CHICAGO - In the past, chemistry has been an issue in the Bulls locker room.
But this year, the mixture of proven veterans and hungry youngsters has produced a recipe for success both on and off the court.
"You would think we live in a dorm together," noted Bulls All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler. "We all leave the building at the same time. We're all going to eat somewhere. We're all at somebody else's house. You would think - I don't know if it's a good or bad thing - that we are a college team. We're always talking to each other in a group chat or competing in a video game. Something about this group of guys. We just always want to be around each other."
Their most recent retreat put their newfound cohesiveness to the test as they were forced to find a way out of the Denver Escape Room using only team building skills.
As you can see, they got out.
Even though that camaraderie didn't translate to a win over the Nuggets, similar outings have helped the team rise through the standings to the three spot in the Eastern Conference.
"Off the court really helps a lot with that trust on the basketball floor. That's the hardest thing, too. When you bring a new team together is to defensively trust each other and offensively, too," remarked new Bulls guard Dwyane Wade. "It starts off the court - building that trust, getting to know each other. We've done it. We've done a good job of that. We have a great locker room. We have to continue that all year. When we won three and when we lost three early in the season, the locker room was the same. That's key."
The Bulls next test will be keeping the bonds they built on the road going strong here at home, where they play seven of their next ten games.