When All-Star point guard Derrick Rose was ruled out with an ACL tear last Saturday, every team's playoff chances were greatly impacted. After losing their star player, the No. 1 seeded Bulls are no longer top championship contenders.
However, out of all of the teams impacted by the sudden injury of Rose, arguably no team has caught a bigger break than the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs have recently become the league's hottest team, after ending the season on their third double-digit win streak, and can credit this mainly to the incredible performance of Tony Parker.
Playing better than anyone else at his position, Parker has earned himself a spot in MVP considerations. With Rose sidelined, few guards can even be considered equal in talent if their team were to cross paths with San Antonio.
On a similar note, Tom Thibodeau's likely pre-Finals elimination makes Gregg Popovich the undoubted best contending coach. While he was already the best in the league, Thibodeau was one of the few who, if given the chance, could possibly out-coach the Spurs legend.
The Bulls also entered the postseason with the league's best record, giving them home court advantage in every possible matchup. The Spurs, who finished with the second-best record, have the Game 7 advantage in nearly every matchup, excluding Chicago.
However, sans Rose, the Bulls have a very little shot at reaching the Finals, which is the only possible place in which the No. 1 seeded Spurs could face their Eastern counterparts.
The Bulls were one of two teams to beat San Antonio without the Spurs getting revenge at some other point in the season. With them out of the picture, the Spurs know the keys to beating almost every other contending team, with the exception—and it's a big one—of Miami.
While the injury to Rose in no way guarantees the franchise its fifth ring, it does eliminate what might have been their most competitive opponent.