When news broke that Kevin Garnett would miss the Celtics first round series with the Chicago Bulls, most people thought that while it greatly affected the defending champion's chances of repeating, it probably wouldn't cost them much against the Bulls.
Apparently Kevin Garnett was more important than anyone thought.
The Bulls shocked the world on Saturday afternoon by pulling off a stunning 105-103 victory in overtime at the TD Banknorth Garden. For anybody who was wondering how Derrick Rose would handle playing in his very first playoff game, well, he took it pretty well.
Rose finished the game with 36 points on 12-of-19 shooting, and a lovely 12-for-12 performance from the free throw line. Oh, and those 11 assists were nice as well. More importantly, down the stretch Rose hit big bucket after big bucket to keep the Bulls in the lead or grab it back.
Though Derrick wasn't alone. Ben Gordon had 20 points, Tyrus Thomas finished with 16 (six in the overtime) and hit some key shots late, while Joakim Noah dropped in 11 points and pulled down 17 rebounds. Both Noah and Thomas finished with three blocks apiece as well.
Of course, it's important that the team keeps this victory in perspective. Winning the first game of the series is huge, as it gives the team confidence that they can beat Boston, and it wrestles home-court advantage away in the series. Still, after losing this game the Bulls can be sure the defending champs will be on a mission in game two. They can also be pretty sure that Ray Allen is going to play better than he did on Saturday, when he made only one of the twelve shots he took.
Speaking of game two, it's Monday night back in Beantown and it also happens to be the 23rd anniversary of Michael Jordan's 63-point performance in the 1986 playoffs. The Bulls lost that game, but they'll probably take half that many points from Derrick Rose and a victory.