As the Chicago Bulls’ 2022-23 season nears the halfway point, the team sits 19-21, 9th in the Eastern Conference. Surprisingly, the Bulls have seven impressive wins this season – more than all last season – when the Bulls won 46 games.
The Bulls’ 46 wins in the 2021-22 season were the most since the 2014-15 season, when the team won 50 games and lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals. In last season, though, there was a gray cloud that overshadowed one of the more successful seasons of the past decade: they couldn’t defeat playoff teams.
The Bulls have found much more success against elite teams this season, while playing down to worse competition.
The Bulls have a 7-2 record against most of the East’s top teams, the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. Last season, it seemed the Bulls couldn’t get over the hump against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, who they only beat once in both the regular season and playoffs.
The Bulls have converted a 180 degree flip from last season on both ends.
While the 7-2 record against the league’s best is great, the Bulls have found ways to fall in easily-winnable games. For example, after an embarrassing loss to the rebuilding Houston Rockets 133-118 Dec. 26, the Bulls defeated Milwaukee 119-113 in overtime on Dec. 28.
Still, the Bulls have proved they can play with the league’s best when they handed the Nets their first loss in a month Wednesday, ending the team’s league-leading 12-game win streak.
The Bulls showcased its depth, as six players scored double digits in the crucial victory. Patrick Williams showed his sky-high potential when he scored 22 points on incredible efficiency. Williams has made great contributions during the Bulls’ recent stretch, showcasing what the Bulls hoped to see from the young star.
The Bulls defeated the Philadelphia 76ers for the first time in 11 games Friday night at the United Center. Zach LaVine lit the Sixers’ defense up, scoring 41 points and hitting 11 threes in the 14-point win.
The offense was well-balanced, as three others scored double digits, and all bench players added 5+ points.
Nikola Vučević has turned his season around with consistent performances over the past week. Vučević notched his 5th career triple double in the momentous 126-112 win against the Sixers.
Vučević scored 19 points, snagged 18 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. Nikola had the most rebounds and assists, and his 19 points were second to LaVine.
If the Bulls can somewhat maintain their play against lesser opponents, the team can play up to its higher potential.
The Bulls are playing their best basketball of the season after the team’s locker room incident during the blowout loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves.