It’ll be interesting to see what type of record the Chicago Bulls will finish with this season.
The Bulls have played great thus far, picking up 19 wins to go along with 14 losses. While that record doesn’t place them among the NBA’s elite teams, it’s rather impressive seeing that Derrick Rose hasn’t logged a single minute since last year’s postseason.
Rose—Chicago’s franchise point guard and possibly a top-five player in the league when healthy—has
been sidelined due to an ACL injury and isn’t expected back until sometime after the All-Star break.
The Rose-less Bulls haven’t been successful this season because of their scoring (only 93.3 points per game), but because of their stifling defense, thanks to the teaching of head coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Bulls are holding opponents to just 91.5 points per game (third-best in the league) and currently own a defensive rating of 101.5, which ranks fifth in the Association.
Outstanding D has helped the team in the win column so far and should continue to throughout the rest of the year.
So what final regular-season record should we expect from this year’s Bulls squad?
50-32 certainly isn’t far-fetched. The team has overachieved dramatically without Rose and with the former MVP’s possible return in either February or March; a third straight 50-win season shouldn’t be out of the question.
Less than a week ago, the Bulls picked up an impressive road victory versus the Miami Heat, who could very well win their second straight title this June.
The Bulls are scheduled to face the Heat three more times this season—twice in Chicago and once down in South Beach. Don’t be too surprised to see the Bulls win at least one of those contests, splitting the season series at two games apiece.
The New York Knicks are another elite Eastern Conference team that the Bulls have beaten this season. Actually, they’ve beaten them twice. Chicago will play Carmelo Anthony’s crew two more times, and there’s a possibility they could end up sweeping the season series. For some reason, the Bulls just seem to have the Knicks’ number, even though they’re the weaker team.
While the Bulls have knocked off the East’s best two clubs in the Heat and Knicks, they’ve yet to beat an elite team in the mighty Western Conference.
The Bulls lost both of their matchups with the Los Angeles Clippers. Back in November, they were pounded by 21 points out in L.A., and were then defeated in a much closer contest at the United Center in December. Surely, the Bulls are relieved that they don’t have to witness “Lob City” anymore this season.
In February, Chicago will square off against the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second and final time. The Bulls lost their first matchup with the reigning Western Conference champs 97-91 back in early November in Chicago. We’ll see if they can get a little revenge against Kevin Durant and the gang out in Oklahoma City.
Rose should return to the lineup in either February or March. Of course, it’s going to take awhile for him to return to full strength. So in other words, don’t look for him to put up 25 points a night right off the bat. However, it shouldn’t take him too long to have an impact, as his scoring will help the team win some games that they would’ve won earlier in the season.
Hopefully the Bulls’ success will continue, and guys like Kirk Hinrich and Richard Hamilton can avoid further injuries.
The Bulls are a quality ballclub. With coach Thibodeau on the bench and a healthy Rose, along with solid players like Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, another 50-win season is definitely in reach.
Stats used in this article were accurate as of 1-9-13.