The Chicago Bulls turned in their first winning record on the circus
trip since the 1997-98 NBA season, however, as Joakim Noah and Tom
Thibodeau put it, the Bulls still have plenty of work to do.
SACRAMENTO -- Perhaps the most impressive part of the Bulls' 4-3 circus trip is that the players and coaches weren't impressed.
"We're not a 48-minute team," Joakim Noah said. "We have to improve on a lot of things."
Indeed, poor starts have led to double-digit
deficits that are needing a lot of energy to overcome. This is where
Carlos Boozer's return, in theory, should help. Not only will he be able
to lessen heavy minutes for players like Luol Deng and Noah, but Boozer
is the type of player who can slow other teams' runs because of his
ability to score in the post.
As tough as the schedule was on this trip, it doesn't get much
easier when the Bulls return. They face Orlando at home on Wednesday,
then travel to Boston on Friday and finish a back-to-back at home
against the Rockets.
"When we get to practice (Monday), we have to get to work," coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Even though the Bulls accomplished something that hasn't been done 13
years, they still feel that they have some more work to do. That's a
sign of a team that has championship aspirations, and faith in each
other that they're capable to do so.
However, Noah has a very good point: the Bulls haven't played a
consistent 48-minute stretch in a while. They always put themselves in a
early hole, eventually digging out of it and making a game out of it.
That's a sign of a team that's competing hard, but it can also be a
dangerous way of playing. The Bulls can't rely on coming back every
single game; they have to take control from the tip and maintain, as
the late Norm Van Lier always said, 48 minutes of intensity.
The Bulls will look very dangerous once Carlos Boozer returns; it's
going to be scary to watch how good this team will be with a low-post
scoring big man who is a sure 20/10 bet on a consistent basis.
The schedule doesn't get any easier, as the Bulls will play another
Eastern Conference contender, Orlando Magic, on Wednesday, followed by a
date with the defending Eastern Conference champion, Boston Celtics.
Playing at home for the first time in weeks will feel a bit weird,
but the United Center crowd will show them what they were missing.
Magic @ Bulls. 7:00pm C.S.T. CSN/ESPN 1000