I felt, going into the series, that Chicago could hold their own at home. It would be their play on the road that would prove to provide too much of an obstacle for the young but talented team.
Now, they go back to Chicago knowing they can match the defending champion Celtics. They have the confidence of marching into Garden, and walking out with an even series. For a young team, that is critical.
What makes it even more special was that the Bulls were horrendous on the road this year, amassing a 13-28 record away from the United Center. To steal Game One from the Celtics was incredible. To take Boston to the final seconds a game later has to give the Bulls encouragement.
The encouragement of knowing they lost while getting destroyed 50-36 on the glass, that they are 1-1 in the series while John Salmons has shot a paltry 36 percent from the field, gives the feeling they can keep up without playing their best.
The Bulls certainly have the energy to keep it going. Joakim Noah has brought it this series, while mostly keeping his excitement under control when he has to. Noah and Thomas both have been ferocious while blocking shots, combining for 16 in the past two games.
Now they just have to guard Glen Davis.
Rose and Gordon have each taken over a game this series. After Rose ran into some early foul trouble, Gordon shouldered the burden. Not only did he provide scoring, but also showed leadership by calming down Noah after his technical foul.
As mentioned previously, Salmons has been less than spectacular. He provided a great complement to Gordon after the trade with the Kings. Teams no longer had to guard Gordon, but Salmons as well.
However, Salmons has struggled to find his touch this series. If he shoots near the 50 percent he did in March, it gives the Bulls another dimension in their scoring.
You have to believe it will come together when the Bulls come back to play at home. They were 28-13 at home for the season, 16-2 in their last 18 games.
There might even be a chance Chicago goes back to Boston with a 3-1 with their intensity and home domination. A far cry from what many Bulls fans had imagined.
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