The Bulls, now 11-8 on the season, went 3-1 last week, defeating the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons on the road and winning a difficult home matchup against the New York Knicks, who are 15-5 this season. Their only loss was a 80-76 defeat at the hands of the Indiana Pacers. Relying on the strength of their defense, the Bulls allowed 85 points or less in three of the four contests.
As Rosenthal writes in his rankings, Chicago's defensive effort has not gone unnoticed:
With the exception of a near-disaster in Detroit (praise be to Joakim Noah), Chicago's defense looks back where it's supposed to be. The Bulls kicked off a harsh stretch of a schedule by dismantling a Melo-less, but still dangerous, Knicks offense on Saturday. Meanwhile, I don't know what's gotten into Marco Belinelli, but I imagine the Bulls would like to keep it in there.
Rosenthal's entire top 10 remained the same with only the order of the teams changing. The San Antonio Spurs held onto the top spot after a perfect, three-win week, while the Oklahoma City Thunder moved up to No. 2, replacing the Memphis Grizzlies.