Ranking the 5 Must-Watch Chicago Bulls Games in January
As a Chicago Bulls fan, what five January games are you looking forward to seeing the most?
During the first month of 2013, Chicago will play a few of the league’s better teams such as the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors. They’ll also face a few not-so-quality teams like the Washington Wizards, Charlotte Bobcats, Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns.
Bulls vs. Knicks, one of the biggest rivalries of the ‘90s, should prove to be an exciting contest. We won’t see Dream Teamers Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing take the floor like back in the day, but fans should get their money’s worth nonetheless.
5. Atlanta Hawks at Chicago Bulls (Jan.14)
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In their last meeting with the Atlanta Hawks, which was a little over a week ago, the Bulls were crushed 92-75 down in the ATL.
The Hawks, who outscored Chicago 36-16 in the second quarter, made Tom Thibodeau’s club look like one of the worst defensive teams in the entire Association.
Now the Bulls will be looking for revenge when Josh Smith, Al Horford and the rest of the gang travel to the Windy City for the first time this season.
Will the Bulls redeem themselves in this one or will they end up getting embarrassed once again?
This contest will feature a matchup between two of the league’s top big men in Horford and Joakim Noah, who won a pair of national championships together at Florida.
Also, sharpshooter Kyle Korver will make his first trip to Chicago since he was traded to Atlanta in the offseason.
4. Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls (Jan. 9)
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The Bulls suffered an extremely miserable loss to the Milwaukee Bucks last month, blowing a whopping 27-point lead.
Milwaukee went on a crazy 31-4 second-half run as its bench basically beat up on the weary Bulls starting five, all of whom logged at least 36 minutes.
This time, the Bulls will be looking for a little payback against their Central Division rival as the two teams square off for the third time this season.
If the Bulls reach a 27-point lead in this game, hopefully they can cruise to an easy victory and avoid an utter collapse like the last time.
And hopefully Tom Thibodeau doesn’t wear out the starters and allows his bench to get into the action.
The Bulls need as many wins as they can get against the Bucks, who they’ll battle, along with the Indiana Pacers, for the division title.
3. Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks (Jan. 11)
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This is a matchup between an outstanding three-point shooting team in the New York Knicks and the exact opposite in the Bulls.
The Knicks have lost to the Bulls twice this season already—once with Carmelo Anthony in the lineup and once without the injured All-Star forward.
In the teams’ last meeting (Dec. 21), New York coach Mike Woodson was ejected along with Anthony and teammate Tyson Chandler. Meanwhile, Joakim Noah was the only member of the Bulls to get tossed.
Woodson and Anthony picked up two technicals apiece, and Chandler and Noah got tangled up in the fourth quarter.
Will the Bulls make it 3-0 against the Knicks and earn a win in their final trip to Madison Square Garden this season?
And will Luol Deng—who scored a season-high 29 points in his last game in New York—light it up once again?
2. Los Angeles Lakers at Chicago Bulls (Jan. 21)
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Kobe Bryant leads his Los Angeles Lakers into the United Center for their lone visit of the season.
The Bulls haven’t faced the purple and gold in over a year (Christmas Day) due to the lockout, but they’ll get to play them twice this season.
Bryant will be accompanied by a cast of big-name players like newcomers Dwight Howard and Steve Nash as well as holdover Pau Gasol. And don’t forget about former Bull Metta World Peace, who of course, went by the name Ron Artest during his tenure in Chicago.
While fans won't witness a Kobe vs. Derrick Rose showdown (Rose is out with a torn ACL), Howard and Joakim Noah should make for a quality big-man duel.
Chicago’s usually strong defense will attempt to shut down Bryant, the league’s leading scorer this year.
1. Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat (Jan. 4)
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A battle with the reigning champion Miami Heat has to be the top “must-watch” game for the Bulls in January.
The Heat are arguably the best team in the league, and it wouldn’t be shocking to witness them capture their second consecutive title this June.
Chicago heads to South Beach to get its first look at MVP LeBron James and his All-Star teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. And the Bulls also get to see Ray Allen sport a Heat uni for the first time.
Perhaps this would be an Eastern Conference finals preview if Derrick Rose was healthy. However, it can still end up being an entertaining ballgame despite the absence of the Bulls’ megastar point guard.
We’ll see if Luol Deng’s lockdown defense can prevent King James from a 30-point night.