After coming off a hard-fought, solid victory against the struggling Lakers on National TV, the Bulls came into tonight against the Pistons with momentum. In the first half, they completely lost all of it. At one point down 17 to the young and naive Detroit Pistons, Our Bulls found a way. Behind the stellar bench play of Nate Robinson (11 points, 9 in the 4th) and once again starting in place of Lu, Jimmy Butler (18 points 9 rebounds). Noah also played like an All-star tonight with 10 points and 18 boards and the biggest play of the game. Marco Belinelli put up a jumper from the corner and missed it way short, but in came flying Jo (Rodman-esk) to save the ball from going out-of-bounds who miraculously found Belinelli cutting to the hoop for the lay-up and one. Putting the Bulls up 85-82. Just like Thibs drew it up. Noah stepped up with the intensity, the intensity Thibodeau had been looking for since Memphis Saturday night. Just another win for the Bulls who are now 25 and 16 on the year. This is also an important day as Thibs announced that Rose is taking full on contact in practice. Dream on Chicago, the Return is nearing.
Were just at the half way point in the grueling NBA season, even more grueling for our Bulls. They have overachieved in the minds of the writers and fans. But Thibs is still pushing for more. With bad and I mean bad losses to Charlotte, New Orleans and Houston (on Christmas Night) This team’s record could be even better. But as of right now, the fans will take it. No Rose, Hamilton missed time and now Lu has too, The motto “Next man up” has never been more true than this season. With a new cast of bench mob characters they have still been able to produce much like the old Bench Mob. Belinelli has already hit two game winners against Boston and Detroit. Nate has been able to give the Bulls a much-needed spark, like tonight. Taj has picked up from last year, playing solid in the post all year-long. But most pleasant surprise has been Jimmy Butler, playing for the injured Lu he has stepped into and filled Lu’s shoes the best he can considering, Thibs calls Deng “invaluable” to this team. The rookie Teague has played well in spurts and not so much in others. Yet his explosive first step much like Rose’s shows he has plenty potential at only 19 years of age.
It is January 23rd. Our Superstar’s return is near. Rose has begun practicing and traveling with the team and only time will tell when Tommy Edwards says, “From Chicago, 6′ 3″ guard, DERRICK ROSE!” Until then folks, we wait and watch the current Bulls give us heart attacks with wild finishes and close games. But let’s be honest, every time Rose falls (it is inevitable) we will all hold our breath and pray he gets back up. God speed Derrick, we need you.