Chicago Bulls are rolling again, but it doesn’t mean much

Feb 1, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade (3) is fouled by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Anthony Morrow (2) during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 1, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade (3) is fouled by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Anthony Morrow (2) during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bulls are rolling again. Just when it was least expected, Chicago has decided to fire off on the offensive end of the court, winning consecutive games. And this came immediately after the ugliest team incident in years and two awfully losses.

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Yes, the Bulls lost to both the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat in ugly fashion with Jimmy Butler turning in the worst shooting performance of his career against the Heat.

Naturally, Chicago responded the way they have all season – doing the exact opposite of what you would expect them to do.

It seemed like the Bulls were going to implode. There were multiple calls for Gar Forman to be fired, and it is still my opinion that he should be. The rumors were flying about potential Jimmy Butler trades and all the other unresolved issues surrounding Fred Hoiberg, Michael Carter-Williams and Rajon Rondo.

To say that it’s been a crazy season in Chicago might be a complete understatement.

So when the Bulls decided to roll off consecutive wins against the Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder, scoring more than 120 points in both contests, the natural response was to simply shrug and mumble, “That’s so Bulls,” to no one in particular, but also to anyone willing to listen.

Nick Friedell of ESPN referenced Jacob Nitzberg of ESPN Stats and Info, who shared a fun stat on Wednesday night after the Chicago win over Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. The Chicago Bulls hadn’t scored 120 or more points in consecutive games since 1993. Yes, the team that seemed destined to crash out of the playoffs, still freshly covered with the egg of their terrible coaching, roster construction, and general drafting decisions, decided to turn into an offensive juggernaut and get back to .500 on the season.

None of it makes sense. Everything about conventional wisdom isn’t applicable to this team. When you expect them to zig, they zag. When you expect the dumpster to burst into flames, you peer in and find only pizza and donuts, unspoiled.

The 2016-17 Bulls are becoming the sporting equivalent of Season 2 of True Detective. You remember loving it, and with everything screaming in your mind to just turn it off and not waste more of your time on a failed storyline that isn’t going anywhere and has a disappointing payoff, you just cannot turn away. You keep feeling empty, you keep watching, and you just have to hope that it eventually shows you something more than what it is.

It won’t.

This team has performed above most expectations. Very few people with legitimate knowledge of basketball had Chicago getting anywhere 41-41 by season’s end. Of course, no one knew Butler was going to turn into one of the three best wing players in the Eastern Conference this year, improving and what was already his best season the year before.

Before their current road trip started, I wrote a piece intended to guess at the potential outcomes of the games they’ll have on this six-game road trip. I put them at 2-4 on this trip, losing to the Thunder and standing at 26-29 when they get two home games to finish up their pre-All-Star Weekend schedule. They’re just one game into this trip and they’re 1-0, 25-25 on the year. They still have games against the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves – all winnable.

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Is it possible that the Bulls pull off 4-2 records on two different six-game road trips through the Western Conference in the same season? It seems insane, probably doesn’t happen, and yet this Chicago team has done what they shouldn’t have done at every turn this season.

I guess that’s why so many fans keep watching. The team might make the playoffs thanks to the incredible six-game losing streak the Charlotte Hornets are on right now, and the fact that the Milwaukee Bucks have been without Khris Middleton all year. But no one has hopes of them pushing deep into the playoffs or challenging the Cleveland Cavaliers. The rest of the season will be a testament to the will of a team low on talent and thin on coaching acumen. It’s as if the ghost of Tom Thibodeau lingers and we’re lining up for another year of over-achieving regular season basketball from a team that has no ability to contend in the playoffs.