Since we last convened here on Bulls Banter, our beloved team has been on a tear. In fact, following the Christmas miracle OKC victory, other than one inexplicable loss to the Mavericks, the Bulls have gone on to win every game since then.
Yes, that’s six games in a row. It looks like our Championship team is finally coming together, and there are oh so many reasons to be excited.
1.) The Bulls have beat legitimate, contending teams in the past three weeks, including one of them (the Raps) twice. The others, in addition to OKC, are the Pacers and Celtics.
2.) The Bulls did not disappoint during my first appearance at the UC this season, with a convincing 108 to 81 victory over the Knicks on New Year’s Day. Evidently, the Knicks’ record-setting (in the wrong way) 8 points in the fourth quarter, which in part caused the game to be described as “The Great Chicago Fire” by NYC media, helped to ignite the Knicks’ recent resurgence. Happy to help the Knicks…I guess. All I care about is the Bulls got the W. Read more here: How Knicks’ rebound was ignited by a feisty 1-hour film session.
3.) Jimmy G Buckets (the G stands for Gets) is not only doing the laundry now, he’s also sewing the clothes and manufacturing the washing machines. His 40 points in one half, breaking Michael Jordan’s record—was nothing short of magnificent.
4.) In this video, I’ve labeled simly as Squad, you can see how the team came together following the win in Toronto and JB’s performance. “I think we all got a lot of love for each other,” Butler said. “Everybody wants to see everybody be successful. That’s why we’re winning games. We’re buying into any given night. It could be anybody that’s scoring. It could be anybody that’s got it going. You get the ball to them and they’ll take us where we need to go. But that’s special just showing how much everybody wants everybody else to be successful.”
5.) The Bulls are finally following my lead with their fast breaks. What I’ve been practicing with my coach at the East Bank Club this past year closely resembles what the Bulls were FINALLY able to pull off versus the Celtics the other night: Watch the Chicago Bulls run a full-court fast break without taking a single dribble. (Bulls management – you can pay me later.)
6.) With Placido Domingo (one of the Three Tenors) in the Bulls’ court, how can they lose? He was at the UC for the Celtics game this week, and in an interview with Chuck Garfien of CSN, had this to say about his friend, Pau Gasol, “He is playing beautifully for the Bulls. There’s a lot of possibilities to make the playoffs and something happening.” Article and Interview with Placido Domingo.
7.) The emergence of Bobby “Crazy Eyes” Portis, who has stepped in for Jo since he’s been sidelined due to a shoulder injury.
8.) It looks like DRose and JB have figured out how to play nice. And it’s the only way the Bulls can beat those other guys (the Cavs), or the likes of the Splash Brothers. Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler: Rising together, debunking myths.
9.) Staying ready. Tony Snell, who had been taken out of the starting lineup got sent back in for the December 28 home game versus the Raps. He scored 22 (tying with Pau for leading scorer), including 19 in the final 18 minutes. “I’m staying ready every day,” Snell said. “I make sure I’m staying ready at all times.”
10.) The bench. For a few games there, it was the Aaron Brooks show. Add E’Twaun Moore and the rook (Bobby Portis), and you’ve sure got a lot of weapons. “We have a bunch of looks,” Brooks said with a laugh. “We have a bunch of looks on this team, and you never know on any given day…there’s a lot of talent of this team. Guys just got to step up when their name is called.”
11.) Hey, wait, what about us? Remember, we haven’t even seen Mike Dunleavy Jr. play yet this season. And Jo is set to return sometime this week. Wonder how Coach Fred is going to find minutes for me once I get added to the roster…
12.) Games, games and more games. If you were hoping to watch some Bulls basketball, you’re in luck. You best renew your NBA League Pass subscription straight-away. Today, there’s a “matinee” versus the Hawks at 4 p.m. CST. And then, it’s “4 in 5.” Yes, we get to enjoy Bulls games Monday (Wizards), Tuesday (Bucks), Thursday (76ers…I’m scared, now that they have Ish Smith + Elton Brand), Friday (Mavs). Around Friday, we’ll certainly be calling for baskets…oh Betty.
13.) Fredberg is finally taking off. Here in CHI, the sportscasters have taken to calling the new coach “Fredberg.” After all, they need something to jazz up the morning programs, and it’s complementary to GarPax and all. While things seem to have gotten off to a slow start, it looks like the Bulls have turned a corner. I guess JB’s tirade, then John Paxon’s speech during the subsequent team meeting have helped steer the Bulls ship.
14.) We’ll never forget you, Thibs. Following the Celtics win, a reporter asked DRose, “What’s been the key to the offense?” Derrick’s response: “I think it all starts with our defense. Because without defense, you can’t get out on the open floor or play that up-tempo type pace we want to.” Following the Bulls first defeat of the Raps on December 28, their coach, Dwane Casey said, “They’re still a defensive team. They still have remnants. The core is still there. The DNA is still there. It’s been beat in them, so to speak, which is a good thing.”
15.) Taj Gibson finally gets the starting spot he deserves, and the Bulls are 8-5 since he entered the starting lineup. “He has been really solid,” Fredberg said. “He’s a very versatile defender and you can switch him out onto perimeter guys. He has great length, contests shots, he’s a very good offensive rebounder — he’s just solid.”
16.) Second in the East. DRose is healthy. JB is on fire. Pau is a double double machine. The bench can beat most starting lineups.
Beat the Hawks.