An extract on #bbgfitfam
The second return of Derrick Rose gave the Bulls and their fans optimism for the 201415 season. With 2-time NBA Champion Pau Gasol and a deep bench consisting of Taj Gibson, Nikola Miroti, Tony Snell, Aaron Brooks, Doug McDermott, Kirk Hinrich, among others, the Bulls were one of the two favorite teams to come out of the Eastern Conference along with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls started off the season in style with a blowout win of the New York Knicks, and then winning 7 of their first 9 games (losses coming to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics). The emergence of Jimmy Butler as a primary scorer for the Bulls was a major surprise and he surged into the forefront of the "Most Improved Player of the Year" award race. Butler's statistical jump was noted by many as one of the greatest in NBA History, going from scoring just 13 points per game in 201314 to scoring 20 points per game in 201415. Pau Gasol was considered a huge asset for the Bulls and averaged a double-double throughout the season. Both Butler and Gasol ended up making the Eastern Conference All-Star team. The Bulls' second half of the season was marred by inconsistency and frustration set in with Derrick Rose blasting the team for not being on the same page. Tension between management and Tom Thibodeau continued to be a dark cloud hanging over the organization. The Bulls finished with a 5032 record and the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference. They faced the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, and took advantage of the young and inexperienced Bucks by going up a quick 30 in the series. However, inconsistency and not being on the same page yet again plagued the Bulls as the Bucks won the next two games, sending a scare to Chicago. The Bulls bounced back with fury in Game 6 however, beating the Bucks by a playoff record 54 points winning the series 42. The next round saw the Bulls facing their arch-rival Cleveland Cavaliers, and their biggest nemesis, LeBron James, who had beaten the Bulls in all three of their previous playoff meetings. The Bulls shocked the Cavs in Game 1 dominating them and never trailing. The Cavs answered back in Game 2 in the same fashion, never trailing the entire game. In a pivotal Game 3 in Chicago, the Bulls and Cavs battled closely all the way through, but the Bulls prevailed on a last-second buzzer beating 3-pointer by Derrick Rose. In Game 4, the Cavs would answer once again, with LeBron James hitting the buzzer-beating shot to win the game. The Bulls lack of consistency and poor offensive showing doomed them once again as the Cavs won the next 2 games handily and closed out the series 42. After the series, speculation erupted about Tom Thibodeau's job security due to escalating feud between Thibodeau and Bulls front office managers Gar Forman and John Paxson.