Bulls and Blackhawks Enter Key Times
Both the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks entered their respective seasons as true championship contenders. As the Bulls enter the All-Star break and the Hawks emerge from it, neither team finds itself at the top of the standings. The second half of each season will be critical as both teams look to make deep playoff runs.
Inconsistent play and injuries summed up the first half of the season for the Chicago Bulls. When healthy the team has looked like one of the most dangerous in the league with a record of [15-3] when all the starters have been healthy. Management limitations on playing time for Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah early in the season as they came back from injury, and then key injuries to Mike Dunleavy, and even rookie Doug McDermott, have, however, held the Bulls back. Yet the Bulls enter the All-Star break on a four game win streak and have quieted some of the doubters. Derrick Rose, who has remained relatively healthy thus far (knock on wood), has been often criticized this year for settling for too many jump-shots. The former MVP’s assist numbers have also been rather low, but as most fans know: as Derrick Rose goes so go the Chicago Bulls. Rose has looked substantially better the past two weeks, attacking the rim and finding his teammates on a more consistent basis. It will be important to keep an eye out on how he progresses in the second half of the season. Undoubtedly, the Bulls two best players this season have been Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol. It cannot be overemphasized how well they have played and the two were rewarded for their outstanding efforts when they were selected to the All-Star game. With all the angst and drama, the Bulls currently sit in third place in the Eastern Conference with their eye on jumping the teams ahead in the second half. It should be a terrific second half of the season as the teams jockey for playoff position
Be sure to catch a game at the United Center this season as the Bulls look to put together a strong second half! Get your Bulls Tickets Here!
No team in Chicago has had more playoff experience in the last five years than the Chicago Blackhawks. While the veteran bunch hasn’t always been at their best this NHL season, for the Hawks the true season begins in the playoffs. Currently, the Hawks sit at fourth place in the incredibly competitive Western Conference, a surprise result given their talent. With the All-Star break done and the ice smooth the team has set its sights on moving up the standings.
More than halfway through the season the usual suspects (Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, and Keith to name a few) have all performed up to their high standards. Patrick Kane, however, has simply taken his game to the next level. Number 88 has dazzled all year long and currently leads the entire league in points with 63. Marian Hossa has had the magic touch of late, scoring seven goals on his last thirteen shots. The veteran has been carrying the Blackhawks in their last few contests and the team will need him to continue his strong play if they want to catch the Blues, Ducks and Predators.
The skates will be sharp and the ice heating up as the second half of the season continues.
Photo Source: Chicago Tribune