Well now the number is at seven. The Chicago Bulls took care of the Detroit Pistons Friday night winning 106-98. The Bulls keep finding ways to win basketball games while the Detroit Pistons still haven’t been able to figure out that NBA basketball games go for 48 minutes. The big news is that with this win the Bulls are now one game ahead of the Toronto Raptors for the number three seed who lost to the New York Knicks. The Bulls have also locked up home court advantage for the first round no matter what happens in the last three games of the season thanks to Brooklyn losing to Atlanta. DJ Augustin is just killing it right now (more on him later) leading the charge with 24 points showing the full repertoire of his game while doing it. Taj Gibson helped him out quite nicely scoring 17 points. These two might have officially put the Bench Mob back together. The Chicago bench outscored the Detroit bench 45-17. Carlos Boozer scored 18 points on 7-8 shooting (The Legion of Booz is watching!) and Mike Dunleavy added 14 points, all in the second half. There was so much going on this game, Pippen Ain’t Easy had to put this game into two parts of lessons learned. There was plenty that went wrong in this game, but so much went right. Here what I learned.
1) The mental fortitude of this team is nothing I have seen since the “Dynasty Era”.
This team is not as talented as the Bulls teams of the nineties. That’s obvious. But these guys do have the mental strength it takes to make them dangerous in the playoffs. Let’s be clear Pippen Peoples, the Bulls stunk coming out the gate. The Bulls shot an atrocious 28% from the field in the first quarter. If it wasn’t for a solid start by Carlos Boozer (A Legion of Booz comment is definitely coming) the Bulls would have really been in trouble. It would have been easy for the Bulls to mail it in, say that they looked past the Pistons to the game on Sunday against the Knicks and moved on. They had won six straight. There was no need for panic right? Not with this bunch. The Bulls just simply stayed within striking distance, made adjustments and grinded the Pistons offense to a halt. Andre Drummond had 19 rebounds in the first half. He had only seven in the second half. The three guard lay up line that Rodney Stuckey, Brandon Jennings and Peyton Siva was running in the first half stopped from the third quarter on. After giving up 56 points in the first quarter, the Bulls only gave up 42 points in the second half which included 18 points in the 4th quarter. When these guys decide that they don’t want you to score…YOU DON’T! It’s like no matter how this game started, the Bulls knew that they could win this game. That’s confidence folks, that’s confidence.
2) I know it has been only a few months, but if DJ Augustin keeps playing like this, Derrick Rose will have to make room.
Derrick Rose has the huge contract so he’s not going anywhere. But let me tell you something Pippen Peoples. There are a lot of fans that resent Rose these days. Is it fair? Of course not. But I will tell you this. Rose has to be looking over his shoulder. I watched DJ Augustin take another step Friday night into being a staple of this franchise IF management signs this guy. Augustin’s confidence right now is going into zone proportions. Remember he wasn’t shooting well at the start. But I watched his body language. He had that “I got this” look all over his face. He found a way to put his stamp on this game. Let’s be honest, his defense was stinking up the joint too in the first half but you know what? He scored just as much as he gave up. Sometimes you can’t guard your opponent. But you can cancel that scoring out by scoring points on your side of the ball which is exactly what he did in the first half to keep things from getting totally embarrassing. When the Bulls defense showed up in the second half, he kept right on scoring while Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey wore down. Look we all understand that Augustin has plenty of motivation considering that he does have a skid row contract but the fact remains the Bulls would be a real ugly team to watch offensively if this guy wasn’t in a Bulls uniform. He basically did what he wanted to on the court. He got to the basket, he knocked down jumpers. He put his total game on display. The Bulls have a BIG decision after the playoffs. You all better recognize.
3) Boy that revolving door system concerning the Power Forwards will be very interesting in the playoffs.
Now as the Executive Advocate of The Legion of Booz, I might be slightly biased towards Carlos Boozer. I will readily admit that. But let’s take a close look at something. Who do you know gets benched in the entire 4th quarter after scoring 18 points which was second on the team behind Augustin on 7-8 shooting? Um, 7-8 shooting from the field is kind of hot. Like it or not Boozer was actually effective in the first quarter when the Bulls couldn’t throw the ball off the Empire State Building. Taj Gibson played well and deserved his minutes. I’m not saying to sit him down, but ride the hot hand. Play Boozer! In the playoffs, eventually you are going to need Boozer if Gibson gets in foul trouble. The system as of right now is Boozer plays the first and third quarters and as soon as the street lights come on aka the 24 minute mark hits, the man sits. How long is that going to work?
Here’s what I learned…now learn from this!
The Chicago Bulls lead the ENTIRE Eastern Conference with 35 wins since Dick Clark’s Rocking Eve aired on ABC bringing in 2014.
Tags: Chicago Bulls