Believe it or not, the Chicago Bulls have slipped a little in one of our favorite Power Rankings. But perhaps that's understandable when you consider the team has played only four games in the last week (including last night's blowout of the Sacramento Kings) and -- gasp! -- lost one of them. Meanwhile, the Bulls' top competition show little signs of relenting. Here's how it breaks down:
"Incoming transmission from the SB Nation Mothership. Go ahead, Mothership." Our network's own Power Rankings show some slippage. The Bulls drop one place to third, between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers. Understandable, perhaps, given that the Heat have, like the Bulls, won three of their last four but scored over 100 points in each of those victories. (Interestingly, there one loss was to -- you guessed it -- a good team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.)
In fact, NBA Contributor Tom Ziller calls out the Bulls' offense, writing, "The Bulls are No. 13 on offense, and while the 2007-08 Celtics proved you can win like that -- league-best defense, almost average offense -- it's not optimal." True enough, though still a somewhat humorous thing to read after the aforementioned 132-point smash-up of the Kings last night.
What do you say, NBA? The league's own Power Rankings go all out this week, giving us not only the usual, well, rankings, but also a look at the seed battles going on right now. (Note to agricultural enthusiasts whose search engines led them here because I just used the term "seed battles": Please keep reading! Life is more than farming, y'know!) The Bulls, as you might expect, face off against the Boston Celtics for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference -- and win in two of three categories, "momentum" and "schedule". NBA.com's John Schuhmann still feels the Celtics are in a better "position" (the third category) to hang on to the top seed.
In terms of the Power Rankings themselves, the Bulls hold fast at No. 3, between the San Antonio Spurs and the Thunder. Schuhmann notes, "Derrick Rose has averaged 29.2 points, but has shot 38 percent and averaged only 4.0 assists over the last five games." But, in all fairness, his rankings went up before last night's big win. And I'd guess that the Spurs' ranking will drop now that Tim Duncan is hurt.
Boot up the Hollinger supercomputer! Last but not least -- in fact, I've saved the best for last -- we have ESPN's 2010-11 Hollinger Power Rankings, which are based on an automatically updating mathematical formula. (Nerd alert!) As alluded to in our title, there are two things in life that don't lie: Fast and numbers. To wit, the Bulls rank No. 1 this week with a 108.221 rating. That's up from 107.667 last week and discernibly above the No. 2 ranked Lakers (107.279). So, though I'll be the first to quote the great Mark Twain in ranting, "Lies, damn lies, and statistics!", I'll also say, "Thank you, sir. We'll take it!"
In the humdrum world of standings, the Bulls are, as of this writing, tied with the Celtics atop the Eastern Conference, two and a half games ahead of the hated Heat. They're 9-1 in their last 10 and four games above .500 on the road, which is where they'll play tonight against the Atlanta Hawks.