Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose (C) is helped off the court after getting hurt during the second half of their NBA Eastern Conference quarter-final playoff basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Chicago, April 28, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young
Chicago and Miami opened the National Basketball Association post-season with comfortable wins on Saturday but the Bulls paid a steep price for their victory when Derrick Rose was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
There were smiles all around in Miami as the Heat, led by 32 points from LeBron James, scorched the New York Knicks 100-67 to take control of their best-of-seven Eastern conference series.
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But few were smiling in Chicago after watching Rose crumple to the floor in pain late in the Bulls' 103-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Two hours after the game ended, the Bulls announced the All-Star guard's season was over because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Rose had missed 27 games this season because of various injuries and there had been concerns about his fitness coming into the playoffs.
He eased some of that concern as he poured in a game-high 23 points while adding nine rebounds and nine assists but the health of the league's most valuable player was again front and center when he landed awkwardly on his left knee and crashed to the ground late in the game.
Medical staff rushed onto the court and examined Rose for several minutes before he was helped to the locker room.
Afterwards, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was questioned on why Rose was even in the game with two minutes to play and Chicago hold a double-digit lead.
"I do not work backward like you guys," Thibodeau told reporters. "The score was going the other way. He's got to play.
"Derrick has to work on finishing, on closing. Our team did not handle that part great. That's what I was thinking."
Rose's injury took away from a bright start to the post-season for the top-seeded Bulls, who also received a 19-point contribution from Richard Hamilton while Luol Deng chipped in with 17 and Joakim Noah added 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Elton Brand led the eighth-seeded 76ers with 19 points.
Game Two of the best-of-seven series is set for Tuesday, also in Chicago.
There was little drama in South Beach as the Heat began their title chase in impressive style.
After a close opening quarter, the Heat took charge in the second by outscoring the Knicks 30-13, James going on a 9-0 run to end half and send Miami into the intermission with a commanding 54-31 advantage. They never let off the gas.
Dwyane Wade contributed 19 points to the win while the other member of Miami's 'Big Three', Chris Bosh, had nine points and six rebounds.
J.R. Smith had 17 points off the bench for the Knicks while Carmelo Anthony had 11 points to go along with 10 rebounds.