The Chicago Bulls are a threat as the NBA season heads towards it's business end.
I didn't think I would be saying that at the turn of the year, but their results (and performances) in the past two months have been as impressive as any team in either conference.
Over the past ten games only the Miami Heat can match the Chicago outfit in terms of results. And while many analysts are clamouring to proclaim the return of the Heat to top form on the back of this run, the Bulls are sneaking in under the radar.
When the franchise traded Luol Deng on January 7 many saw it as a sign that they had given up on this season and were looking to tank sufficiently to nab themselves a solid draft pick.
Some even believed this to be the case when Derrick Rose went down with another season-ending injury as far back as November.
But since the British star said goodbye to Chicago, the Bulls have posted a 16-8 record in the subsequent 24 games and improved their overall record to 31-26 - an effort good enough to see them sit 4th in the Eastern Conference at present.
The likes of 2014 All-Star Joakim Noah have stepped up in the absence of Rose, and coach Thibodeau has created a game style based on a relentless defense.
That defense is crucial right now what with the Bulls currently having the unenviable title of worst offense in the league (they score less than 93 points a game on average). But the fact that they can post a winning record with such a tag-line is even more impressive.
There never-say-die attitude is something to be marvelled at, and will certainly be leading to coaches in the Western Conference crossing their fingers that they don't meet the resurgent team come playoff time.
And last night the franchise showed they could mix it with the best of them, overcoming the Golden State Warriors by 20 points in a convincing 103-83 win.
Add to that the fact that they restricted free scoring Steph Curry to just five points all night and at risk of sounding like a broken record, their defense is good!
With rumors that they are interested in the acquiring the services of Danny Granger also doing the rounds at present, the addition of the veteran small forward would be welcome as they look to improve their offensive stats.
While it would by hyperbolic of me to suggest the Bulls could transfer this good recent run into a title challenging season, it will certainly be fun to see just how they can do come crunch time.
One thing is for sure, they are proving that they should not be underestimated.
And if they can keep this group as is, and eventual return their star man Rose to full fitness who knows what is possible in the future.
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