Derrick Rose Bullied The Garnett-less Boston Celtics
The Chicago Bulls pulled off a chilling upset over the 2008 NBA Defending Champions Boston Celtics largely in part to rookie sensation Derrick Rose. The Celtics did not intimidate Rose one bit, as he plowed his way to a record breaking 36 points, 4 rebounds and 11 assists, in his 50 minutes playoff debut.
The Kevin Garnett-less Celtics did their best to pick up the slack, but the duo Rose and Noah played excellent defense and at times presented match-up problems for the down and out Celtics. It was obvious that Boston was missing the leadership, scoring and game intensity of Garnett.
With KG missing from the lineup, the Bulls were able to dedicate all the attention and strategy “boxing in” Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Ray Allen was definitely feeling the heat in the kitchen, as he shot 1 for 12 from the field. Pierce and Dondo tried to make a run at the scoring, but Rose and the boys kept them on a pivot. Celtics managed to keep the game close, but they failed to show any fire in the second half. Kevin Garnett, who decided to stay in the locker room after the first half, said that he did not want to be a distraction. In my humble opinion, the distraction on the field was Mr. Rose and his cool and calm demeanor. It was more than obvious that Garnett’s loss was felt as Rose dissected and carved up scoring opportunities – point after point. Boston who failed to answer their call of duty down the stretch seemed incapable of even defending the home court.
Collectively, Pierce and Allen had a total of 8 points in the first half, but Rajon Dondo kept Boston in the game. Pierce who got going in the second half, missed a key free throw with 2.6 seconds left in regulation, which would have put Boston up by one.
Looking back at the game, the biggest match up was that of Rose and Dondo going down the stretch. Even though Dondo scored 29 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists in 44 minutes, Rose penetrated the lane knowing that KG was not there to challenge him. Rose was poised and confident and did not look like he needed the much talked about experience to take him over the hump.
In Rose’s debut he was better than Jordan and matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record in the 105-103 overtime win. Bulls’ Tyrus Thomas contributed 6 of the 8 points scored by the Bulls in overtime. Ray Allen continued to struggle as he missed a baseline shot to cause the second overtime. Celtics will have to regroup for the next game.