcourt, one that James never saw coming. The original call was a flagrant-2 against Chandler, which would have meant an automatic ejection, but referees reviewed the play and downgraded it to a flagrant-1.
James made both free throws then banked in a 20-footer while getting hit by Smith 10 seconds later for what became a 5-point possession.
Thunder 99, Mavericks 98 - Kevin Durant scored 25 points and hit the winning jumper from the foul line with 1.5 seconds left to lift host Oklahoma City over Dallas in the opener their Western Conference quarterfinal-round playoff series.
Durant maneuvered to the free throw line and got off a high-arcing shot that hit off the front of the rim and then off the backboard before falling through.
The defending champion Mavericks, who were out of timeouts, could not get a shot off before the buzzer.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 11 of his 25 points in the final five minutes and hit two free throws with nine seconds left to put Dallas ahead.
Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 28 points and Serge Ibaka chipped in 22 points and five blocks. James Harden scored 19 in his first game since suffering a concussion when the Lakers’ Metta World Peace hit him with an elbow last Sunday.
Magic 81, Pacers 77 - Jason Richardson and Jameer Nelson scored 17 points apiece and sixth-seeded Orlando surprised host and third-seeded Indiana in Game 1 of the first-round Eastern Conference quarterfinal.
The Magic overcame a 7-point deficit by holding the Pacers scoreless for the final 4:05. David West scored 19 points to lead the Pacers, but Danny Granger traveled with 7.5 seconds left, sealing Orlando’s win.