Battered and bruised, and in the dog days of the NBA season, the Chicago Bulls completed a long six-game Western Conference road swing at 3-3, with wins over the San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Lakers.
Most impressively, the Bulls ever-present defense held a number of high-powered offenses to low point totals.
The Spurs and their typically-flawless execution managed just 86 (To be fair, the Spurs are dealing with a rash of injuries comparable to what the Bulls have).
The surprising Suns, who just swept the Pacers and put up huge point totals in both meetings, were held to just 92 in a very impressive Bulls win.
The Lakers, despite being a miserable team this season, can put up points with Mike D’Antoni’s run-n-gun system, but the Bulls stifled them to 86. It’s nice to see the team’s effort staying high.
To supplement the defense, Taj Gibson has improved his offensive game
and given Tom Thibodeau a reliable offensive option. Gibson scored 17 at New Orleans, 23 at Golden State, and 18 at Los Angeles. With rumors swirling about potential sign-and-trades in the offseason involving Gibson and the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, Gibson has put together a very good stretch.
Playing the Derrick Role, D.J. Augustin has continued his resurgent season, averaging 14.8 points per game on the road trip.
(We’re talking about Bulls here. These are numbers are something to be proud of, so don’t laugh.)
The Bulls now close out the pre-All-Star break schedule with home game against the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets. After the break, the Bulls will hit the road again and play four of the first six on the road.
At 25-25, there’s not much more we could ask from Thibs and the Bulls. I don’t have to (or want to) rehash all of the reasons it’s impressive for the Bulls to even be at .500, but that makes it no less impressive. I hope John Paxson, Gar Forman, and Jerry Reinsdorf see what coach Thibodeau is doing with a very shorthanded team and put an end to any smoke and rumors about Thibodeau bolting town.