This week the Bulls will continue the journey through their crucial 5-game road stretch.
The first game of this stretch started yesterday, when the Bulls went to Milwaukee and took down the Bucks, 83-75.
This was a big win for the Bulls for two reason reasons.
First, the Bulls aren’t very good on the road this season (13-13 coming into the game), and every road win is huge. Also, not that it’s very relevant, but the Bulls stayed prefect against the Central teams this season.
Second, the Bulls are in a very tight race with Miami and Boston for first place in the East, so every win–especially a road win–is extremely important.
In the upcoming week, the Bulls will finish off the rest of their five game stretch.
So, let’s take a look at what lies ahead this week…
Monday, February 28–@ Washington Wizards
The Wizards come into this game with a 15-43 record and 14-15 record at home.
In all reality, this game should not be that great of a game. The Bulls are a fantastic team, and the Wizards–to pull it nicely–aren’t that great, exhibited by their 28 games under .500 record.
However, as noted, the Bulls haven’t been great on the road this season, so any away game is something to pay attention to. For example, when the Bulls lost to Toronto–of the worst teams in the league–on Wednesday.
But, this time the Bulls won’t be coming off a break and the new lineup with Noah is beginning to groove together; therefore, I do not see the Washington Wizards being much of a problem for the Bulls.
The Bulls are 2-0 against the Wizards this season.
Wizard player to watch: John Wall
Wednesday, March 3–@ Atlanta Hawks
This is where the stretch of road games starts to become much more challenging.
The Bulls will go against up the Hawks, who have put together an impressive 35-23 record.
However, the Hawks have been sliding a little bit as of late. They have dropped 5 of their last 7 games heading into tonight’s contest against the Trailblazers.
The Hawks will be just coming home after a 7-game road stretch, and they will have a tough “welcome back home game” against the Bulls. However, the Hawks are a solid home team, so this will make it difficult for the Bulls.
With that being said, I just don’t think the Hawks have the personal to control Derrick Rose. And with Noah starting to get back to his normal self, I think the Bulls will come out as the victor.
The Bulls and Hawks have not played each other yet this year.
Hawks player to watch: Joe Johnson
Friday, March 4–@ Orlando Magic
What a way to kick off my weekend as the Bulls take on the Magic in a critical game for both the Magic and Bulls.
The Magic have a 38-22 record and are just a handfull of games out of first place in the East. They have been playing well lately, led by All-Star center, Dwight Howard.
But, it’s not just Howard who is contributing to the Magic’s success. Nine players on the Magic average double-digits in points, compared to just four on the Bulls.
Before the Magic play the Bulls, they also have to play the Knicks and Heat this week, so what happens in those games can also have an impact on this game.
I think the Magic will end up losing one of those two games; therefore,making it a much more important game for them to win.
So, I think this game goes down to the wire, but the Magic come out with the win, especially since it is in Orlando.
The Bulls are 1-1 against the Magic this season.
Magic player to watch: Dwight Howard
Sunday, March 6–@ Miami Heat
This could be the game of the week in the Eastern Conference, as it has the potential to have a huge meaning on who could finish first in the East.
The Bulls are currently only one game behind Boston–who boast a 42-15 record–for first place in the East and just 1 1/2 games behind the Heat.
In the last meeting, which took place last Thursday, the Bulls were able to take down the Heat, 93-89. Wade and James combined for 63 points, but that was not enough as the Bulls overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to grab a big victory, making the Heat 1-7 against the top teams in the East.
There is a big difference between last game and the upcoming one, though: Sunday’s match-up will be played in Miami. Miami is an outstanding 22-6 while at home.
Also, Miami will be coming off two tough games against the Magic and Spurs, which–depending on the outcome of those games–could make their game against the Bulls a lot more meaningful.
Last time these two teams met, Deng erupted for 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists to go along with Rose’s 26 points. If the Bulls want to have a chance to win again, they will need someone like Deng, Boozer, or Noah to step up and have a huge game along with Rose.
Just like the last timeI expect a very close game. However, I have just not been convinced that the Heat can 1) beat the best of the best and 2) can win a game down the wire against a top-notch opponent.
So, I will give the Bulls a very slight advantage in this game, but this game could very easily go either way.
Heat player to watch: LeBron James
I can’t even begin to emphasize how important of a week this is for the Bulls. They will be facing three very respectable opponents on their home courts.
Going 3-1 or 4-0 during this stretch would be amazing for the Bulls considering they are not a strong road team, but they need to come ready to play each night, even if it’s against a weak team like the Wizards.
I will use this week as a measuring stick to see how legit of contenders the Bulls truly are and whether or not Derrick Rose is deserving of an MVP honor.
This crucial week starts tomorrow night in Washington at 6 PM CST.