The NBA.com Power Rankings were released today and it was no surprised who sat at the top: the undefeated Chicago Bulls, who stand at 9-0 going into the All Star break.
"Quite simply put, they're beasting the league right now," said Kevin Garnett. "When you construct a team like they did, you're a little skeptical, but they've shown us that they know what they're doing."
Indeed it is an oddly constructed team. No true inside scoring presence, a huge reliance on the 3 point shot off of drive and kicks from Derrick Rose and backup PG Andre Miller, but it's worked almost flawlessly for the Bulls, who as a team are shooting near 40% on the season from 3.
"I'm marveling at their team chemistry right now," said TNT analyst Kenny Smith. "When you have a team that works together as well as they do, it's no wonder they're playing great basketball."
The Bulls are tops in the league in assists so far this season with an average of about 25 per game, led by Derrick Rose's 8.6 assists. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, a known defensive minded coach still sticks to this mentality and credits defense, not superb offense, for their success.
"It all starts on the defensive end," says Thibodeau. "We have guys who play great defense every possession. Serge and Tyson are doing a fantastic job this year of helping out and getting those weak side blocks. Gerald is a fantastic defender. Derrick's making huge strides on the defensive end this year as well. Then when the bench comes in we got guys like Arron and Boris who can come in and lock down their guys."
Ibaka and Chandler are combining for nearly 6 blocks per game, a staggering number.
"When you can lock down teams in the paint like that and secure rebounds, it allows us to get easy points in transition." continued Thibodeau.
Sure enough, the Bulls average around 24 fastbreak points per game, a number reminiscent of the Miami Heat during the tenure of the Big Three.
"We all know our spots once we get in transition," said Gerald Wallace. "It's either an outlet to Derrick or myself when we're in the game and we're looking for each other or JRich spotting up in the corner. We're a pretty fast group so we can usually get a score for one of the three of us. And if we get Tyson or Serge running with us, it's lob city baby!"
"I don't usually get to throw so many lobs," laughed Rose. "Yeah getting out in transition is a lot of fun. These guys definitely know what to do on the break.
Nudging Wallace, Rose continued, "I'm just waiting for the day that I get to be on the receiving end of a lob instead of throwing it."
Things are looking good in the Windy City for the near future, but there's a lot of season left to play. But the Bulls are confident in their ability to secure the best record in the league yet again.
"We're just balling," said Tyson Chandler. "A'int no stopping us. We're not gonna let up. Like the late Norm Van Lier used to say '48 minutes of intensity' that's what it's all about. We're gonna show the league what's up."