The 2012 NBA Playoffs: An Upset Start

Derrick Rose walks out of Game 1, and walks out
of the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
(image by John Starks/AP)

It’s been a strange beginning, to say the least.

I stayed up early Sunday morning (Manila time) to catch the Chicago-Philly game. I decided to sleep at the end of the third with the Bulls on top by 13.

“That’s pretty much it,” I thought.

The Bulls did win, but, man, they paid a heavy price for it.

And that’s just the first upset of the day.

The second one came when I woke up and tuned in to BTV (Basketball TV here in Manila).
The Knicks got throttled in Game 1 by the Miami Heat. And by throttled I mean THROTTLED! The Heat blew out New York with a point spread of 33 points.

And, yes, Iman Shumpert, one of my nice Fantasy NBA pick-ups, went down with an apparent ACL tear, too.


Oh, but there was still a third upset – a literal sports upset.

The Indiana Pacers, seeded #3 in the East, playing at home against a Dwight Howard-less Orlando Magic team, and leading by 7 with about 4 minutes to go, still found a way to blow it.

The Pacers have never been a favorite of mine, but I’ve always liked Danny Granger’s game. I feel he’s so underrated. He’s also one of my Fantasy NBA keepers. Has been for the past few seasons. I was thrilled to know he and his team had a great chance to get past the first round of the postseason. Now, however, it seems things got a lot tougher. They just handed over the home court edge to Orlando. Boo.

Oh well, at least Kevin Durant and the Thunder won. A classic that one, against the Mavs. That’s gonna be one hell of a first round series.

But what happened to D-Rose still stings.

And this piece of crap reaction from one of Nike’s designers doesn’t help, too.


Do the Bulls get weaker without Rose? Definitely.

Does it mean they’re no longer the favorites against Philly? Hell no.

This is a Bulls team that played a big chunk of this past regular season sans their MVP. And still they secured the best record in the conference. They can still hack it. In fact, there were times in Game 1 when they looked better without Rose.

So what am I saying?

Don’t count the Bulls out.

The Bulls can win without Derrick Rose.

That’s why they’re special.

Also, just to get my two cents in, here are my picks for the individual awards (my buddy, Rollz, already gave his picks here):

COTY: Toss-up between Tom Thibodeau and Gregg Popovich. Thib had to make do without Rose, while Pop guided a team led by aging stars past the OKC Thunder, a team blessed with awesome young stars, for the West’s top spot. Pop gets my nod here.

6MOTY: James Harden. He just makes things so easy for OKC. Best two-way player off the pine in the world. Too bad Metta World Peace messed things up.

MIP: At the start of the season, Spencer Hawes looked really good for this one. When some of Minnesota’s bigs went out, Nikola Pekovic might have merited some notice. But, right now, at the end of the regular season, I’d have to give this to Ryan Anderson. He’s just been awesome for Orlando. His best season by far, and, if he remains consistent, he might extend the season by a few more games.

DPOY: Serge Ibaka is the season’s best blocker. He blocks 1.5 more shots than the next guy, Dwight Howard. BUT, and this clinches it for me, Dwight grabs 10.6 defensive boards per game. Ibaka? Just 4.6. In fact, Ibakas total rpg is 7.6, which is still less than Dwights 10.6 drpg. So this one goes to Dwight. Don’t even talk to me about CP3 leading the league in steals.

ROY: Kyrie Irving. Is anybody else in the same vicinity? Yeah, thought so. He tops all rookies in scoring, he’s 2nd in assists, 4th in FT%, 5th in 3pt%, and 6th in steals.

MVP: Damn. Yes, it should be LeBron James. Not Kevin Durant. Not Kobe Bryant. Not Tony Parker. Not Brian Scalabrine. It just is LeBron James. Hate the guy, but can’t deny his awesome game. Boo.

April 28, 2012 Game Recaps:
CHI over PHI, 103-91
Derrick Rose, saddled with so many injuries in the regular season, is facing one more. His team's season changed in a hop. Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late in Chicago's Game 1 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday afternoon and will miss the remainder of the playoffs. The reigning NBA MVP, who missed 27 games during the regular season with a litany of injuries, had to be helped off the court with 1:10 remaining after driving to a jump-stop in the lane and throwing a pass out to the right. He crawled slowly to the floor and was lying on his back, grasping at his knee for several minutes near the baseline before he was helped off. The tone of the game changed, as did the series, when the Bulls announced hours later the extent of Rose's injury. Richard Hamilton scored 19 points, Luol Deng had 17 and Joakim Noah added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, who also had the No. 1 overall seed last year, but were eliminated by the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Elton Brand had 19 points and seven rebounds to lead the Sixers. Jrue Holiday scored 16, Thaddeus Young added 13 and Turner had 12 points.

Lou Williams and the Sixers have a prime opportunity
to upset the Bulls in the first round.
(image by Nam Y. Huh/AP)

MIA over NYK, 100-67
Still searching for his first NBA championship, LeBron James opened the 2012 playoffs by scoring 32 points on just 14 shots and the Miami Heat dominated the New York Knicks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Saturday. James made 10 of his 14 field goal attempts and 11-of-14 free throws, Dwyane Wade scored 19 points and Mario Chalmers contributed 11 for the Heat, who won their fourth straight over New York to take the early advantage in the best-of-seven series. J.R. Smith led the way with 17 points off the bench for the Knicks, who committed 27 turnovers and 26 fouls. Carmelo Anthony scored 11 points with 10 rebounds but shot just 3-of-15 from the floor.

LeBron James and the Heat scorched the Knicks in
a Game 1 blowout.
(image by Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)

ORL over IND, 81-77
Jason Richardson buried the go-ahead three-pointer, part of a run of 11 unanswered Magic points to the end the game, as Orlando rallied to take Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. Despite lacking the presence of three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard -- sidelined with season-ending back surgery -- Orlando prevented Indiana from scoring in the game's final 4:05. Glen Davis had 16 points to go with 13 rebounds while Richardson and Jameer Nelson finished with 17 points apiece for the Magic, who have won five in a row at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Roy Hibbert's career-high nine blocks for Indiana tied for the second-most in NBA playoff history, and David West led all scorers with 19 points, but the Pacers missed their final nine shots to drop the first test in this best-of- seven series. Game 2 will take place on Monday.

Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis celebrate after the Magic became
the first road team to win in the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
(image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

OKC over DAL, 99-98
Kevin Durant's go-ahead jumper with 1.5 seconds remaining lifted the Oklahoma City Thunder past the defending NBA-champion Mavericks in Game 1 of this Western Conference quarterfinal. After reigning NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki gave Dallas the lead with a pair of free throws with nine seconds remaining in the contest, Durant heaved a high-arcing, off-balance floater from the foul line over the outstretched arms of two Dallas defenders. The ball bounced high off the front of the rim, tantalizing the Oklahoma City faithful before hitting off the backboard and through the net, sending the jubilant home crowd into complete euphoria. Dallas, which was out of timeouts, could not get a shot off before the final buzzer. Durant finished the game with 25 points on 10-of-27 shooting to go with six rebounds and four blocks for the Thunder, who fell to the Mavericks in five games in last year's Western Conference Finals. Nowitzki netted 11 of his 25 points in the final five minutes to pace Dallas.

Kevin Durant is big time. Big time in the clutch.
(image by Garret W. Elwood/Getty Images)

*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Associated Press and the Sports Network.
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