This post isn’t going to be about Derrick Rose deserving to be the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. It’s also not going to be about Tom Thibodeau being a legitimate candidate for the league’s Coach of the Year.
But given the flow of the forthcoming words those two points should be completely, unavoidably obvious.
That’s because over the next month the Chicago Bulls are very capable of capturing the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Yes, that means running away and hiding from two championship caliber teams — the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, who looked every bit the juggernaut many expected them to be in their beat down of San Antonio the other night.
Not only are the Bulls capable, that outcome seems likely.
After their win over Washington on Tuesday, the Bulls have won seven straight since losing on the road to the Atlanta Hawks on March 2. They’re 48-18 with a half-game lead over Boston for the top spot in the East.
Between now and the season finale they play an exceedingly soft schedule.
The remainder of their matchups look like this: New Jersey, Indiana, Sacramento, Atlanta, Memphis, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Detroit, Toronto, Phoenix, Boston, Cleveland, Orlando, New York and New Jersey.
See a theme there? Lots of sup-.500 teams prime for a beating.
And let’s not forget, the top seed is actually something of importance to this Bulls team. Drawing what should be a walkover series against the No. 8 seed (right now it would be the Pacers) matters.
It doesn’t matter to Boston — a group that probably feels it can make a deep run no matter the opponent or home-court advantage. Same goes for Miami. What do those guys care about seeding?
But for the Bulls — a team that’s 30-4 at home — all those things carry weight. Tom Thibodeau will grind it out until all that is clinched.
By then, it’ll be apparent he and his point guard are in line for some serious postseason accolades.