Following the Grizzlies blowout, how will the Bulls do the rest of the month?
The Atlanta Hawks come to town with a hot hand and revenge on their minds for the Eastern Conference semifinals beating the Chicago Bulls gave them.
The Hawks did lose shooting guard Jamal Crawford to the Portland Trail Blazers in free agency, but they promptly inked up Tracy McGrady, who has over 10 points per game off the bench.
Hawks point guard Jeff Teague is showing that last playoffs wasn't a fluke as the is collecting 13 points and 4.8 assists a night.
Power forward Josh Smith has been struggling early, scoring just 10.3 points per game while shooting 37.5 percent from the field.
The Hawks like setting up many screens to produce isolation plays for Joe Johnson and Smith.
The Bulls need to counter by playing a strong man-on-man defense to win.
Derrick Rose has experience to take advantage of Teague while an underperforming Smith is someone Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer can exploit to gain additional confidence this young season.
Prediction: Bulls 92, Hawks 85
The Detroit Pistons haven't been good a few years now, and this NBA season will be no different.
While the Pistons re-signed Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey, Detroit really did nothing to strengthen its squad.
The Pistons aren't scoring as the team is averaging 87.3 points a night on a poor 42.9 percent from the field.
Ben Gordon is the Pistons' leading scoring with 16 points a game, but the former Bull is a streaky shooter who will be contained by either Ronnie Brewer or Richard Hamilton.
Prince is only scoring 9.5 points a game to open the season, and he draws the tough matchup in Luol Deng. Deng has been playing on a different level on both ends of the court and will blow Prince away.
Expect an easy win.
Prediction: Bulls 100, Pistons 87
The Chicago Bulls then travel to face a dysfunctional Orlando Magic squad.
Dwight Howard wants out of the organization as the Magic haven't given him the pieces to be successful. Re-signing shooting guard Jason Richardson and bringing in former Boston Celtic Glen Davis is certainly not enough to make Howard want to re-sign.
Howard will be against the Bulls Joakim Noah, but all Noah has to do is contain Howard so the superstar doesn't explode for a huge night.
With Noah's stifling defense, the odds are favorable for that happening.
An interesting matchup to watch is the Magic's Ryan Anderson against the Bulls' Carlos Boozer. Anderson has come out of nowhere by pouring in over 20 points a night.
Lastly, Jameer Nelson is no match for Derrick Rose. Rose has shown threw the last few games an improved offensive fluidity on the floor.
Prediction: Bulls 105, Magic 101
There are three reasons why the Chicago Bulls could lose this road rematch with the Atlanta Hawks.
First, the Bulls will be playing their fifth game of the week and could be facing fatigue after beating playoff caliber ball clubs like the Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies and Orlando Magic.
Second, Atlanta will be at home and hungry for revenge after dropping a game to Chicago earlier in the week.
And third, the Carlos Boozer could be exhausted and not perform with enough energy after defending some tough power forwards this week. Boozer had to slow down Josh Smith, Zach Randolph and a hot Ryan Anderson this week.
Could Boozer contain Smith a second time in one week? It's extremely doubtful.
Prediction: Hawks 93, Bulls 88
The Chicago Bulls return to the United Center following a difficult loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau will be ticked off and make sure Chicago focuses for the kill against the Detroit Pistons.
A key matchup to watch for will be Bulls center Joakim Noah against Pistons forward/center Greg Monroe. Both players have similar rebounding and scoring abilities, but Monroe is a natural power forward.
Noah will feed off the Bulls fans' energy and force Monroe into a poor night.
Prediction: Bulls 105, Pistons 92
One of the better matchups early this season has the Chicago Bulls traveling to face the Minnesota Timberwolves.
T'Wolves power forward Kevin Love and Bulls point guard Derrick Rose were top draft picks in 2008 and both have achieved superstar status.
Minnesota also got a shot in the arm in Spanish point guard Rick Rubio. The rookie will be an important building block for the Timberwolves' future success and could eventually become a rival to Rose for best NBA point guard.
For now, the Timberwolves don't have the firepower to bring the Bulls down.
Prediction: Bulls 98, Timberwolves 88
Another fun matchup is the Chicago Bulls traveling to DC to challenge the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards have one of the NBA's most promising players in point guard John Wall, who is trying to lead his Wizards back to respectability.
Wall is accompanied by a dynamic shooting guard Nick Young who the Wizards wisely re-signed. Young was a restricted free agent the Bulls were interested in before snagging Richard Hamilton.
The Wiz Kids are an up-and-coming team, but they do not have the required firepower and bench depth to bring the Bulls down.
Prediction: Bulls 94, Wizards 90
The Chicago Bulls might get snapped back to reality when they face the Boston Celtics on the road.
While Paul Pierce has been slowed down with a foot injury, Boston has won both games with him back in action.
Point guard Rajon Rondo demonstrated offensive firepower in the season's initial two games and has averaged 18.6 points and 10 assists a night. Rondo is trying to become an elite player, and he could prove that with a good night against Derrick Rose.
