The Circus Is In Town: How Will The Chicago Bulls Fare On The Road Trip?
Since Michael Jordan announced his second retirement from the Chicago Bulls after the 1997-1998 season, the best record on the so-called "circus trip" was back during the 2005-2006 season, when the Bulls went 3-3.
3-3, a .500 record is the best the Bulls have ever done since Jordan left Chicago. A record that shows how much they have struggled throughout the years to build any type of consistency on the road trip.
This season, the Bulls will face five playoff teams that each won 50+ games, a dangerous Houston Rockets team that was the ninth seed in a very competitive Western Conference, and a Sacramento Kings team that is off to a solid 3-6 start.
The Bulls will start off with a back-to-back against the Rockets tonight, and then face the San Antonio Spurs, who are off to a 8-1 start, on Wednesday night.
Continuing on the Texas route, they will face the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. After getting three days of rest, the Bulls will have another back-to-back, facing off against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday (11/23) , and then heading to Arizona for a match-up with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday (11/24).
Rounding out the trip, the Bulls will face the Denver Nuggets on another Friday night(11/26) tilt, ending with a match-up at Arco Arena against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday(11/27).
The Bulls will have three back-to-backs, which should give the team plenty of time to gel with each other.
"We have a lot of good guys who hang with each other," said Rose at a recent practice. "We're young, and right now we're getting into a little groove. I think that should help us."
The Bulls will need to get into a bit of a groove for sure if they are going to maintain their above .500 record.
Without further ado, here's an idea on how the Bulls will do on their annual "circus trip".
11/16: The Houston Rockets
The Bulls will catch a break with Yao Ming out for Tuesday night's game in Houston.
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With the excitement and energy surrounding the Bulls heading into the road trip, they will end up taking game one of their circus trip.
Yao Ming missing Tuesday night's game only helps the Bulls' cause. However, Luis Scola has been a handful for several teams so far this season, averaging 22.1 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game.
Look for Joakim Noah to feast off Houston's lack of size. Former Bull Brad Miller as the projected starter with Ming out.
The Bulls will take the momentum from their three-game winning streak and take game one of the circus trip, although it won't be easy, because the Rockets have won three out of their last four games after dropping the first five games of the season.
Predicted Result: Bulls win a close one that will go wire-to-wire; Bulls start the road trip 1-0.
11/17: San Antonio Spurs
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With the San Antonio Spurs playing very good overall, Team Basketball—the Bulls—will have their hands full. Being on the tail-end of a back-to-back will hurt them too.
The Spurs have been low-key thus far this season, with most of the hype going to teams like the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and L.A. Lakers. However, they do sport an 8-1 record.
It would be very hard for the Bulls to win at Houston and San Antonio back-to-back nights, however, the Bulls will play with a lot of effort, so expect a close game Wednesday night.
Look for the Bulls to come out sluggish, but by the second half they should get their game together and make it a contest.
Predicted Result: San Antonio handle a late Bulls rally; Bulls fall to 1-1 on the circus trip.
11/19: Dallas Mavericks
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Beating the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas will be quite tough, especially considering how well the Mavs are playing, defeating the then-undefeated New Orleans Hornets on Monday night.
The Bulls battled the Mavs tough last season, losing 122-116 at home and 113-106 in Dallas. Dirk Nowitzki has always given the Bulls troubles, averaging 23 points and eight rebounds per game against the Bulls in his career.
Expect the Bulls to battle tough, but playing the Mavs in Dallas will be a tough task.
Predicted Result: Mavericks win; Bulls move to 1-2 on the road trip.
11/23: Los Angeles Lakers
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Quite frankly, the chances that the Bulls can go into Staples Center and beat the team that won the NBA title the past two seasons is quite slim.
However, the Bulls have played the Lakers tough the past few seasons, but still don't have much to show for it, as they haven't beaten the Lakers since the 2006-2007 season, when they beat the Lakers 94-89 at the United Center on December 19th, 2006.
The Lakers are the clear-cut favorite to repeat as champions this season, so expecting the Bulls to beat them at Staples Center is an endeavor not many will take.
Predicted Result: Lakers send the Bulls to their third straight loss; Bulls fall to 1-3 on the road trip.
11/24: Phoenix Suns
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Every time the Phoenix Suns come up on the Bulls schedule, this play always comes to mind.
After losing three straight on the road, the Bulls will snap out of their skid and take one in Phoenix, something they did last season, too.
The Bulls have always played Phoenix well the past couple seasons, especially in Phoenix.
Being the back-end of a back-to-back might hurt the Bulls early, but they should be able to handle a Suns team that lost Amar'e Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa during the off-season.
Predicted Result: Bulls continue their success in Phoenix; move to 2-3 on the road trip.
11/26: Denver Nuggets
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After taking one game against the Denver Nuggets, the Bulls will look to sweep the season series.
However, it definitely won't be easy, as the Nuggets play together as a team at home, and recently took care of the Lakers on their home court.
Earlier this month, the Bulls beat the Nuggets 94-92 at the United Center, led by Joakim Noah's 13 points, 19 rebounds, and four blocks.
Rose struggled to get his shot going for most of the game. However, he still ended up with 18 points and six assists, hitting key shots at the end, and a memorable pass to Ronnie Brewer late in the forth quarter.
It's going to be awfully tough for the Bulls to take one in Denver, but it will be a good game. Denver at home is really tough, and it's hard to see the Bulls sweeping the season series from the Nuggets.
Predicted Result: Nuggets win a close one; Bulls fall to 2-4 on the road trip.
11/27: Sacramento Kings
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The final match-up of the road trip is undoubtedly the easiest the Bulls will face—however, the Sacramento Kings have played with a purpose this season, currently holding a 3-6 record.
The Kings have a solid group, but the Bulls have the talent advantage, and hopefully off-season acquisition Carlos Boozer can be healthy around this time.
The match-up of two Memphis alumni (Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans) will be very fun to see. Bulls fans will also get their first look at Demarcus Cousins.
The road trip will be tough, and if there's a game they should win, this is it. Look for a Bulls win, and a solid way to round out the circus trip.
Predicted Result: Bulls win; end the seven-game road trip with a 3-4 record.
Predicted Result On The Circus Trip
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Going 3-4 on the seven-game road trip would be a gift, considering how much they have struggled during the past decade since Michael Jordan left.
It will also be interesting to see if Carlos Boozer has a speedy recovery and laces up the shoes at some point during the road trip.
Circus Trip Prediction: Bulls go 3-4.
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