The loss of Derrick Rose for the remainder of the playoffs has obviously damaged the top-seeded Chicago Bulls' chances of hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy come season's end, but how will his loss reverberate throughout the rest of the remaining competition?
Bulls Fans Should be Worried, Not Hopeless
Let's keep in mind the Bulls are still a very competent NBA team without their reigning MVP point guard, especially in the fairly weak Eastern Conference playoff picture.
The Bulls were 18-9 when Rose was sidelined during the regular season, with backups C.J. Watson and John Lucas III rising to the occasion as viable, point-guard options.
The regular season, though, is not the postseason, and the Bulls will have their work cut out for them now that they'll be without their superstar point guard.
Chicago's size and depth should be able to push them out of the first round and past the reeling 76ers, but the Bulls will most likely be the underdogs in every series after.
Miami Now the Clear Eastern Conference Favorite
As much as Heat fans were likely looking forward to the entertainment of another showdown between D-Rose's Bulls and their beloved Miami team, it now seems the only clear barrier between the Heat and its second consecutive NBA Finals appearance has all but fallen.
Miami was absolutely dominant in its first playoff game, dismantling the lackluster Knicks 100-67. With such an incredible performance in their opening game, the Heat look primed for another deep Playoff run.
Western Conference Should Be Wary of a Well-Rested Miami Heat Team
Now, clearly we're looking way ahead and making a lot of presumptions here, but who can realistically challenge the Heat in the East now?
Better yet, what team will be able to take Miami past five or six games?
I can't think of anyone, either.
A well rested and healthy Heat team is a scary thought indeed, and just might be what the Western Conference challenger will be up against.
Even with all of these stars seemingly aligning for the Miami Heat and its championship dreams, LeBron and company still have a whole lot of proving themselves to do, and there are still some teams that can hang.