CHICAGO — The Bulls continued to make themselves known as a force in the East by avenging their 83-80 loss to the Hawks. This time around, there was no second half implosion, rather an explosion as the Bulls crushed Atlanta 94-76 inside the United Center.
This game had more importance than just a win over the Hawks; coupled with the Celtics loss against the 76ers, Chicago has pulled within a 1/2 game of the Celtics for the Eastern Conference’s best record. With a win tomorrow against the Jazz (which is a Pippen Ain’t Easy Cover It Live event) the Bulls will move into a tie with Boston for the top spot. If Boston drops a third straight game on Sunday, the Bulls will have officially moved into first place within a week of taking over second.
The significance of this is huge for the Bulls. After the less than fun seasons of the past decade, the Bulls are finally restoring the glory in Chicago. The speed in which Chicago is rising this season is incredible. Come Monday, the Bulls can have leapfrogged both Miami and Boston in the standings in the span of a week.
And what a week it has been. It felt like the Bulls had won the title already in some hearts of Chicago fans. First you have the Bulls passing the Heat in the standings and then the Bulls distancing themselves from Miami by 2 1/2 games. Then you have the Chicago legend himself Michael Jordan calling Derrick Rose the NBA’s MVP.
The verbal passing of the torch took place mid week. Derrick Rose is officially the new Mr. Chicago.
Well maybe not yet, but he’s on the fast track to taking that crown very quickly. On top of all this, the Bulls narrowed the Celtics lead on them to just a 1/2 game before anyone could blink.
In a flash, the Bulls steamed to the head of the class and are showing no signs of stopping. Evidence of this was the Bulls lashing of the Hawks in Chicago, all without the help of a vital piece of the championship puzzle: Carlos Boozer. Luol Deng filled in huge shoes scoring 18 points and snagging 9 rebounds. Derrick Rose topped 30 points finishing with 34 on the night.
Fans at the united Center were treated to a Kurt Thomas sighting and he didn’t disappoint. Between him and Joakim Noah, the two racked up 24 rebounds; 13 for Thomas, 11 for Noah.
The greater NBA media and fanbase has been putting the Bulls off, but now they have to face the scary fact that the Bulls are one of the league’s most powerful and dangerous teams.
Just ask Boston, who figured they had more than just a week to enjoy themselves a top the East before they had to deal with the Bulls. Now they may find themselves looking up at Chicago on Monday.