NBA: Chicago Bulls a team to watch as playoffs near

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

I’ll be the first to admit my level of excitement for the Chicago Bulls has waned in the post-Jordan years. During his years, it wasn’t unusual for me to schedule my social life around their game schedule.

That is no longer the case. However, I must also admit this year’s team has reignited the Bulls spark in me. Their combination of talent and winning has a way of doing that.
The Bulls have clinched the Eastern Conference Central Division.

At press time, their record was 56-20, a .737 percentage. They are 34-14 in the conference and have only lost one game out of 15 within their division. Their home fans have witnessed 33 wins and only five losses so far this year.

I think much of that is attributable to the MVP season Derrick Rose is having. His 25.1 points per game average is seventh in the league. He’s currently 10th in the league in assists with 7.9 per game. That combination is the cornerstone of the Bulls’ solid foundation.

Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng are the perfect yen to Rose’s yang. Both are averaging more than 17 points per game. Although hampered by injuries on and off this year, Joakim Noah has been stellar in the middle when he’s on the court.

Keith Bogans is one of only two players (Deng) to start every game this season. His reliability and toughness are qualities that can’t be measured on any stat sheet.
In my opinion, this Bulls team has a legitimate chance of advancing to the NBA Finals.

They do a good job of playing off each other’s strengths and seem to accept their individual roles as part of the whole. I haven’t witnessed any ego-driven dissent among this team. I think that’ll prove to be a huge asset as they advance throughout the playoffs.

With only a handful of games remaining in Chicago’s regular season, I think it might be time for me to make sure I pay close attention to their playoff schedule.

I’m going to want to adjust my schedule so I can catch all of those games. I think this team’s worth it.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the April 6-12, 2011 issue

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