The Chicago Bulls have been playing without their star player, Derrick Rose, all season. If any other team lost their best player for that long, they would likely collapse.
But this Bulls team is different than most teams.
The Bulls are sitting on a 22-15 record at this point in the season. While they certainly would be happier with a better record, it's still good enough to put them fourth in the Eastern Conference.
Winning six of their last eight games has been a big help to this team. They are looking like one of the hotter teams in the NBA, with big wins against the New York Knicks and Miami Heat during this impressive stretch.
With Rose out, the Bulls have had to rely on other players to carry the team in crucial moments. Luckily for Chicago, they have found two players who can do just that.
Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer.
These two have been the anchors to this team, providing scoring and, more importantly, leadership.
Deng has been a consistent scorer for the entire season. In the 37 games played, he has only scored under 10 points three times. His athleticism gives him opportunities to make his own shots inside or outside.
His numbers have jumped quite a bit during this season. He went from 15.3 points per game last year to 17.8 points per game this year. His field goal percentage also increased, going from 41.2 percent to 44.5 percent.
Perhaps Deng's most impressive game came last Friday against the Knicks. In his 42 minutes on the court, Deng exploded. He went 13-18 shooting, scoring an impressive 33 points in a blowout win.
Boozer has also been a big contributor to the team. The 10-year pro out of Duke has been a great leader for the team. On the year, he has nearly averaged a double-double with 15.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
Boozer exploded on Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors. In a thrilling overtime win, Boozer was able to score 36 points on 16-24 shooting. This mark was his season-high for points. He also added 12 rebounds to make it a truly impressive night.
Both of these players have been crucial to the team While Rose continues to get healthy, the team is making a playoff push. Once Rose returns, this team will truly be one of the most dangerous teams in the East.