Coming off of a huge win last night, the Bulls now hit the road for a five game trip. It begins a trend, as the rest of the Bulls regular season schedule is road heavy (15 of 26 games), where the Bulls are a very human 13-13 thus far. It all gets started tomorrow night, when the Bulls take the Tri-State north up to Milwaukee. With the first two games of the trip the Bulls should be heavily favored, facing the Bucks and then the Wizards (which is not to say that they are locks – especially after the disaster in Toronto Wednesday night). After that things get a little spicy, as the Bulls will take on three Eastern Conference playoff contenders, each of which is more difficult than the last. First up will be the Atlanta Hawks, with newly acquired former-Bull Kirk Hinrich. Next is a trip down to Orlando to face the Magic and Dwight Howard (who has a knack for putting a beatdown on the Bulls). Then the trip rounds out in Miami, where the Heat will be looking to get their first win against the Bulls this season. The game will also be a showcase for the MVP race between Derrick Rose and LeBron James on national TV on a Sunday.
The Bulls are a mere two games back in the East, trailing both Boston and Miami (who the Bulls have the edge in the season series tiebreaker). In order to make that push for the top spot, this road trip needs to be a success. Anything more than one loss, could see them slip too far off the lead with too few games left. It is time Bull-Down, Chicago Bulls!
One key for these games is to get Rose going early. Too often he starts games as a traditional point guard, settling for a few jumpers, and not cutting into the lane. Being their biggest offensive threat, he needs to get to the hoop early in order to open up the floor. This is especially true when playing lesser opponents. This plays close games against lower level teams way too much. Let’s see them end this trend tomorrow night and then keep it going against the Wiz.