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Bulls Midseason Report

More than half way through the season, it’s been difficult to assess the state of the Chicago Bulls. Several players were injured early on in the season so the team was short-handed. Derrick Rose got off to a slow start with an ankle injury and seemed to be taking a step backward following a breakout rookie campaign. Tyrus Thomas also missed significant time due to a forearm injury and Chicago missed his athleticism and defense around the rim. The Bulls only had 10 wins in their first 27 games of the season which had a lot of people figuring that head coach Vinny Del Negro would not survive through the Christmas holiday. Then they won 7 of their next 10 as they improved somewhat to 17-20.

However, since that point, it seems that the Bulls have been playing like a different team as of late. Derrick Rose has definitely been more aggressive in his shot selection rather than deferring to his teammates in key situations and the Bulls are a better team as a result. After the Bulls dropped the first two games of their current seven game road trip, the team finished with 5 consecutive wins behing a more aggressive Rose, a feat that a Bulls team hasn’t pulled off in quite some time. During that span Rose scored a combined 123 points against the Suns, Rockets Spurs, Thunder, and the Hornets for an average of 24.6 points per game. The Bulls’ recent surge has put them a game over .500 at 23-22 and the players are more confident to say the least; something that could not be said earlier this season.

Despite their latest success though, one thing still concerns me. Can they continue to play this well consistently? I know that every team in the NBA goes through a stretch where they don’t play their best basketball but the Bulls seem to experience these down periods too often. While their current winning streak is impressive, they are still just an average team right now. After winning 41 games a season, ago, the expectations were such that the Bulls would get somewhat closer to 50 but that will probably not happen. What can happen though is if the Bulls can somehow manage to play this well down the stretch; they can definitely improve their standing in a conference that seems wide open every season. Depending on how they finish, they could get a favorable matchup in the first round and possibly advance to the second round as they did in 2007. Before we look that far ahead though, we should enjoy the progress the team is making and how Derrick Rose is growing into a superstar right before everyone’s eyes.

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