Friday, August 9, 2013

Analyzing the Bulls 2013-14 NBA Schedule (Top 10 games to watch)

That's right, stay down...bitch.'s been a while. is no more so I've migrated back to the old blog for now. Between a Derrick Rose-less season and a larger work load at my job I was unable to muster up enough energy to care about the last 94 games of Bulls basketball. The playoffs were fun but excruciating to watch. Part of me wanted them to miss the playoffs completely, part of me wanted the miracle death march to continue into the Conference Finals. It was very conflicting.

Nonetheless, the Bulls continue forward with a supposedly healthy Derrick Rose (and Joakim Noah). It can be said that a lot is riding on this season in a Central Division that just got a whole lot better. In the past 6 months, the Pacers have somewhat became America's chosen team to dethrone the Miami Heat. Former ESPN NBA analyst, Chris Sheridan went as far as to rank them #2 in his power rankings (NUMBER FREAKING 2!). It seems everyone has forgotten how good the Bulls really are. With the addition of a healthy Derrick Rose, an improved Jimmy Butler along with free agent acquisition Mike Dunleavy Jr. and rookie Tony Snell, the Bulls are immediately better than last season. Not to mention the stunning summer league play of Marquis Teague (OMG he might not be a bust!) and a new pair of plantar fasciitis supporting kicks for Joakim Noah!

With Deng in a contract year, the possible future amnesty of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah proving he can stay healthy for a whole season, I imagine this is likely the last hurrah for this team if they fail to get past the Miami Heat in the playoffs. With that being said I'm looking forward to the Bulls proving doubters wrong and getting back in the saddle to finish what they started 3 years ago.

For once, the Bulls look as if they have a pretty decent schedule this year with about 4 less back to backs as usual and a pretty winnable circus trip in November (I'm guessing they'll win 4 out of 6). Once again, the Bulls are in the spotlight starting on day one with the first game of the NBA season taking place in Miami against the defending champs. They've also been "awarded" another Christmas Day game, this year against the new look Brooklyn Nets. Chicago has a lot of games towards the end of the season however, with the exception of 1 Miami Heat game and a couple against the Pacers, they have a pretty easy last four weeks of the season. The last 8 games in April are particularly winnable.

Chicago has a league tied (with New York) 33 nationally televised games along with 20 additional games (if your cable operator carries WGN America). Give or take a few overlapping WGN/NBA-TV games along with some fan voted Tuesday games, we're likely looking at over 50 broadcasted games, which is awesome (especially if you refuse to pay an outrageous $120.00 for League Pass Broadband).

Chicago Bulls KY's Top 10 Must Watch Nationally Televised Games:

#1. 10/28/13 vs. the Miami Heat (TNT, 8:00 p.m.) - First NBA game of the season! This is also Heat ring night! Boooo...but way back in 2006, the Bulls famously destroyed the Heat by 42 points on ring night. It actually set an NBA record for largest margin of defeat by a title defending team on opening night. Kirk Hinrich had 26 points and the NBA was introduced to Tyrus Thomas who received a nice "welcome to the NBA" broken nose. I hope this game can be as special however, I doubt it.

#2. 11/6/13 vs. the Indiana Pacers (TNT, 7:00 p.m.) - The Pacers made huge strides last season taking the Miami Heat to 7 games even without their aging former star player, Danny Granger. It was a breakout year for Paul George and he's looking to take his team to the next level. With the additions of Luis Scula and a healthy Danny Granger, this team is going to make the Central Division and the Eastern Conference very tough. Not to mention, there's been bad blood with these guys and the Bulls since that infamous 5 game series back in 2011. This will really be a good measuring stick to see if the Bulls still got it.

#3. 11/21/13 vs. the Denver Nuggets (TNT, 10:30 p.m.) - First game of the circus trip! Also, Nate Robinson returns! I'm usually on vacation during this point in November, so these games are extra fun since I can actually afford to stay up late and watch the whole game. Denver had a great run last season. They reminded me a lot of that overachieving 2007 Bulls squad who lost to Detroit in the Eastern Conference Semi Finals. Last season Denver was a fun to watch, young team who were about 2 pieces away from being great. It's crazy to see a guy like George Karl win Coach of the Year and get canned at the end of the season. After winning a franchise best 57 games last season, Denver flamed out in the playoffs due to injuries. With Brian Shaw taking over for George Karl and the loss of Andre Iguodala (who I've always thought was a little overrated), it'll be interesting to see where this team goes.

#4. 12/5/13 vs. the Miami Heat (TNT, 9:30 p.m.) - Miami's first visit to the United Center this season. Don't act like you won't be watching.

#5. 12/18/13 vs. the Houston Rockets (ESPN, 9:30 p.m.) - The Bulls visit the new look Houston Rockets. I'm actually very excited to watch this team play. I hate all of the bullshit Dwight Howard put the fans of Orlando and Los Angeles through over the past 3 seasons but I always thought the Rockets would be a great destination for him to rebuild his career. Loaded with arguably the best shooting guard in the game today, James Harden, a competent point guard, Jeremy Lin and an improved Chandler Parsons, this team reminds me A LOT of the 1994-95 Orlando Magic. It's also nice having Omer Asik as a freakin' back up center. This team could be scary good if they don't goof off.

#6. 12/21/13 vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA-TV, 8:00 p.m.) - Wow, there are a lot of good/tough games the first 2 months of play and the Cavs are definitely on the Bulls radar.  Cleveland was able to land the #1 pick in the 2013 draft and chose forward Anthony Bennett (who?). Along with the uncertain addition of former all-star Andrew Bynum, a returning Anderson Varejao and an improved Dion Waiters this team could be very good. They could also land in the lottery next season, not quite sure yet.

#7. 12/25/13 vs. the Brooklyn Nets (ESPN, 12:00 p.m.) - Christmas games are always fun however, the Bulls have been known to suck during matinee contests. I don't know what it is but they always look tired and uninterested. Regardless, the Brooklyn Nets will be out for blood after the Bulls knocked them out of the playoffs last season. Locked and loaded with a league high $80 million payroll, the Nets are ready to make a title push. Will it work? I doubt it. Garnett, Pierce and J. Johnson will all be injured at some point during the season and will miss several games. Plus, Jason Kidd weaseled his way into a coaching position he had no business taking over. Good thing they have Lawrence Frank backing him up after he gets fired mid-season.

#8. 1/20/14 vs. the L.A. Lakers (TNT, 8:00 p.m.) - Kobe should be back by this time from his gruesome Achilles heel injury last season. The Lakers are such a cluster f*ck right now. I don't know where they go from here. I'm willing to bet that Mike D'antoni will be gone by the time they meet the Bulls the first time this season.

#9. 3/9/14 vs. the Miami Heat (ABC, 1:00 p.m.) - I love Sunday games after football season ends. So much sports talk is dedicated to the NFL during their 7 month season and by this time, the only sport that is on is the NBA. This is the last meeting the Bulls have with Miami until (possibly) the playoffs. It'll be interesting to see who takes this one. Around this time last season, the Bulls beat the Heat and broke a very large win streak....seriously, you would have thought we won a title or something. It was THAT big of a deal.

#10. 3/24/14 vs. the Indiana Pacers (NBA-TV, 8:00 p.m.) - The Bulls and Pacers final meeting of the season. This game will likely have huge playoff seeding implications if things get tight (they will) in the Central Division.