It has been a rough few weeks if you are Bulls fan, or even player for that matter. Our team has looked pretty pathetic at times to be nice and yes it does frustrate Bulls fans but patience is the key with this team. After they beat the Knicks in the Garden in a hard-fought, physical game like it was in the 90’s, they had to travel to Atlanta and play the Hawks. What was ensuing was a beat down and ever since then it has been up and down with plenty of more downs. Getting bullied by former Bull Omir Asik and the Rockets Christmas night, and losing to the Bobcats on New Years Eve by 10. And for good measure the Bobcats had lost 19 in a row. But tonight at least (and barely) was a step in the right direction, holding on to beat the Magic 96-94.
Joakim Noah could hardly get out of bed this morning, battling flu-like symptoms. So without Noah, who has played like an All-Star all year, Boozer and Gibson needed to step up and that is just what they did. Boozer played the type of game his contract speaks, scoring 31 and grabbing 11 boards while Gibson had 21 and 11. Deng chipped in his typical 23 points. Bulls had a solid 18 point lead before they decided to make it harder on themselves and almost lost it all. But they held on for the win, and at this point, Thibs will take anything he can get taking into consideration the past two weeks. But he has to be happy, checked that, pleased (let’s be honest the last time Thibs cracked a smile was when the Celtics won it all in ’07) that the Bulls only had turned the ball over 6 times. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction for our Bulls who are continuing to keep their heads above water until their Knight in shining armor returns.
Derrick Rose (aka that Knight in shining armor) has started to travel with the team. He has been doing to do non-contact parts of practice for some time now and also took part in the team’s Shootaround this morning. Thibs says he is a ways away from playing, which is hopefully a month or two. But that still can’t stop fans from getting excited about his return. With the 6-part series “The Return” on his rehab and his commercial (That honestly is great, but still trying to get over “uh oh, Rose is down. Holding his knee”) he has stayed out of the spotlight which is pretty typical for the 24-year-old MVP. Sitting at 17-13, the number 5 seed in the East, you have to admit this team is doing more than we expected without Rose, yet we all feel they could be doing better. Regardless if the Bulls are still sitting at number 5 when Rose comes back, the highest they could go is 3 maybe, but most likely 4 or 5. Which leaves them a match up with the Pacers or Atlanta, Both beatable with Rose.
The sky Isn’t falling yet in the Windy City. Rose is a month or two away, the Bulls are yes still struggling but a win tonight to get back on track was crucial. While there is still plenty of basketball to be played, don’t expect the status quo to change for a while. Tomorrow will be a good measuring stick for the Bulls. Playing the Heat in Miami, while we all expect a blowout (similar to OKC at the beginning of the year) don’t be surprised if the Bulls stay in this one. Our Bulls will get up for this game you can trust me on this, but Miami’s talent and the fact that they have LeBron will overpower a Rose-less Bulls squad. But hey a girl can dream right?
Next game: Friday at the Heat on ESPN.
All stats courtesy of ESPN Chicago