“Bench Mob” Helps Bulls Continue to Roll
When most teams have four of their players out, including two starters and the replacement for one of said starters, things could get a bit testy. This is what happened to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, and despite it all, they came up big with a win over the Charlotte Bobcats. But this isn’t about the win over the Bobcats, per se. No, this is about the guys that came off the bench and stepped up, the Bench Mob. This was the third game in a row the Bulls won without Derrick Rose in the lineup as he battles turf toe. After a resounding victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night, the team was unsure if Rose would return for the next night’s game. That decision to rest Rose was made so much easier due to the way his supporting cast and the bench had dominated without him. I’ve been saying for the past month that the Bulls have one of the deepest benches in the league. However, I will now say, without a doubt, that the Bulls have THE deepest bench in the league. No one can deny this now. With Joakim Noah out, Omer Asik was asked to step it up for his first start of the season. And he did in a big way. He played a career-high 38 minutes, and opened the game with a monstrous dunk thanks to an awesome feed from Luol Deng. C.J. Watson has also done great starting for the injured Rose. He’s racked up 49 points over the last three games and has played an even greater number of minutes, especially with John Lucas III now sitting out as well. But just like Lucas came out of nowhere when injuries hit, so has third (fourth?) string point guard Mike James. James was called out of the D-League as a precautionary measure once Rose and Watson were both down earlier this month. He really got to see extended minutes the past two games, with 17 coming against the Bobcats, scoring nine points. This is what makes this team so likable. This team plays as a unit. This team is unselfish. This team…well, just plays like every team should. Everything is just clicking, even without big name players like Rose and Noah. So just think for a moment…think how much BETTER the team will do when back to 100 percent. If the team can blow out the Cavs without a completely healthy roster, imagine what they can do when they do have all their bodies. At this point, there seems to be no reason why coach Tom Thibodeau can’t have all 12 players in action at some point during the game. Feel free to throw them in at any time, too. We saw Brian Scalabrine emerge from the end of the bench in the first quarter Saturday… and promptly followed that up with a steal. There’s no reason at all why that can’t continue to happen. Thibodeau has faith in his bench. So don’t be surprised if you see the regular rotation get expanded to 11 players next month. Thibodeau knows what he’s got, and he’s going to use it. This is a guest post by Nick LaBanca from MidwayMadness.com. Midway Madness is a site dedicated to Chicago sports. It is written by Chicago sports fans, for Chicago sports fans. Nick LaBanca is a Columbia College graduate who grew up in Chicago and is an avid Chicago Bulls and White Sox fan. Wanna read more from Nick? Click here.