Mar 04, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) shoots over the defense of Philadelphia 76ers forward Thaddeus Young (21) during the third quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. The Bulls defeated the Sixers 96-91. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Derrick Rose returns for the Chicago Bulls in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Playoffs series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Thanks to the NBA lockout, the Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers are two of many teams who received just one day off between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the NBA Playoffs. Philly and Chicago kick off the playoffs on Saturday, playing the first of four games (1 p.m. ET, TNT) on a fantastic day of basketball.
Philadelphia won one of three regular season contests against the Bulls, with that win coming early in the season when the Sixers were among the league's best teams. They've dropped off considerably since then, and lost to the Bulls on March 4 and March 17.
Luol Deng and Richard Hamilton both sat out during one loss, and both will be healthy for this playoff series. In the final meeting between the two teams, Derrick Rose was on the sidelines, allowing Jrue Holiday to have a big game for Philly, but the rest of his team was poor offensively in a 89-80 Bulls win.
Even though the Bulls recorded one win against Philly without Rose, the Bulls' hopes of doing anything in the playoffs still hinge on his health. He's played just 39 games this season, and the Bulls are hoping that his extended layoff at the end of the season has helped him to recover fully from ankle injuries. Rose participated fully in practice on Friday and is expected to start and play extended minutes in Game 1.