The Bulls season has come to a close and although I was unable to cover it the way I usually do, I still had one eye on the action. Lots of things happened and Bulls management and the coaching staff should be commended on having these guys ready to play every night despite the devastating blow of losing Rose again and the trade of Deng.
Even though the Bulls dropped games to both New York and Charlotte towards the end of the season, they still went 21-9 in their last 30 contests (all after the All Star Break). This was also the best record posted by an Eastern Conference team during that period. Bulls fans should be proud.
Bulls Regular Season Stats
Best Bulls Signing
D.J. Augustin – D.J. (along with Joakim Noah) should be credited with turning the Bulls season around. Makes you wonder why things didn’t work out for him in Indiana a couple of years ago. An effective pick and roll player, D.J. is quick off the dribble, fast, a good passer and helps Chicago play faster. He’s no Rose obviously, but he can shoot the three and he reminds you of Derrick sometimes because he can hit key shots that stop runs and he also feeds the post extremely well. He can sometimes over-dribble, but typically, the ball moves when D.J. is on the floor.
Bulls vs NBA
Joakim Noah – 6th in rebs (11.3) | 12th in blocks (1.51) | 4th in dbl/dbls (47)
Jimmy Butler – 4th in stls (1.9)
D.J. Augustin – 5th in FT% (.885)
Joakim Noah (duh) – You always felt like after Derrick, Noah and Deng were right up there in terms of being leaders of the team. This season though, with Rose going down again 10 games into the season and the trading of Deng to Cleveland, the spotlight was on Noah. Would he preserve himself for next season? Throw other players under the bus? Take it easy? Well, Jo got up off the mat, put the team on his back and along with the coaching staff, found ways to win, night in and night out. He was a double/double machine (47) had (4) triple doubles and several near triple doubles. Noah’s performance this season also placed him in elite territory. He is now only the 6th center in league history to have 415 assists in a single season. Noah is also being strongly considered by voters for the DPOY award.
Iron Man Award
Taj Gibson was the only Bull to play all 82 games… Fingers crossed for him to win Sixth man award…
Best Regular Season Games
So many strong performances from the Bulls this season, but there are a few that stand out. Might not make everyone’s list, but these games stood out to me and they came pretty much late in the season after Chicago had regained its footing.
* Feb 26 vs. Golden State
Just a triumphant defensive stand the Bulls took against Golden State at the UC. Holding the NBA’s 10th rated offensive team to 83 pts. It was a dominating performance that featured the Bulls defense clicking on all cylinders. Curry went 2-10 and Klay Thompson 3-8. They didn’t just make them miss shots, they weren’t even able to get shots up. Smothering defense and and impressive victory.
* Feb 28 @ Dallas
The Bulls battled back from a 16pt. deficit to win 100-91. Taj played like a grown man down the stretch… 20/15 game from him, which led all scorers. Just a gutsy game, on the road against a tough shot making team with Dirk and Ellis. I’ll take a road West Coast win anytime, but this one was gratifying after the hole they fell in early.
* Mar 9 vs Miami Heat
Always nice to beat Miami, but this game was a juicy one. See, the Heat thought they were on their way to winning this game, but it was one where the Bulls just kept their heads down and kept playing… Then what do you know, they are all knotted up at 86 and it was a perfect setup for LBJ to be MVPish on a national (ESPN) stage. Jimmy wasn’t having it though…
Bulls dominate the Heat in OT and walk away with the win. Yeah, its regular season, but I love to see the kind of big plays Chicago is capable of when they play these cats.
* Mar 13 vs Houston
I wasn’t expecting the Bulls to do much against Harden and the Rockets. They have pretty much owned the Bulls in the last few games, regardless of whether we were in Houston or Chicago. The Bulls must have gotten angry though because they came out blazing hot in this one. Everyone should remember Dunleavy (or Dun Dun as his teammates like to call him) catching a bow in the post and having to receive 10 stitches. He came back into the game and ended up leading the Bulls to victory with a mind blowing 21 pts. Gutsy performance for him, which Noah would later say added to Duke’s street credibility. Unforgettable performance for sure.
* Nov 16 vs Pacers – Rose hit 6 threes, silencing P. George who talked trash after Bulls loss to Indy 10 days prior.
* Dec 5 vs Miami Heat – Blowout of the Heat (w/o Wade and Birdman) after dropping 6 of 7 was a team builder.
I’ll be posting a Bulls/Wizards preview next.