People say it all of the time. Playoff basketball is much different than that of the regular season.
The Chicago Bulls are learning that firsthand after a brutal third quarter in which the Philadelphia 76ers erased an eight-point deficit by outscoring Chicago 36-14. In the process, Philadelphia evened their first-round series at a game apiece.
They also reminded everyone of what they already knew. Superstars make all of the difference in playoff basketball.
The Bulls don't have that superstar after Derrick Rose tore his ACL in Game 1, and they will be reminded of it in every playoff game for the rest of the season.
The Bulls are used to playing without Rose in the lineup, going an impressive 18-9 without the services of their superstar during the regular season.
But this is not the regular season, and the results will likely be different. It's all about the superstars in the playoffs. Superstars step up and make plays when plays need to be made in the postseason, and the Bulls will be without that factor for the rest of the season.
The Dallas Mavericks showed last season how to win a championship with one superstar in Dirk Nowitzki and a bunch of good complementary pieces playing as a team.
How far can the Bulls go without Rose?
The Bulls have very good complementary pieces and play as well as a team as anyone in the NBA, but without that superstar, they have little chance the rest of the way.
In the postseason, you must have that difference-maker, and that was Rose.
Chicago can rebound and still make a good showing for themselves, but without Rose it may be tough to win more than one series.
For a second, forget the 21.8 PPG and 7.9 APG Rose averaged in the regular season. Think about what his injury did to the rest of the team emotionally. That's a lot to overcome for any team.
In the playoffs, superstars make plays at both ends of the floor when their team desperately needs it. Chicago could have used some of that Tuesday night.
Superstars make all the difference come playoff time.
Looking back at the past 54 NBA champions, 50 of them (93 percent) had a member of the All-NBA First Team during the four years preceding the championship season. In other words, an NBA championship roster should include a top-five caliber player operating at the top of his game.
Two of the teams that didn't, the 1976-77 Portland Trail Blazers and the 1978-79 Seattle SuperSonics, had players who were named All-NBA First Team in subsequent seasons, Bill Walton and Dennis Johnson.
The same can be said for having a player on the All-Defensive First Team, as 83 percent of NBA champions have had a member of that unit as well.
Superstars make all the difference in the world when the playoffs tip off, and unfortunately for the Chicago Bulls, their guy is wearing street clothes.
So while the Bulls may compete and try to make a playoff run, their chances are really slim to win the NBA championship.
They don't have the superstar to do so.