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Bulls Mon Dec 13 2010

Bulls Starting to Find Their Groove

chicagobulls.pngWith the Bears leading the NFC North and the Blackhawks' title defense off to a good start, you might have overlooked the first six weeks of the NBA season. But with Derrick Rose scoring 25.1 points per game (fourth-best in the NBA) and Joakim Noah averaging 12 rebounds (third), the Bulls are fourth in the Eastern Conference and first in the Central Division with a 14-8 record. Under first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau, they're playing exciting, physical basketball and looking like a real threat to the giants of the East.

Friday's 88-84 win against the visiting Lakers was their best win of the season so far. Behind Rose's 29 points and nine rebounds, the Bulls fought back from an early deficit and stayed on top of the Lakers down the stretch. For Chicago, a team that showed flashes of brilliance against some of the league's best last year but lacked the ability to finish them off, a win like this displays an evolving mentality. No longer content to just compete, the Bulls are expecting to win the big games--and willing to put in the work to do it.

Need even more proof? Consider Saturday's game against the lackluster Timberwolves, less than 24 hours after the emotional win against Kobe and the Lakers. The Bulls didn't take the win for granted, crushing Minnesota, 113-82, for their fifth straight win. It's a sign that Thibodeau has his players in the right mindset, confident in their abilities but aware there's still work to be done.

After a flurry of offseason roster changes, Chicago's roster might not look too familiar this season, but in the coming weeks we'll examine some of those changes and their impact. In the meantime, check out the Bulls tonight at home against the Indiana Pacers. You'll see a team on the cusp of title contention, gaining momentum for a big 2011 and worth following every bit as closely as the Bears and Blackhawks.

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