Prior to this year, the Chicago Bulls seemed to be one of the favorites to take home the Eastern Conference crown, but after injuries and trades dismantled much of their roster it seemed that all hope was lost. Now the team is just trying to keep pacein the Central Division. Due to this, most of this season has looked like a two team race in the Eastern Conference between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. However, the Bulls are playing their best basketball of the year and will be a tough team to beat in the playoffs.
Last night the Bulls took down the Indiana Pacers in a hard fought game. It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win and for the Bulls that is all that matters. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson continued their dominance holding All-Star center Roy Hibbert to three points (all on free throws) and five rebounds. Noah once again nearly recorded a triple double with 10 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds while Gibson had 23 points and 8 rebounds against Hibbert who Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel believes should be defensive player of the year.
Before anyone gets their hopes up, the reality is that the Indiana Pacers will win the Central division and will either be the number 1 or 2 seed heading into the playoffs. On top of that, the Indiana Pacers are just a better basketball team than the Bulls this season. The Bulls have had an extraordinary year given the circumstances, one almost no one thought they could have, but at the end of the day the Pacers are more talented than the Bulls. As a Bulls fan though there is hope because talent does not win championships, well at least not talent alone.
The Bulls and the Pacers actually match up very well against each other, and would be an extremely exciting playoff series to watch. Currently the Pacers have the one true superstar between the two rosters (excluding Derrick Rose) in Paul George who can score above twenty points a night. However, the Bulls have more versatile players that can make up for their lack of superstar talent. Win or lose, if the Bulls and the Pacers meet in the playoffs it will be an exciting series to watch.
Although the Bulls talent level is not as strong as other teams, their defensive tenacity is one of, if not, the best in the league. Having to face the Bulls physicality in a seven game series would not be ideal for any team. Head coach Tom Thibodeau is arguably having his best season as the Bulls coach and it seems that he keeps the team winning when everyone thinks that they can’t.
The fact of the matter is it seems that this season the Bulls just do not have enough talent to bring home a championship, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make noise in the playoffs. The Bulls match up well against their arch rival Miami Heat as well as the Indiana Pacers, and with Joakim Noah leading the way the Bulls will not go down without a fight. Even if the Bulls do not win the championship fans should be excited about this years playoffs because they will play their hearts out. The odds are against them, but it is March and as college basketball has shown, anything can happen.