Chicago Bulls: Recap of a very tough stretch of games

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls are the number one seed in the East following their toughest test of the season. The Bulls just went through the gauntlet playing 12 straight games against teams .500 or better.

If you recall, I recently spoke about the aforementioned 12 game stretch and considered going .500 over that span a monumental success. Not only did they go .500, but they also posted a 7-5 record with success on the West coast to boot

The key to success has been cohesiveness. The question was, how would all of these new faces fit together in their first year in Chicago? This group has answered that bell and it shows in their playing style. It has been DeMar DeRozen and Zach LaVine leading them on the offensive side of the ball. The team defense has been stifling as well.

The Bulls rank 7th in the league posting a 104.4 team defensive rating. While this is a team stat, the addition of Alex Caruso has been a headache for opponents. Caruso is 2nd in the league in deflections per game in addition to drawing the toughest assignment of the night.

The roles of Lonzo Ball, Caruso, etc have been perfect compliments to their two stars. Even with the absence of Nikola Vucevic, this team continues to shine no matter who the competition is. Let’s take a moment to look at how the Bulls got here and what lies ahead for our beloved.

The Chicago Bulls pass a huge early-season test putting them in the driver seat of the East.

Looking at the schedule on a micro level can be a great tool when you have a tough stretch of games. Being able to take a step-by-step approach will allow each player to lock in on their assignment and do their job without looking ahead.

As mentioned, going .500 or better over this stretch was very important. If they did that, they would be in a prime spot in the East with the 2nd easiest schedule left in the NBA.

Step 1 (1-1)

The Bulls kicked off the party hosting the New York Knicks in what was a 104-103 heartbreaker. DeRozen had a shot to end the game but ultimately came up short with a double pump airball. Newly acquired Kemba Walker proved to be too much in this one by pouring in 21 points on 7/12 shooting.

The Bulls were home for one more to take on the Utah Jazz which was a much-needed bounce-back game. Starting this stretch of games 0-2 was not an option — especially on their home floor. DeRozen showed out with 32 points and give the Jazz their first loss of the season.

Step 2 (2-2)

Heading out East, the Bulls were able to hold serve by splitting their road trip between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers. Taking down the Celtics on the road while scoring 128 points was a good sign of what was to come.

Step 3 (4-3)

Coming back home, it was time for the Bulls to take the next step. After dropping game one of the three-game set at home, the Bulls were able to come out victorious over the Dallas Mavericks and the Brooklyn Nets.

The Bulls were able to put up 117 and 118 points respectively in those games with a different leading scorer each night. LaVine and DeRozen went back and forth as leading scores over this stretch. In fact, either DeRozen or LaVine led the team in scoring in each of the 12 games played.

Step 4 (7-5)

The last and most important step was the final five-game West Coast road trip. The Bulls have been historically abysmal on the road against western conference foes.

Their toughest test came early when they took on the Western Conference number one seed Golden State Warriors. They dropped that game 119-93 making this seem like just another lousy venture out west.

In reality, the Bulls salvaged the trip by going 3-1 the rest of the trip with a few dominant performances — notably against both LA teams.

The Bulls piggybacked this stretch of games with a 109-103 win over the Knicks moving their overall record to 12-5 and the number one seed in the East. Not to mention, Coby White had a welcome back performance giving the Bulls a much-needed lethal scoring threat off the bench. White scored 14 points with 10 of them coming in the 4th quarter.

Despite a tough loss to the Indians Pacers on Monday night after this 12 game stretch ended, the Bulls are for real and the nation is taking notice. Hop on the bandwagon and see red before it’s too late.

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