Resilient Chicago Bulls Find Themselves Playing for Final Playoff Spot

Josh Herman@@JoshHermanPJSCorrespondent IApril 9, 2010

The experts say that the style of basketball in the NBA consists of runs.

One team gets hot, scores 10, goes up six.

The other team scores six—tied game. 

But what most experts don't talk about is the importance of runs during the course of the season.

The Chicago Bulls, however, are getting a first-hand look at this phenomenon.

After a solid .500 start to the season with wins against the Spurs at home in their opener and against the Cavaliers in Cleveland a week later, the Bulls hit the West Coast for their annually disappointing circus trip.

There, they went 1-5, sparking a streak where the team went 5-13 leading up to Christmas.

Then, the team got disgruntled power forward Tyrus Thomas back from an arm injury, and proceeded to go 15-9. They went into the All-Star break at 25-26.

Their hot ways continued after the break. They went 6-1 after the departure of the aforementioned Thomas and the widely inconsistent John Salmons in trade-deadline deals.

After getting as high as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls, while attempting to adjust to new players and a vast array of injuries, went on a 10-game losing streak. It dropped them six games out of .500, and left them on the outside looking in for a playoff spot.

But as key players like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah started healing from injuries, so too did the spirit of the team. 

And as they showed in last season's epic playoff series with the Celtics, this young team doesn't give up without a fight.

Sure, most of them could've written off the rest of this season like I did and start looking for other jobs, while the six returning players awaited the arrival of a new star-studded face. They didn't.

Even with a makeshift roster that's known more for its expiring contracts than household names, they never gave up.

Now, after going 7-3 since their 10-game skid, the Bulls find themselves tied with Toronto for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, with only four games remaining. 

The bad news? 

The Raptors own the tiebreaker. And the Bulls will finish the season with a tough game at Atlanta, then two easier ones with the Pistons in Detroit and the Knicks at home.

Oh, and Sunday, they host the team with which they're tied—the Raptors—in what could ultimately decide either team's fate.

However, there is some good news for Bulls players and fans alike. 

Toronto lost leading scorer, rebounder, and soon-to-be free agent Chris Bosh for the remainder of the regular season with a nasal fracture. They also got another unlucky hit to the face, when Hedo Turkoglu suffered a broken nose Wednesday night against the Celtics.

Still, the Bulls are set to battle Boston at home before the regular season ends. They also still have trips to Toronto, New Jersey, and Charlotte; the team's playoff hopes may still be bleak.

But, hey, considering the resiliency that this team has showed up until now, I've learned it's never wise to count them out.

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