The Bulls have somewhat come back down to Earth recently, going just 9-6 in March after an 11-4 January and 9-4 February. But as some guys like Carlos Boozer slow down, and guys like Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich struggle to shoot, the Bulls have found relevancy from Joakim Noah, DJ Augustin and Taj Gibson.
The first two there have developed into a dynamic duo that has been difficult to stop. Noah and Augustin have developed a chemistry that the NBA has not seen before. Augustin, the little 6-foot point guard is the one scoring while Noah racks up the triple-doubles for fans to drool over.
Augustin is scoring an average of 17.7 point in the month of March, a total that has many wondering if the Bulls actually have two sixth-men of the year candidates with him and Gibson. Noah, meanwhile, is averaging 13.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists, stuffing the stat-sheet with steals and blocks as well. His rebounds are down only for the fact that he is basically the team’s offensive orchestrator.
The way Noah threads the needle on some of those passes to a cutting wing or Augustin has me falling out of my seat over how ridiculous they are. Noah credits former teammate Brad Miller for teaching him how to pass the ball from the center position, but he is out there throwing passes like All-NBA point guard Chris Paul.
The Bulls rotation is almost strictly being run by seven guys, with a few sparse appearances by big man Nazr Mohammed and wing Tony Snell, only to keep the others from getting too gassed.
Coach Tom Thibodeau and Noah have this team believing they can win it all. While it is probably foolish as fans to have this hope, you have to like the team’s chances of potentially upsetting the Indiana Pacers in a second-round playoff series. Noah’s dominance of fellow all-star center Roy Hibbert has been entertaining to say the least, holding him to 3-10 shooting in Indy and a 0-5 joke in Chicago a couple days later. Paul George hasn’t been doing anything as well as Butler has really shut him down lately.
As for beating the Heat, that may be too much to ask of this team. The Bulls simply don’t have enough athletic ability to compete with the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but don’t tell Noah that; he believes that he can dominate King James and his subjects.
The Bulls may not have the horses to be able to go all the way, but they will certainly be up for the challenge.