Originally posted on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 4/29/12

The first day of the postseason is supposed to mark the beginning of the most exciting time of the year for an NBA fan.  From this point on, all of the games are nationally televised.  Those whose teams didn’t make it to this point have the draft to look forward to, and we’ve also got the Olympics on the horizon this year.  Throw in some improving weather and extended daylight and it’s pretty damn difficult not to feel good… barring a knee injury to the MVP of the league.

Late in Chicago’s 101-93 victory over the Sixers–the first game of the afternoon–Derrick Rose planted for a routine jump stop.  Immediately, it was clear that something had gone wrong.  The non-contact nature of the injury caused us all to fear the worst, and those fears were realized after an MRI revealed a torn ACL.

In that instant the Bulls may as well have gone from 1-0 to 0-4.  Their season is over, and that’s not even the biggest concern in Chicago.  A torn ACL isn’t a death sentence, but it’s not exactly a sprained ankle, either.  It’s possible that this injury could cause Rose to miss time next season, and even if he’s back in October he probably won’t be back at full strength.  Personally, I feel like the timetable is almost insignificant at this point.  I simply hope to see vintage D-Rose driving the lane and destroying rims again, at whatever point that may come.

As for Tom Thibodeau’s decision to keep Rose in the game, I think it’s unfair to place any blame on him.  This is the playoffs, when no chances are to be taken, and the Sixers had trimmed the lead from 20 to 12.  I’m sure Thibodeau was simply focused on finishing the game strong.  Had the lead remained closer to 20 then the questions would be more reasonable.

As if watching Derrick Rose go down in the playoff opener wasn’t discouraging enough, things got plain depressing when promising rookie Iman Shumpert suffered the same exact injury in New York’s 33-point loss to Miami.  Like Rose, who missed about 40 percent of the regular season, Shumpert was frequently forced to sit throughout his rookie campaign with various injuries to his knees and ankles.  While neither of the injuries suffered yesterday are considered to be related to the others, one has to wonder if overcompensation played a role.  It’s awfully sad to think that an admirable will to play through pain may have led to this unfortunate turn of events.

Thankfully, there were two match ups that ended injury-free.  The Magic surprised the Pacers, who shot just 34.5 percent from the floor, by taking game one in Indiana.  Jason Richardson knocked down five threes–including two in the final three minutes–as Indiana failed to score on their last nine trips.  They got three shots off during one late-game possession and still failed to score, and Danny Granger missed two free throws about a minute before his traveling violation sealed the deal.  Basically, everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong for Indiana.  They doubled Orlando’s free throw attempts (22-11), yet they were able to convert less than 60 percent of the time.  They blew a seven-point fourth-quarter lead even though Orlando only scored 17 in the fourth themselves.  That’s not easy to do, and I don’t expect that the Pacers will duplicate the feat.  Glen Davis talked a lot of postgame mess about doubters, huge wins, and backs against walls, and he’s likely to look pretty silly about a week from now.  Enjoy your moment, Baby.  It doesn’t figure to last long.

In the late game, Dallas very nearly took a 1-0 lead in Oklahoma City.  Their turnovers and missed layups ended up coming back to haunt them, though.  In the fourth quarter alone the Mavericks missed at least four dunks/layups and had another couple blocked.  Dirk Nowitzki twice lost the ball in the final two minutes, once again showing that he’s simply not the player he was last spring.  Still, the Mavericks led by one with under 10 ticks remaining.  Kevin Durant was just 9-26 at the time, but he’d end up getting a bounce on a horrible shot that really had no business winning an important basketball game.

The Mavs had a million opportunities to put this thing away, but they never extended their advantage.  Their inability to execute opened the door for a bullsh!t shot, which was made.  This game, to me, serves as a prime example of why teams can’t be allowed to hang around.  The way I see it, Dallas should’ve won and blew a hell of an opportunity.

Let’s hope we can get through day two without any serious injuries, and I’ll try to come through with a more positive, in-depth post tomorrow.

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