Rose-less Bulls continue to charge
How do the Bulls manage to keep winning without reigning MVP Derrick Rose? Almost any other team would not be able to win anywhere near the same amount of games if they lost their number one player for the amount of time that the Bulls have gone without Rose. Imagine if the Thunder lost Kevin Durant for that long? Sure they might win more then half their games, but could they really maintain that same dominance like the Bulls have? Doubtful. Westbrook would be double teamed and they would lose a great deal of scoring without Durant in the lineup, and they would struggle to make up for it.
Perhaps the main reason that the Bulls have been able to keep it up is their focus on defence. Thibodeau preaches defence like few other coaches, a true Doc Rivers acolyte. This is embodied by their recent win over the Hawks, holding the Atlantan team to just 77 points. They don’t miss Rose’s scoring because they are able to avoid having to score a great deal of points. Boozer and Deng can score enough points to win if they are able to keep the oppositions scoring down. Their loss against Denver shows this, as they weren’t able to keep up as the Nuggets scored over 100 points. That is where the Bulls truly miss Rose’s presence.
The strength of the Bulls bench also helps this, as they are able to keep up both their scoring and defensive presence when they go to the bench. This is especially relevant when you talk about their bench front court, with Taj Gibson and Omer Asik coming off the bench. This two players give up little on the defensive end, even being put on by Thibodeau when Boozer and Noah aren’t getting the job done. Defense appears to be the key to the Bulls’ ability to make up for Rose’s absence.