With both Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose sidelined with injuries, things looked like they could get ugly for the Bulls. However, over the last week, the Bulls have gone on an impressive run, and the national media is taking notice.
In ESPN’s weekly NBA power rankings, they ranked the Bulls No. 5 overall, up eight spots from last week. From ESPN.com:
The fuss over Jimmy Butler’s recent exploits is completely understandable, given Chicago’s surge to No. 2 in the East with Derrick Rose out of lineup. The transaction-minded among us, mind you, are surely wondering more about Bobby Portis’ increased minutes lately … and what that means trade-wise for Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Pau Gasol, etc.
Starting Christmas, the Bulls are 5-1, winning their last four straight and their only loss came in overtime on the road against Dallas. They have been without Rose for their last two games and Noah wasn’t able to play in any of them.
According to the rankings, the Bulls are the second-best team in the Eastern Conference, the same spot they sit in the record book, one spot behind Cleveland.
Both Jimmy Butler and Bobby Portis were acknowledged in the power rankings for good reason. Butler scored a franchise-record 40 points in one half Sunday night and scored the game winning bucket four days earlier against the Pacers. Portis has emerged as a true NBA talent in his rookie season, taking the majority of Noah’s lost minutes.
The Bulls are back on the court Tuesday against Milwaukee at home. Rose is expected to return either for the Bucks game or two days later against Boston.
Stats courtesy of ESPN