Gibson: Nobody's on our bandwagon right now
There is no telling what could happen when the Bulls head west for the annual ice show road trip, which begins Wednesday in San Antonio.
The thought of playing six consecutive road games against Western Conference opponents seems daunting, since the Bulls are 4-10 against the West this season and overall, the West has posted a dominant 158-81 record through Monday in nonconference competition.
But remember in 2010, with Vinny Del Negro coaching, the Bulls became the first team in NBA history to win five straight road games against opponents with winning records.
"Anything can happen" may not be as catchy as the Tom Thibodeau favorite, "We have more than enough to win with" -- but it certainly applies.
"It's going to be a good test for us," Taj Gibson said following Monday's home loss to Minnesota. "We're going on the road, all we have is us. Nobody's on our bandwagon right now. All year, we've been hearing the negatives, but we're just pushing through. I'm looking forward to the adversity we're going to push through."
Granted, this trip is not as daunting as it could be. The Bulls will face just one team (San Antonio) that currently sits in the West's top five. The other opponents are, in order, New Orleans, Sacramento, Phoenix, Golden State and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Last year, the Bulls went out West in March and lost to the lowly Kings by 42 points, then turned around and beat Golden State, which made the second round of the playoffs, by 18 points two days later.
"It's a big (trip)," Jimmy Butler said. "On the road, Western Conference. I guess all the odds are stacked against us, but that's the way we like to play. We're Chicago and everybody counts us out, so we've got a lot to prove."
It would help if the Bulls could field a complete lineup. Joakim Noah missed the Minnesota game with an illness, while Kirk Hinrich has missed four games with a right hamstring strain. The Bulls are hoping Noah will be better for the Spurs, while it's unlikely Hinrich will play.
After playing the Spurs, the Bulls will have two days off before playing New Orleans on Saturday, which means they might even conduct a practice session.
Thibodeau canceled practice again Tuesday. He counts shootarounds as practices, and there have been plenty of those, but the Bulls haven't held a regular off-day practice since Jan. 9.
The Bulls will get to see an old friend Wednesday, Spurs guard Marco Belinelli. He figures to play a major role for San Antonio since Kawhi Leonard is out with a broken hand.
Last year, with the Bulls, Belinelli was a pleasant surprise, averaging 9.6 points. He's at 10.9 points for the Spurs and is shooting better than he ever has in the NBA -- 51 percent overall and 48.3 percent from 3-point range.
"Marco's a heck of a player," Butler said. "I take it personal when I have to guard him. I feel like I'll be guarding him a little bit. I'll give him all I have on both ends of the floor."
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