So back in January, I said the next 20 games would define the Bulls season. I was simply hoping they could go 13-7 and felt they'd lock up the three seed with such a performance. When the Bulls started off at 7-2 heading into the all-star break, we felt pretty darn good about the team.
However, the toughest stretch was yet to come, and I only increased my hopes to 14-6 record over the whole 20 games. Well, the Bulls have outdone that effort as well finishing the stretch 16-4.
Granted, a couple games that looked tough initially (New Orleans and Utah the second time around) ended up much easier with Chris Paul out and Deron Williams traded, but the Bulls came away winning all the big games.
Their four losses?
@Golden State, @Portland, @Toronto, and @Atlanta
Losing to Golden State and Toronto is simply inexplicable for this team, even on the road, they were up by 19 in the Atlanta game, and Portland simply had our number. Still, losses to inferior opponents happen, and they happen a lot more on the road. There's no use trying to quantify what went wrong in every game when we can instead focus on what went right.
Orlando, @Utah, @New Orleans, San Antonio, Miami, @Orlando, @Miami, Atlanta
That's eight wins against marquee teams with four of those coming on the road. I'll take that any day.
The result? The tough 20 proved where the Bulls were alright. It proved they're contenders for the title. It proved they have a chance at taking the #1 seed. It proved the Bulls aren't who I thought they were, it proved they were better.
Soak it in Chicago, these Chicago Bulls are legit. They aren't one of the 'try hard' Skiles era teams lacking the talent and making up for it on effort. They're ready to rumble with anyone in the league.