We ‘Knee’d Help!
In what was a highly anticipated first night of the NBA playoffs, two similarly tragic accidents happened. The Chicago Bulls PG, Derrick Rose, fell down to the ground hard with little over a minute left in their game 1 win against the 76ers Saturday afternoon. There were a lot of critics stating that Rose shouldn’t have even been in the game at the point of injury with their double-digit lead and so little time left, but Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau defended his decision by saying, “He’s got to play, and the thing is, we sat him ’till (the 7:52) mark of the fourth and he’s got to work on closing, he’s got to work on finishing. Our team, we didn’t handle that part great. That was what I was thinking.” Rose’s injury ended up being a torn ACL which will remove him from the rest of these playoffs, as well as preventing him from being able to participate in this upcoming Olympic games.
Down in South Beach two atrocities happened. One was the actual game 1 match-up between my Knicks and the countrywide hated Miami Heat, and the second was the devastating and heartbreaking season ending injury to fan-favorite rookie, Iman Shumpert. Shumpert’s injury ended up being a torn ACL as well and coincidentally located on his left knee, which is the same knee as Rose. Iman was dribbling the ball up the court midway through the third quarter when he tried to dribble behind his back and pulled up in agonizing pain while falling straight to the ground. As I was watching the game, I stood up at the sight of Sumpert collapsing and turned to my fellow Sports Debaters writer, NYBobby, and said “His season is over.” Unfortunately I was right and now the Knicks are going to have to find a replacement for their best perimeter defender.
Although the skill level of these two players are incomparable, with Rose being last seasons MVP and Shumpert being just a rookie, the impact of the injuries are just as substantial. Throughout the regular season the Bulls had to play without the injury-prone Rose for 27 games and succeeded at a remarkable rate with their deep bench and solid defense. But let’s put that in perspective by remembering that was the regular season and the Bulls are infinitely better with Rose on the court and now they stand no chance of making the Championship run they once were shooting for. Luckily for the Bulls, they have their first round match-up against the fast-crumbling Philadelphia 76ers and should still be able to make it to round 2 sans Rose. The Knicks are not that fortunate because their first round match-up is against the now Eastern Conference favorite Miami Heat. The loss of Shumpert was felt immediately around the Knicks team even prompting J.R. Smith to say, “It hurts your spirits when you see your best defensive player go down like that. We have a lot of people and hopefully someone can step up for him.” Amare Stoudemire was also noticeably distraught when he said, “My prayers are out for him.” Shumpert was the Knicks key guy in shutting down the high-flying Dwayne Wade and now the Knicks are left with a huge void in their defense. I know I predicted the Knicks to be able to pull off 3 wins during this best-of-seven series, but that now seems like a stretch unless coach Woodson has something up his sleeve that we don’t know about.