Without Derrick Rose out, the Chicago Bulls lack a certain explosiveness on the floor, and in turn, an ability to pull away from teams for easy victories.
Twelve of the Bulls' first 15 games were decided by less than 10 points. That trend continued against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, with the outcome this time favoring the Bulls, 93-88. The win sparked a sense of confidence in the team, and according to Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, forward Taj Gibson understands that without their top offensive weapon, the Bulls must find a way to win anyway they can.
"We're just still trying to find ways to close games," (Gibson) said. "We know that we're going to be in a lot of close games this season, but we're just taking it one game at a time and improving slowly but surely."
Luol Deng has been the model of success in this new Bulls' mentality, playing solid basketball on both ends of the court and doing whatever is necessary to win games. Saturday, Deng scored 25 points, added seven rebounds, seven assists and played well defensively. Head coach Tom Thibodeau was thrilled with Deng's effort in the victory.
"The thing about Luol is he will give you whatever the team needs," Thibodeau said. "You need a little more scoring, he goes that route. If you need great defense, he gives you that. If you need toughness on the boards, he will give you that. I thought his shots were big and timely and clutch for us."
Deng and the Bulls look to carry the momentum and confidence from Saturday into their upcoming contest against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, the first of four games for Chicago this week.