Chicago Bulls are the NBA's Hottest Team in 2014 Thanks to Surging D.J. Augustin

By Ryan Heckman
Jesse D. Garrabrant — Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls won yet again Monday night in thrilling fashion. As they went into overtime with the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago had big things riding on the outcome of this game. To keep pace with the best of the best in 2014, the Bulls needed a win — and win they surely did. Taj Gibson hit a game-winner at the end of the fifth and final period to give the Bulls an 8-2 record in their last 10, good for tops in the NBA.

These Bulls of the new year are something special. They may not be flashy. They may not boast a superstar talent. But, what they do have is a group of guys coached by one of the best coaches in all of sports — Tom Thibodeau. Under Thibs’ system, every player knows what is expected out of them. The guy expects 110 percent on defense, which will ultimately lead to wins. This team gets it.

What they’ve lacked without Derrick Rose is a true scoring threat. But, an unlikely fill-in point guard has done a fine job in running the offense and scoring some points along the way. D.J. Augustin has come into Chicago with a chip on his shoulder after not having worked out too well with a few other teams. The 26-year old has been phenomenal for Chicago in 2014, thus surging these Bulls to a record of 20-20 while winning eight of 10 in January.

Augustin poured in his best shooting performance of the season Monday night against L.A. and finished with 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting. He also chipped in four boards and four assists.

Augustin has averaged 13.2 points in January, but over his last six contests he’s put up 18 per game. He’s also contributing 6.6 assists per night this month, which leads the team. It is clear that Augustin is giving Chicago a lift on offense and deserves a multitude of credit. His energy offensively and ability to get his teammates involved is something quite refreshing to Bulls fans.

How far can Chicago go under Augustin’s recent success? How long will it last? While we’ll have to wait to find out, one thing is for sure, and that is that these Bulls are becoming quite entertaining to watch and the Eastern Conference better take notice.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior Writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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