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Bet on the NBALast night, Chicago basketball fans were given a treat that they have not experienced since the Michael Jordan era: the Chicago Bulls moved into first place in the NBA Eastern Conference. With their win over the Washington Wizards 89-79, Derrick Rose and the Bulls moved a half a game ahead of the Boston Celtics to take the top of the East.

This was Chicago's 12th consecutive win at the United Center, and their seventh victory in a row altogether. Granted, a win against the Wizards is not much of a victory, as the Washington team is 1-30 on the road. But the Bulls also pulled out a nearly 20-point win without their big men, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. Noah missed the game with the flu, and Boozer has a sprained left ankle.

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With Derrick Rose leading the team, though, the Bulls are impressive no matter who else plays with the deadly point guard. Rose put up 23 points and got 7 assists against the Wizards, and is likely to receive the league MVP award this year. The last time a Chicago Bull won the MVP award was in 1997-1998 when – guess who – Michael Jordan got it.

In town last weekend for the twentieth anniversary celebration of the Bulls' first championship, Jordan predicted NBA Finals success for the current Chicago team. Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Bobcats, may feel a little more conflicted once playoff time rolls around, however, as the Bobcats are seeking the eighth seed in the East, and may end up in a playoff series against the Bulls.

As a side note, it should be kept in mind that the Wizards are a banged-up, injured team this season, and their inability to win games is a reflection of that. The team is operating with nine healthy players right now. Starting center JaVale McGee got a rare triple double in the game against the Bulls with 11 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 blocks.

The Bulls take on the New Jersey Nets on Thursday night.


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