You remember the Road Warriors right? Later the Legion of Doom! From Chicago? Of course you do.
Lets be honest people the Bulls are kinda overrated. So before Dan Bernstein goes off thinking that the Bulls championship window is now lets look to nights like tonight to bring us off our perch. I'm not trying to be a Debbie downer because I'm seriously tired of losing basketball.
Yes the Raptors shot over 50% blah blah blah. I'm trying to remember the last big road game the Bulls won? Dallas on the lucky 3 from Taj? Of the teams that you would consider contenders the Bulls have lost every road game to the top teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs.
Yes it's nice to have a winning home record but the true sign of a legit team are road wins. For example the Celtics go into Golden State and Ray Allen is in the middle of the pre game huddle pumping up the bench players.. saying Golden State doesn't deserve to be on the same court as them. I'm not saying Rose needs to show fire and passion while holding a Chicago style hot dog in the huddles. But there needs to be a tone set from the start on the road. They can not play down to the level of bad teams.
The Bulls are presently 38-17. On the road 13-13. Not good!
Bulls are just a .500 team on the road. Lets see what are the road records of some of the contenders..
Orlando 15- 13
To me this is where you start to notice who are contenders and who are pretenders. Sorry Kevin McHale I don't think the Bulls will have the # 1 seed when it's all said and done as you think. Kinda like when you predicted Derrick Rose as the AS MVP? This is not the way you wanna start the second half obviously.
15 of the last 27 games on the schedule are on the road.
So far the Bulls can be beat any night by the flip of the coin on the road and that doesn't bode well for the playoffs.
Part of the road woes are simple defensive break downs and the offense becoming Derrick Rose dominate. Very predictable with not much help coming from the SG or Carlos Boozer when it matters.
I realize that Noah and Boozer have had limited time together because of injuries but the time they have had I really haven't noticed much of the expectations that Noah would clean up for Boozer poor defense. If anything I've noticed Noah looking winded and frustrated with Boozer. Thats been discouraging to me.
So far so bad for them.
I'm not advising panic but I'm just noticing a trend here.
Unless the Bulls change their mental approach on the road I can't consider them legit contenders for the NBA Championship.
I thought before the season the Bulls would be a second round out and so far they haven't changed my opinion of them.
I mentioned last week that statement games are mostly won in hostile environments and cringed when I read Derrick called the Spurs game a statement games. Thibs brushed that off and I agreed.
Rose, when asked by The Chicago Tribune whether the game (8:00pm ET on TNT) is a statement game, responded “Definitely. It will mean a lot to see how far we've come. ... It's a measuring stick for us to see how good we are.”
When the teams met in San Antonio on Nov. 17, the Bulls blew a 17-point first half lead and lost, 103-94. They were outscored 37-12 in the third quarter.
Thibodeau, however, said he doesn’t believe in statement games.
"The only thing (a win) means is we played well at home," Thibodeau told The Tribune. "When you start looking at all the other stuff, you get away from focusing on what you need to focus on. And that's the Spurs. Whatever the record is at home, that's in the past."
Read more: http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2011-02-17/bulls-rose-thibodeau-disagree-on-magnitude-of-game-vs-spurs#ixzz1ErZDYxW8
Maybe the Bulls are thinking about the Heat or the trade deadline but the truth is the Bulls need to become Road Warriors and change the way they start on the road. One step forward two steps back is a frustrating way to learn things.
The East is getting better and the Raptors showed a young talented roster is not far from becoming what the Bulls were a few years ago an... upstart. It's going to be interesting to see how they perform in March with key away games against Miami, ATL, Orlando and even Charlotte.
These last few months will be the measuring stick games and lets hope this is nothing more than a bump in the road.