Updated: April 12, 2013, 2:28 AM ET

1. The Bulls Keep Finding Ways To Succeed

By D.J. Foster | ESPN.com/TrueHoop Network

Down 17 points against a New York Knicks team on a 13-game winning streak, against the hottest scorer on the planet, without the services of Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson.

And the Chicago Bulls won in overtime 118-111. Of course they did. You'd expect nothing less from a team that makes absolutely zero sense.

Nate Robinson
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesBulls reserve Nate Robinson seemed to be feeling good about droppin 35 points on his old team.

The illogicalness of the Bulls can be both endearing and frustrating, but it's a trait that has ended up defining a season that was supposed to be doomed from the beginning. No Derrick Rose was supposed to mean no playoffs, and that wasn't even factoring in other injuries to important players.

A tilt against the streaking Knicks was probably supposed to be lost as well. At least it looked that way at the tip. But Jimmy Butler -- a shooting guard -- won that, too, and then he went on to wrestle with Carmelo Anthony for a whopping 50 minutes.

Butler played exactly four minutes in the playoffs last year, but you wouldn't be able to tell from his 22-point, 14-rebound performance. Butler is now good enough to check one of the best scorers in the league, even with Luol Deng in uniform.

It's almost like basketball's version of the movie "Major League" playing out before our eyes. Chicago's management has provided Tom Thibodeau with a hodgepodge of talent, journeymen that other teams really didn't want any part of. Letting productive players leave for greener pastures would be enough to start a mutiny elsewhere, but the Bulls have banded together and made lemonade.

Guys such as Marco Belinelli and Carlos Boozer are pretty awful individual defenders, yet they still manage to comprise a portion of one of the league's best defenses.

Credit can be heaped on Thibodeau, of course, and he's undoubtedly brilliant. But even the Bulls as a team, separate from the organization, have conflicting philosophies on both ends of the floor.

Defensively, the Bulls invite opponents to take midrange jumpers off the dribble. Everything they do defending the pick-and-roll is geared toward forcing that. It's a sound strategy, and it's one that has made Chicago great defensively.

But offensively, the Bulls happily do exactly what they try and force on the other end. The Bulls are third in the league in most attempts from 16 to 23 feet. That's partly a product of personnel, sure, but you would think that Thibodeau would be staunchly against that.

You would also think that the Knicks, missing Tyson Chandler and seemingly every other true big man on their roster, would be better off in a game of small ball than the Bulls. The Knicks are one of the most prolific 3-point-shooting teams in history, championing a spread one-in, four-out offensive style.

As it turns out, there's no one better for small ball than the league's smallest player. Nate Robinson, who has defied logic and avoided every chance to use it throughout his career, discount double (triple, quadruple?) checked his way to an impressive 35 points in the overtime win.

Robinson's scoring was a luxury, one that didn't come without costs. He regularly followed up great plays with terrible ones, but the Bulls' defense held the Knicks to 40 percent shooting and anchored the team during Robinson's highs and lows.

That's the thing about the Bulls. Whether it's Miami on a 27-game win streak or New York on a 13-game win streak, whether it's Nate Robinson's wildness or Derrick Rose's ACL, whether it's management giving nothing to work with or the offense struggling, the defense is always there to hold the Bulls up, and nothing else has to make sense.

D.J. Foster's work appears regularly on ClipperBlog.

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