Open Game Thread #5: Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons

[Thanks to prashantrao for tonight's game preview. Our first look at the Pistons since that woeful playoff series should be a good one. Here's hoping the Bulls can finally put one in the win column. -Mike]

Just when it seemed like us Bulls fans could be reasonably certain of the team this year putting together a strong season, contending for the conference title and basically just improving on last season, we've been subjected to the 0-4 start.

Despite that, I'm not too down -- there are several past examples of teams (not just the Bulls) starting slowly and putting together good seasons. The most recent example, of course, is the 2006-07 Dallas Mavericks.

Now, say what you want about the Mavs last season, but they did win 67 wins, run away with the tougher conference and were among the favourites to win the NBA Championship -- until the debacle against the Warriors. The thing about that 67-win season, though, is the Mavericks started 0-4, albeit against a tougher schedule than the Bulls have had so far (San Antonio, @Houston, Golden State, @LA Clippers). Among those four season-opening losses was a 31-point loss in Houston, and an 18-point loss to the Clippers, all after the disastrous 2006 NBA Finals.

Other notable relatively recent examples include:

  • The 1996-97 Phoenix Suns started 0-13 and finished the season 40-42, good for the 7th spot in the West Playoffs.
  • The 1995-96 Cleveland Cavaliers started 0-7 and finished the season 47-35, earning them the 5th seed in the East.
  • Of course, as we all know, the 2004-05 Bulls started 0-9 and finished 47-35, good for 5th in the East.
Even last season's Bulls team started 3-9.

My point? It's a long season, and bad starts can be overcome. There's little evidence to show that this particular Bulls team is one made up of players with fragile confidence, so tonight against Detroit could just be the start of a very good season.

Behind Enemy Lines:
Detroit Bad Boys

Game Previews:
Chicago Tribune
Detroit Free-Press

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