While the NBA is on COVID-19 hiatus, Jason Oliver is reliving some of the most notable upsets and best bookie beats over the years. This week, an 8th seed beats the 1st.
The Chicago Bulls finished the shortened 2011-12 NBA season as the 1st seed in the Eastern Conference with a 50-16 record. Their cohesive unit of Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Richard Hamilton was led by a 23-year-old Derrick Rose, fresh of his Most Valuable Player campaign a season earlier.
MVP Derrick Rose was truly a different breed. One of a kind. pic.twitter.com/qkoUk01jkJ
— NBA Best Matchups (@NBABestMatchups) April 13, 2020
As $1.10 Series Winner favourites, the Bulls were expected to take care of the 8th-seed Philadelphia 76ers with relative ease and advance through to the second round of the playoffs. The Sixers faced an uphill battle to win the series at $10.
NBA Playoffs – Game 1
Game 1 went as it should for the most part. The Bulls carried a 53-42 lead into halftime and never allowed the 76ers back into the game before going on to win 103-91.
The damage to Chicago’s chances in this series had been done, though.
Up 12 with 1:20 left in the 4th quarter, Tom Thibodeau chose not to call a time out. He left his stars out there to run the clock and end the game. As he had done 1,000 times before, Rose used a screen to switch onto the bigger defender, drove into the lane, and hop-stepped to create separation.
However, this time, he came down on one leg.
Rose hobbled to the sideline before teammates and doctors surrounded him.
He was later diagnosed with an ACL injury.
The Nightmare Goes On
The Bulls were never the same in the series.
Jrue Holiday (26pts) and Sweet Lou Williams (20pts) led the 76ers to a 109-92 win in Chicago in Game 2. Back-to-back wins in Philly put the 76ers up 3-1 in the series before the Bulls managed to win a 77-69 slugfest in Game 5 to force a Game 6.
While the Bulls pushed the 76ers to the very end in Philly, Andre Iguodala buried two free-throws with 2.2 seconds left to win the game 79-78.
Nobody could have predicted Rose going down in Game 1. Who knows what would have happened had he remained healthy? Not only in this series, but throughout the remainder of his career. Rose’s career path was steered towards greatness. Instead, Game 1 of this series remapped it towards years of struggle.
But when 76ers punters look back on this one, they remember one thing: the Series Winner collect at $10.
"No team had ever come back to win an NBA Finals game from more than 15 points behind at the time."
Game 4 of the 2008 NBA finals was a nightmare for Lakers bettors 😯https://t.co/TcOBhSrqz5
— Jason (@SportsJO13) April 10, 2020