The Chicago Bulls were primed to run through the NBA playoffs and possibly, the NBA Finals. Fate had different plans however, and the Bulls are now forced to make their run without their superstar, Derrick Rose.
With their first round series with the Philadelphia 76ers tied up at one, the Bulls will have an extremely hard road the rest of the playoffs.
Here, is an analysis of a few of the obstacles.
All Derrick Rose was doing Saturday in Game 1 was trying to fake out the Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes on the way to the hole.
What happened instead was Rose destroyed the ACL in his left knee and painfully ended his playoff run with his Chicago Bulls.
Rose is the Bulls' superstar, and his offense and double/triple teams he draws will be sorely missed.
Tell you what, the Bulls don't lose 109-92 Tuesday to the 76ers if Rose was in.
Rose is the Bulls' offensive catalyst. Overcoming his absence will be a great obstacle on Chicago's way to an NBA Finals win.
Evan Turner grew up in Chicago and idolized the Chicago Bulls as a kid.
Now, the St. Joseph and Ohio State product is shredding the Bulls in these NBA playoffs.
The second-year Philadelphia 76er swingman has averaged 15.5 points, 5.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds in his two playoff games against the Bulls.
Turner, along with teammate Andre Iguodala, was key in sparking Philly's 36-14 third-quarter run in Game 2. Turner and Iguodala pushed the ball on fast breaks which led to very easy slams and alley-oops.
Not only that, but 76ers coach Doug Collins has Turner defend Bulls point guard C.J. Watson. Turner's five-inch, 30-pound advantage on Watson was key in slowing down Chicago's attack.
John Lucas III did score 15 points and distributed four assists in Game 2 against the Philadelphia 76ers, yet this spitfire point guard is an obstacle to the Chicago Bulls' NBA title hopes.
Hear me out.
While Lucas can drop some points on the opposition, the 5'11" reserve seems to always dribble near half court until there is about four ticks left on the shot clock.
Lucas causes the Bulls to shoot low percentage attempts and disrupts a consistent offensive flow.
Lucas will play at least 12 minutes a game to spell C.J. Watson, but the Oklahoma State product is more of a detriment than an asset.
The 30-year-old Duke product instead was inked by the Chicago Bulls to the tune of $80 million and Boozer has struggled to live up to that contract ever since.
Boozer did not perform well during last year's playoff run (a career-low 12.6 points and 43.3 percent shooting) and is scoring a measly nine points a night facing the Philadelphia 76ers.
With Derrick Rose out, Boozer needs to get into the post more and power his way to baskets.
The 6'9", 245-pound Boozer often becomes too reliant on his mid-range jumper and instead needs to use his strong body to drive the lane or baseline for layups and dunks.
If Boozer struggles to score 15 points a game, the Bulls will be cooked really soon.
If the Chicago Bulls beat the Philadelphia 76ers and the winner of the Atlanta Hawks/Boston Celtics series, the fearsome Miami Heat stand as a formidable foe.
That's three superstars to Chicago's (now) zero.
Not only that, but their bench of Shane Battier, Norris Cole, Mike Miller and Joel Anthony make the Heat nine deep, which erases much of Chicago's advantage with the Bench Mob.
The Heat are on a mission to win the NBA Finals, and they will likely trounce a Rose-less Bulls team.