Even Without Rose or Hamilton Bulls Keep Rolling
by Carlos Nazario
Last week the Chicago Bulls, playing without Derrick Rose or Richard Hamilton, were able to play excellent team ball and were able to beat the Miami Heat. That win seemed to give some monumental confidence.
They did have a letdown game against the Portland Trailblazers, but then they blew the Orlando Magic out, in a game in which the Bulls allowed the fewest points in team history (59). They also beat the Philadelphia 76ers 89-80, and used a 20-0 run to help them defeat the Toronto Raptors.
In the span of a week, the Bulls beat the numbers 2, 3, and 4 seeds in the Eastern Conference, without 2 of their key players. They also still have the best record in the entire league at 39-10.
The Bulls look to have 3 tough games in their last 17. April 1 they face Oklahoma City, and they have TWO more meetings against the Heat (April 12 and April 19). Of course, there will be a loss or two that will surprise some before the end of the season.
The Bulls decided to not make any moves before the trade deadline. There were reports that they might have been interested in trading for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol, but it seemed talks were never too serious.
The upcoming week will be brutal for the Bulls. They have 5 games in the next week. They face Toronto, Denver, Atlanta, Detroit, and Oklahoma City. They also have a game against the Houston Rockets the next day after the OKC game. The Bulls just look to continue their roll, though the law of averages says missing the MVP and Hamilton will eventually start to hurt them.
One of the reasons the Bulls have been playing well is because of John Lucas III. The career vagabond has played in the D-League, Italy, Spain, and 3 teams in the NBA. He was of the belief that he was capable of playing in the NBA, and he is now proving it. His average is not overwhelming, but he has come in big when needed.
Earlier in the season, there was an ESPN-led phenomenon surrounded around Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks. Yes, he has had some perseverance, but certainly not at the level of Lucas. Lin is playing on an 8th seeded team, while Lucas is thriving on the best team in the league! Where is the John-sanity, or Lucas-sanity?
As of this writing, Rose has been working out in a pool, strengthening his groin and Hamilton has been participating fully in practice. Both are about ready to come back, but with the Bulls playing so well, they are willing to rest them a little bit more so they do not re-aggravate their injuries and possibly miss time from the playoffs. Perhaps a couple more games out and have them play one or two before the Oklahoma City game. It would be nice to see a preview of the NBA Finals with the teams at full strength.