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NBA PLAYOFFS - Bulls lean on C.J. Watson to take over at point


PhilBoxing.com


CHICAGO -- Life without Derrick Rose charges on for the Chicago Bulls Tuesday night when they host the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 2 of their best-of-7 opening round series at the United Center.

The Bulls captured Game 1, 103-88, Saturday night and took a 1-0 lead. But it turned out to be the franchise's "saddest win ever" as Rose, the reigning MVP tore his ACL in the final 1:10 of play. After surgery and rehabilitation, he will be out for six to nine months.


Beneath the grim news, however, hope rises in the form of C.J. Watson, the dependable back-up point guard who has steered the Bulls' ship in this injury-ravaged season. In the 27 games that Rose has missed due to an assortment of ailments, the Bulls won 18 and lost just 9.

Oh yes, these are the playoffs. The stakes are higher, the competition stiffer. But Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has complete faith on the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Watson.

"He's an excellent pick-and-roll player," Thibodeau told the Chicago Tribune. "He can push the ball in transition. He's a terrific 3-point shooter. He has good quickness. And he knows how to run the team. He understands his teammates' strengths and weaknesses. He has played with the starters and bench guys. He has a really good feel for that."

Bulls general manager Gar Forman mirrors Thibodeau's confidence on Watson.

"We had followed him really for a couple of years before he came. We think he's got the ability to run the team, the ability to play with pace, the ability to make shots. He was our kind of guy. We thought he would fit in with our guys," Forman said.

A four-year pro out of the University of Tennessee, Watson has played in a total of 305 NBA regular season games averaging 7.8 points, 2.6 assists and 1.9 rebounds per. Before signing a two-year deal with the Bulls in the summer of 2010, Watson played in Europe and the D-League.

Watson, who played three years with the Golden State Warriors, makes $3.4 million in salaries this season. (Fakhouri Amjid)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Fakhouri Amjid.


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