With Derrick Rose getting ready to suit up for the All-Star Game, it’s time to look back and reflect on the first half of the Bulls season. It’s easy this year because it’s fun to reminisce on good times.
The Bulls have had their share and then some of good times so far.
Derrick Rose’s All-Star selection is proof enough. He is the one of the main reasons the Bulls are on fire going into the break. He is arguably the leading candidate for MVP thus far with analysts from all over praising the young superstar on his leadership skills. But probably the most valuable quality Rose has provided the first half is his skills in the second half and his ability to close games. Not since the days of Jordan and Pippen long before have Bulls fans been able to feel so confident about winning when trailing going into the fourth quarter. Derrick Rose is a reason to think everything will be alright. The good thing about that is nine times out of ten, everything is alright. This is thanks in very large part to Rose.
Rose is also off to one of his best seasons of his career. He had his best career scoring game in his last game before the break, scoring 42. He also etched out a new career high in Free Throws Attempted with 19 back on January 8th against the Celtics. He is also currently averaging the most minutes per game in his career at 38.0mpg. Rose also is on pace for his best scoring year as well only being 299 points behind his previous career high. He just needs at least 15 points a game to beat the previous total by over 400 points.
Another reason for the Bulls first half surge is the play of secondary players and the defense. Coach Tom Thibodeau came in with a very particular defensive scheme he wanted to run in Chicago and there were questions as to how well it would work. After all the Bulls haven’t necessarily been a defense force in the Eastern Conference in the recent past. Thibodeau came in and readjusted everything largely with players already here. The new usage of Joakim Noah was working splendidly up until his injury back in the last months of 2010. Taj Gibson, Kurt Thomas and Omer Asik just further proved how effective Thibodeau’s defense is by coming in and filling in so well for Noah that at times he is forgotten if only for a moment. The largest additions the Bulls had was adding Kyle Korver and (perhap the most brilliant Free Agent addition) Carlos Boozer. Boozer missed the first month of the season but has since been an amazing Robin to Derrick Rose’s Batman. When Rose has a bad game, Boozer steps in and takes up the leader role.
So far the Bulls have a recipe for success and have been wallowing in it. They have an Eastern Conference best home record of 24-4, two games behind a franchise best 27-2. They are the third best team in the East sitting merely two games behind the Celtics and just one behind critical love affair favorite the Heat. It’s safe to say the Eastern Conference is wide open at this point. The memeories being reminisced of the 20th Anniversary of the first NBA Title are oddly being paralleled by the current product on the court. Coincidence?
I think not. Neither do the Bulls.