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Can Anyone Say Playoffs?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 11, 2005 4:05PM

picture via ChicagoBulls.comAt the outset of the NBA season, Chicagoist fearlessly predicted that the Bulls would make the playoffs. Surely, many we were questioning how the Bulls might reach the 37 victories we predicted. Especially when the team started 0-9. But now we don't look so wrong, do we?

The Bulls' first win came the night before Thanksgiving, when the they knocked off the Utah Jazz 101-99. Including that game, the Bulls have gone 14-9 since. Pretty respectible for a team with four rookies getting heavy minutes. The Bulls are now 5-1 in January, with their only loss coming at the hands of the NBA Champion Detroit Pistons. The Bulls' next five games are all against teams with .500 records or worse -- could the Bulls begin the month 10-1 heading into their Jan. 22 rematch with Detroit? That may be a stretch, but this team really is a much better team than they were to begin the season.

Good teams win by playing good defense. Detroit's title run last year exemplifies this. A tough defensive team took down the league's best inside-outside scoring presence when they knocked off Shaq's and Kobe's Lakers in five games. And the Bulls are finally playing some good defense!

The Bulls allowed 100 points or more in 5 of the 9 losses to begin the season. Since that point? Only once in 23 games. They are now 5th best in the league in scoring defense, allowing 92.5 points/game for the season, 84.9 in the last 24 games.

The Bulls currently sit just 1/2 game behind Philadelphia, who are tied with Boston for the 8th playoff seed as the Sixers come to town on Wed. A win, coupled with a Boston loss to Toronto that night, would put the Bulls in line for that spot! Yeah, yeah, it's early in the season but to even be in this situation is a huge step forward for this team. Especially with their 0-9 start. Time for all you former Bulls fans to jump back on the bandwagon.