Did you see the Chicago Bulls win the last 3 games? I thought I did, but then I realized that those might not have been the Bulls. What about the team that lost 5 straight just a week ago? This team cannot seem to find it's identity. For weeks at a time, it looks like this team cannot cover anyone, the big men can't defend the paint, Luol Deng can't get in the flow of the offense, and Vinny seems confused at best. Then all of a sudden, nobody can score on them, they block double digit shots in a game, they get easy dunks and layups all over the place, and Vinny seems confused at best. (Maybe Vinny isn't confused, but I sure am confused by how he "coaches").
The problem is twofold. Not only does this team look different every night, but Vinny goes with different lineups and schemes so there is no way to really tell what's working. For instance, he went with Thabo for long stretches against the Suns, and yet Rose was noticeably absent for most of the 4th quarter with a sore foot. Was one of those things why the Bulls played well? It's different rotations and "strategies" every night, so there is no way to tell.
There is no reason to be all negative, though. Some things are clearly clicking. Hinrich is starting to get comfortable on the court after missing much of the first half of the season. Tyrus and Noah are looking much more active on the glass and in transition. I think Noah finally realized if he hustles a little and sprints out on the fast break, Rose will find him for the easy basket. About time he figured that one out.
Most importantly the re-emergence of Luol Deng has been wonderful to watch. He is clearly in a rhythm right now. Ever since coming back from his brief stint on the IR, he has finally found his shots within the flow of the offense. I don't think anyone had completely turned on Deng yet, but I know my frustrations with him were starting to boil up after the 6 year-$71 million deal he signed.
All in all the Bulls have played well so far on this trip (besides that terrible loss to Minnesota). With the next three games @HOU, @NO, and @DAL, they have a tough stretch, and things don't get much easier after that. With this team we are looking for improvement and signs of great things to come, so if they can steal one win in the next three and play good basketball even if they lose, there's a lot of reason to be positive about this Bulls team.
Assuming it's this Bulls team that comes to play. I hope it's not that other, shitty Bulls team. If it's the shitty one, I'm going to bed early.