Like most everyone else here, I have been obsessively reading every article about every game we’ve played this year, quotes about anything Bulls-related at all. I have no choice but to read about them. I’m in the Navy on a ship at sea and can’t watch many of the games. One thing I keep hearing from Rose are quotes along the lines of "we have much bigger goals in mind." Okay, that’s obviously an understated remark intent on keeping people from getting carried away about their success since their stated focus is taking each game one game at a time. That’s great if you’re a player on the Chicago Bulls, but as a fan, I don’t have to take things one game at a time. I am free to speculate, and dissect every word from every post-game interview, to look ahead at the schedule and get as carried away as I want. And so I will.
Back to the hundred-or-so times Rose has said, "we have much bigger goals in mind." First off, we have to assume he means NBA Championship. But he used the plural "GOALS," so we also have to assume he knew he was going to push for MVP right from the jump – which is no surprise since he’s the one who made that bold claim in the first place. Coach of the Year? Well that award seems to be such a politically charged award, I can’t believe that they truly set out for this one. Thibodeau obviously knows this, and has tempered such talk with the "winning takes care of everything" mantra. But is he sly like a fox, and understood all this time that that was EXACTLY the thing to say and do in order to achieve his goal of earning it? This team has turned out to be a very special team, and I am beginning to suspect that all these accolades that are starting to make their way to the surface as this season is ending is something that they all planned for as far back as the summer…EXACTLY like the championship Bulls of the ‘90’s did. How do you shake off Jordan’s shadow? You try to do what his Bulls never did, and you set out to take down every record they held. Six titles is a tall order, but who’s to say they can’t at this point? These Bulls all believe in themselves, how much better do you think we’ll fare in free agency over the next five years with a team like this? Wouldn’t you want to play with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in the later years of your career if you’re Kobe Bryant and get fed up with the Lakers and Jerry Buss? Wouldn’t you want to play with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah if you are Dwyane Wade and learned from your mistakes in previous free agencies? I think this team could become a team that anyone would want to play for now that someone had the balls to try and beat Jordan’s legacy by building their own. Somehow, I don’t think LeBron will ever play for Chicago, and further, I really wouldn’t want him if he didn’t have the brains to realize last summer that joining the Bulls was the best basketball decision he could have made.
Now let’s get really carried away – or maybe not so much – and consider this 8 game winning streak the Bulls are currently on. Do you think this group of Bulls has it in mind to try and eclipse the all-time Bulls win streak of 18 games (from 1996)? Remember, as a fan I do not have to take each game one at a time like they do. Here they are on the crest of an 8 game win-streak and they’re about to face sub-.500 teams for most of them. Indiana? No problem. Sacramento, no problem. Atlanta, well assuming we get Carlos Boozer back by then, it’s certainly winnable. Memphis, Milwaukee? No problem. Philadelphia will be tougher, but it’s in Chicago, no problem. Minnesota, Detroit, Toronto, Phoenix? Please. In fact the Bulls could be at an 18 game win streak by the time they face Boston on April 7th, IN CHICAGO. They could honor Pippen with his bronze bust at half time, and beat Boston for their 19th straight win! After that the toughest opponent they face is Orlando and New York. Orlando the Bulls have beaten, so they should know what to do in that game, and New York they will be motivated to beat because they have not yet done so. Really and truly, there is reason to believe this Bulls team could win out the rest of their games this season and finish with a 23-game win streak, which would be the second-longest win streak of ALL-TIME behind the 33-game win streak the Lakers pulled off in 1972. Can I get carried away? You bet I can. Is it possible? Why not? With the way these Bulls prepare for their games, I most certainly believe it is.
The conspiracy theorist in me believes that on some chalk board in the Berto center there’s a list of goals to eclipse, and one of them is a number "18" circled and underlined. I think they’ve been working toward this all year among all their other goals.