Injuries that occurred during blowouts this weekend have the potential to swing the balance of power for the NBA playoffs and may force teams to face up to difficult questions: Is it ok to rest your superstars even in the playoffs?
The Chicago Bulls lost reigning MVP Derrick Rose late in a blowout win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday. The Clippers’ Caron Butler broke his hand in the third quarter in what was then a blowout game against the Grizzlies. Dwyane Wade even took a few hard hits late in the Heat-Knicks game.
The shortened season resulted in a few teams resting stars in anticipation of the playoffs — and now the playoffs are here. The question that will haunt Bulls fans all summer is going to be: What if Derrick Rose had been on the bench with a double-digit lead?
Of course, we saw the flip side of the coin in the game in which Butler was injured. The Clippers were down by more than 20 points in the fourth quarter when their All-NBA leader Chris Paul led a furious comeback to steal Game 1 from Memphis. This might be the perfect example of why Derrick Rose should still have been on the floor in a blowout opening-round win. Would the Bulls (and their fans) really say it’s worth it to win just their opening game against an inferior opponent?