Ray Allen is always a tough defensive assignment and Kevin Garnett will frustrate Carlos Boozer all night.
Prediction: Celtics 92, Bulls 89
The Toronto Raptors have perhaps the thinnest roster in the NBA, but they are not without a pair of stars.
The Raptors have potent scores in center Andrea Bargnani and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who both emerged with strong 2010-11 campaigns.
Joakim Noah and Richard Hamilton need to contain Bargnani and DeRozan. If they do, the Raptors will be easy pickings.
Prediction: Bulls 110, Raptors 93
A rematch against the Memphis Grizzlies will not change much for the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls clearly showed they are the better team than the Grizzlies, even without starting shooting guard Richard Hamilton.
Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph suffered a knee contusion in Jan. 1 104-64 loss to the Bulls, and is listed day-to-day. If Memphis is without Randolph, the Bulls will have another blowout on their hands.
Look for Derrick Rose to have a better game, as he was held to 16 points in the first meeting between the two teams this season.
Prediction: Bulls 94, Grizzlies 81
The Phoenix Suns will not pose any threats to this Chicago Bulls team.
Phoenix has missed its championship window when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference Finals in six games and couldn't re-sign star Amar'e Stoudemire as the power forward inked a $100 million deal with the New York Knicks.
Right now, point guard Steve Nash and center Marcin Gortat are the Suns best players. Grant Hill was re-signed, but he is showing signs of his 39-year-old body wearing down.
The interesting matchup is Nash versus Rose. Nash is the savvy veteran whose amazing career is winding down while D-Rose's is just blossoming.
The Bulls will roll in this one.
Prediction: Bulls 111, Suns 100
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a new-look squad, but the Chicago Bulls should defeat them.
Coming off a 19-63 campaign, the Cavaliers got Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and Texas forward Tristan Thompson with the No. 1 and 4 picks in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Irving has shown flashes of brilliance and is averaging 13.3 points and 5.5 assists a night. Thompson is doing a nice job off the bench with 8.3 points and 1.75 blocks.
Both Irving and Thompson, however, are really raw and will make their mistakes.
When Antawn Jamison is leading the Cavaliers in scoring, that points to Cleveland's lack of depth.
Prediction: Bulls 98, Cavaliers 85
The Charlotte Bobcats have a bright future with point guard Kemba Walker, but the team still lacks serious depth.
Walker has performed well and will eventually overtake D.J. Augustine for the starting 1-guard spot.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats don't really have anything else. They traded their best players Gerald Wallace for and Stephen Jackson for not that much immediate help, but they did land Bismack Biyombo with the No. 7 pick.
Corey Maggette is over the hill and will not keep up with the Chicago Bulls Luol Deng.
Charlotte won't steal a win in Chicago this time around.
Prediction: Bulls 89, Bobcats 82
The New Jersey Nets are a more formidable opponent with center Brook Lopez in the lineup. Without him, the Nets can't beat anyone.
Center Johan Petro is scoring under five points a game, a stark drop off from Lopez's 20-plus a night. Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah will probably dominate Petro.
Nets point guard Deron Williams is the team's lone bright spot, but Williams will probably not want to re-sign with New Jersey after the season is done.
The Bulls notch another victory.
Prediction: Bulls 99, Nets 95
The Indiana Pacers faced the Chicago Bulls twice this preseason, and will have an advantage when they face them at the United Center.
Indiana is one of the better up-and-coming teams in the NBA and always plays Chicago tough.
Newly-acquired forward David West and point guard George Hill strengthen the Pacers, and Tyler Hansbrough clearly has shown he belongs in the NBA.
The Bulls will be riding a six-game winning streak into this matchup, and might lose focus.
Prediction: Pacers 97, Bulls 90
The Chicago Bulls will be miffed for dropping a game to the Indiana Pacers, so the Milwaukee Bucks better watch out.
Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings has stepped up his game to the next level by pouring over 20 points a game. Center Andrew Bogut is healthy again and is playing well.
Bucks shooting guard Stephen Jackson is a nice addition, but Milwaukee lacks the bench depth the Bulls have.
Derrick Rose will take Jennings to school and Carlos Boozer should own Bucks power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
Prediction: Bulls 90, Bucks 87
The Chicago Bulls are a great team, but the Miami Heat are better.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are the NBA's top players and have proven that they could slow down Derrick Rose.
The Heat are also playing very hard and hungry, winning their first five games and destroying the Dallas Mavericks.
Miami's Chris Bosh is playing hard in the paint and should overpower Carlos Boozer.
The Heat win this one--but it will be close.
Prediction: Heat 97, Bulls 93
The Chicago Bulls beat the Washington Wizards once this month, and the Bulls will do it again.
Washington has a good offensive team, but their defense is something to be desired.
Meanwhile, Chicago is strong both offensively and defensively.
The Bulls will finish January with a win and end the month with an 18-5 record.
Prediction: Bulls 108, Wizards 102