The Chicago Bulls close out the dreadful month of February on Thursday night as they play host to the struggling Philadelphia 76ers. The Bulls hope to end the month on a high note -- with a win -- as they’ve gone 4-8 thus far.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s going on with the Bulls as they currently resemble the team we saw in early November as opposed to the one we’ve seen in December and January. They seem to be playing with a lot less energy and focus these days as opposed to the squad with the “us against the world” mentality that has spurred them to some impressive victories this season.
Perhaps the players and coaches have grown tired of all the Derrick Rose speculation and talk? Aside from the local media asking the question on when the team thinks D. Rose will be back, you know that individually, they all get asked that same question in their private, individual circles as well.
Rose tore the ACL in his left knee against this same Sixers squad ten months ago. The anticipation for his comeback, initially sparked by adidas’ ‘The Return’ campaign, was later followed up with a less-than-optimistic interview the point guard gave to USA Today and then scathing comments from his older brother, Reggie, towards the Chicago Bulls front office, has created tons of media fodder that, understandably, has everyone burned out on the entire thing at this point.
Tom Thibodeau has staunchly refused to call the D. Rose situation a distraction and feels the team’s struggles have nothing to do with “when will Derrick be ready” queries. But whatever the case, the Bulls aren’t playing at the level that fans have become accustomed to and instead of world-beaters, the team looks beaten down by the world at this point.
Maybe a game against the Sixers, who are currently in the midst of a six-game losing streak, will be exactly what the team needs to jumpstart themselves and get back on track? We’ll find out soon enough.
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Published at 1:39 PM CST on Feb 28, 2013