Surprisingly enough, the Chicago Bulls dispatched the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the 2013 Eastern Conference semifinals, 93-86.
What wasn’t shocking was that Derrick Rose sat on the bench watching for the entirety of the game, much the same as he has been for the duration of the 2012-13 campaign.
Simply put, the Bulls have found the ultimate success without D-Rose in the lineup and they do not need the superstar point guard to return. Chicago may even be worse for it, if the 2011 MVP decided to join the active roster at this juncture.
This is a team that fought through seven grueling games and forged an identity in the first round against the Brooklyn Nets.
Luol Deng attempted to come back from a spinal tap after a meningitis scare, Joakim Noah hobbled around the court on one good foot, Kirk Hinrich destroyed his calf in a triple-overtime thriller, Nate Robinson spent a good chunk of time throwing up in a garbage can on the sideline due to flu complications in Game 6 and the rest of the squad has gritted through various ailments to get to this point.
It just wouldn’t be fair to these warriors to have Rose, who has been cleared to play for approximately two months, suddenly return with an advantage against the defending champions.
Nor would D-Rose likely even make a difference, as the All-Star PG has plenty of rust to shake off. Coming back against arguably the top defensive team in the league in the Heat just wouldn’t be a wise decision.
The tenacious defenders on the Miami roster would make things extremely hard on Rose and potentially shake his confidence going forward.
The Bulls know that they need Rose to win titles in the long-term, so allowing him to throw himself to wolves would be foolish.
Not to mention, Chicago has a huge advantage going forward in this series after stealing Game 1—often thought to be the most pivotal contest in a playoff matchup.
If these battle-hardened Bulls can keep it up and take care of business at home, there is an extremely good chance they advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
While Rose will be a great piece to have in the lineup for the 2013-14 campaign, he’s simply not going to make a difference in this postseason and needs to let his teammates finish what they have started.