Quantcast 2011 Chicago Bulls Basketball: Bulls update

 

Chicago is more than Capable

 

 

On Wednesday, after the Bulls relinquished an 18-point halftime lead and lost to the solid, yet not elite Atlanta Hawks, I couldn’t help but question if the Bulls are legitimately a championship caliber team. Championship caliber teams don’t tend to blow 18-point halftime leads. I began speculating if Derrick Rose really is the MVP, if they can really win in the playoffs without a scoring threat at the two-guard position, and if they simply don’t have enough firepower to bring it night in and night out.

For Bulls fans, the loss at Atlanta appeared to be the beginning of a gruesome stretch, as their upcoming games over the weekend featured at Orlando and at Miami. I thus reasoned that these couple games would answer any speculative doubts concerning the Bulls potential.

It is safe to say that my questions have now been resolved. A compelling win in Orlando and a dramatic win in Miami not only remind us that they can play with the league’s best, but that they also know how to respond to adversity. Throughout this season, the Bulls have possessed a remarkable ability to respond superbly after a discouraging loss. They have yet to lose three games in a row all season.

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There are numerous facets to this Bulls team that provide convincing, beginning with the top level defense that has grown rooted with the arrival of Coach Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau proved himself as a mastermind during his days as an assistant in Boston, devising successful schemes to slow down Dwight Howard and Lebron James, but people wondered if he could handle the spotlight as a head coach. These questions are undoubtedly gone. Thibodeau’s continual barking on the sideline and his emphatic fist pump as the buzzer expired on Sunday in Miami highlight a coach whose heart is being laid visible. He already has my vote for Coach of the Year, and I am beginning to see him as basketball’s version of Bill Belichick.

I mention the Bulls coaching and defense prior to the preeminence of Derrick Rose because teams win championships, not players. With that said, Rose’s play over the weekend reveal that, while only 22, he should be the frontrunner for MVP. During a stretch late in the fourth quarter in Miami, Rose made another one of his weaving and scooping lay ups and followed that with a pull up jumper while Lebron James and Dwayne Wade launched numerous bad shots and Wade through an errant cross court pass into the stands. You couldn’t help but think that Derrick Rose was the best player on the floor.



Rose then went on to make a couple foolish mistakes down the stretch, but the Bulls still prevailed, and after the game, he humbly admitted his couple late blunders and was quick to praise his teammates. Rose’s numbers on the year speak for themselves (24 PPG and 8 APG), but it is his modest qualities like this that magnify his heart and value. He’s humble and he plays for the name on the front of the jersey. This attitude teamed with his skills and steady work ethic make for a scary blend for the rest of the league. Guys like this don’t come around often.

Rose and Thibodeau will receive most of the honors when the season concludes, but the intangibles on this Bulls squad cannot be overlooked. Guys like Joakim Noah and Luol Deng epitomize players who coaches love to have. They do all the little things. Noah scraps, claws, and screams his way to double doubles just about every night, drawing worthy resemblances to Dennis Rodman. Deng’s length and perimeter defense, steady attitude, and efficient 17 points per game provide the Bulls with a versatile weapon. Carlos Boozer finally gives the Bulls a low post option that they have craved for years. Taj Gibson and rookie Omer Asik stabilize depth in the frontcourt that will be needed in the postseason. Ronnie Brewer and Keith Bogans bring grit on the defensive end and Kyle Korver’s long range game provides driving lanes for Rose and Deng. The most important matter in all of this is the fluidity of this team. They understand their roles and simply mesh.

The Bulls remaining schedule is the 3rd easiest in the league, setting them up nicely to inherit a top two seed in the Eastern Conference. People knew that the Bulls would be improved this year, but not many considered them a title contender. But their defensive consistency, ability to respond after losing, and ability to mesh as a team despite numerous injuries (Noah and Boozer have missed a combined 48 games) make it blatantly evident that the Bulls are more than capable of making major noise in the playoffs in this very season.

 

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By: Haddon Anderson
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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