Monday, March 28, 2011
Ronnie Brewer: Bulls chasing Spurs
By Nick Friedell
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The Chicago Bulls came into Monday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers with a two game lead over the Boston Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. That's not the only spot they have their eyes on, though.
Bulls guard Ronnie Brewer has his sights set on something bigger. He believes that his team can track down the San Antonio Spurs for the best overall record in the NBA before the regular season ends. The Bulls trail the Spurs by four games after losing to the Sixers 97-85 on Monday, but they still maintain a two-game lead over Boston as the Celtics fell at Indiana.
"We're trying to win as many games as we possibly can because we know it's a tough race in the East," Brewer said after Monday morning's shootaround. "We're not just striving to be the first in our conference. We're trying to go out there and get the Spurs and have the best overall record in the league."
The Bulls have a 32-5 record at home, second only to the Spurs' 33-3 home mark. The two teams split their season series with each winning at home.
While Brewer says the players don't talk about the specific record they have at the United Center, he does acknowledge that the team has a certain mindset when they take the floor.
"We basically talk about protecting home court," Brewer said. "We don't want anybody to come in and beat us at home. We've had some mess-ups, you can call it that. We've let some close games slip through our hands, but for the most part, you don't want any team coming in there and beating you on your home court. You tend to not play as well on the road, but you're not supposed to lose at home and that's the pride that we take game in and game out."
One of the reasons Brewer seems so confident that his team can knock off the Spurs is due to the fact that Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has been playing at such a high level this season.
"He's been playing phenomenal," Brewer said. "He's carried us when we have guys injured. Nobody would have thought [with] [Carlos Boozer] and Joakim [Noah] sitting out so many games, that we'd still win the games and be where we are right now, so it's a true testament to how far he's came in his career. He's only improving; he's a young guy, he's very humble and he's willing to work hard every day. And I think guys feed off of that and just try to match his intensity and try to match his work ethic."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com.