CHARLOTTE — The Chicago Bulls are on a tear as they roll into Charlotte tonight to take on the Bobcats. There’s not telling just how to the game will go (the Bulls have a tendency to be on a hot streak and have it derailed by a sub-par team) but the chances things stay golden for the Bulls is pretty good. They didn’t fair well against the Bobcats in their last meeting, but that’s when the Bulls were in third place in the East.
This time, it’s different.
With the Heat’s flame flickering and their chances at good playoff positioning dwindling, Chicago is watching the distance between the two teams increase with every game. After Sunday’s win in Miami, Chicago was one game head of the Heat.
That lead is now up to two games as we head into Wednesday’s games.
But Chicago is less concerned with Miami now than they are with Boston. The Celtics currently hold a two and a half game lead on the Bulls with Boston riding a little hot streak of their own. The Celtics are on a 5 game tear and have won 8 of their last 10 games. The Bulls have also done this, but thanks to that brutal loss in Atlanta, the Bulls missed a chance at winning 9 out of ten and matching Boston’s five game streak.
But the chips are nowhere near down for the Bulls. Chicago, a notoriously average to below average road team, just completed a five game stretch in which they went 4-1 on the road beating the likes of Orlando and Miami along the way. That is the Bulls best road trip of the season and it couldn’t have come at a better time. They leap frogged Miami, and showed not only the NBA, but themselves that they are capable of winning on the road.
It wasn’t lightning in a bottle, it’s unmatchable swagger in their game.
Derrick Rose is owed much of the credit for this. When he’s on the court, there is no longer a feeling of doubt that the Bulls can win. That’s a feeling that has long avoided the hearts of Bulls fans, but it’s triumphant return has the city of Chicago buzzing.
“The city is excited about this team and it should be.” Said Joakim Noah, “This is a great building to play in. This is the best part about playing in Chicago, just being able to play in the United Center. It’s something I’ll never take for granted. Not a lot of arenas in the NBA have that kind of mystique.”
According to Carlos Boozer, the thing that sets the Bulls apart from the other big name teams in the league is the Bulls chemistry and willingness to be a team of teammates rather than a team of individuals. “We win. Who cares about stats?” Boozer said. “All I want to do is win. The rest of it will take care of itself.”
The Second Coming in the Second City is what this revival is being called. And it’s been a long time coming if you ask Bulls fans. Chicago will be keeping a close eye on Boston as they play out the remainder of the season. The Bulls haven’t been this close to having the Eastern Conference road to the playoffs got through the United Center since the days of Jordan and Pippen. With the Bulls and Celtics meeting just one more time this year in April, it’s going to be a battle of wits.
Who can out last the other?
Boston has upcoming games against the Clippers, Sixers, Bucks and Nets while Chicago, after a matchup in Charlotte tonight has a short home-stand against the Hawks, Jazz and Wizards. With only that 2 1/2 game margin separating these teams, it’s going to be one interesting and intense ride to the end of the season. The basketball world is finally starting to take Chicago seriously, but they are still counting them down and out against Boston. Some people still think it’s just Derrick Rose doing all the work and he’s the only Bulls worth mentioning.
But they will soon know who the real Bulls are, and that’s the way the Bulls like it.