Xmas countdown: Sizing up the schedule

December, 22, 2011
12/22/11
9:21
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
BullsMike DiNovo/US PresswireThe Bulls face a rigorous 66-game schedule these next four months.

The Chicago Bulls will face the same kind of challenges that every other team faces this season when it comes to the schedule. It's brutal. There is a game almost every day and most days off will be spent on airplane going to another city. It is the kind of 66-game sprint that no coach or player wants to deal with. Having said that, the Bulls are confident they can handle the extra pressure; they may very well have the deepest team in the league. With that in mind, let's take a quick look at the Bulls' schedule and try to figure how they will fare during this shortened regular season.

December

25 @ Lakers, Win: Whether Kobe Bryant plays or not, the Lakers still won't have Andrew Bynum, who is suspended. The Bulls simply have more talent right now.

26 @Warriors, Loss: The Bulls always seem to struggle in Oakland. That won't change as they play their first back to back.

29 @Kings, Win: Who is going to stop Derrick Rose in Sacramento? Nobody.

30 @Clippers, Loss: Vinny Del Negro gets some revenge as Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have too much energy for the Bulls.

January



1 Vs. Grizzlies, Win: The Bulls make a few extra plays down the stretch in a very exciting game.

3 Vs. Hawks, Win: That Joe Johnson contract makes the Carlos Boozer deal look great.

4 @ Pistons, Win: Rip Hamilton wins his homecoming game.

6 @ Magic, Loss: Dwight Howard always gives the Bulls problems. He should still be in a Magic uniform for this one.

7 @ Hawks, Win: Noah comes out to make a point against his old college teammate Al Horford.

9 Vs. Pistons, Win: The Pistons are not very good.

10 @ Timberwolves, Win: Carlos Boozer has another big night against an up-and-coming Wolves' team.

11 Vs. Wizards: Win, The Wizards stink.

13 @ Celtics Loss. Scal gets another huge ovation. Bulls take a loss.
14 Vs. Raptors, Win: James Johnson's new hairdo is almost as bad as his new team.

16 @ Grizzlies, Loss: Memphis gets some revenge after an early-season loss.

17 Vs. Suns, Win: Steve Nash will be hoping he gets traded right around this time.

20 @ Cavs, Win: Kyrie Irving is good. Derrick Rose is a lot better.

21 Vs. Bobcats, Win: Michael Jordan wishes he could trade teams.

23 Vs. Nets, Win: Deron Williams loses to Rose again.

25 Vs. Pacers, Win: Bulls win another slugfest against Indiana.

27 Vs. Bucks, Win: Bulls win in last home game before nine-game trip starts.

29 @ Heat, Loss: James and Wade get last laugh in this one.

30 @ Wizards, Win: Flip Saunders stays in misery.

February

1 @ Sixers, Win: Bulls pick up a win in Philly, something they struggled with last year.

2 @ Knicks, Loss: The back-to-backs are starting to catch up to the Bulls.

4 @ Milwaukee, Win: Bulls are halfway through tough stretch.

6 @ Nets, Win: The Bulls' depth wins them another game.

8 @ Hornets, Win: Unless the Bulls are partying on Bourbon Street the night before, they will win.

10 @ Bobcats, Win: The Bulls sleepwalk to a win in this one.

12 @ Celtics, Loss: The end of the trip catches up with Tom Thibodeau's team.

14 Vs. Kings, Win: Bulls struggle to get a win in first game after long trip.

16 Vs. Celtics, Win: Noah gets the best of Kevin Garnett in this one.

18 Vs. Nets, Win: Will Dwight Howard be playing for the Nets at this point?

20 Vs. Hawks, Win: Kirk Hinrich plots his move back to the Bulls from the Hawks' bench.

22 Vs. Bucks, Win: Brandon Jennings is in Rose's shadow ... again.

28 Vs. Bobcats, Win: Bulls pick up first win after the All Star break.

29 @ Spurs, Loss: San Antonio isn't the same team it used to be, but the Spurs are still pretty good.

March



2 @ Cavs, Win: Hamilton has another good shooting night for the Bulls.

4 @ Sixers, Loss: Bulls continue their Philly struggles.

5 Vs. Pacers, Loss: The Bulls can't win them all at home, right?

7 @ Bucks, Win: Rose refuses to allow his team to lose three in a row.

8 Vs. Magic, Win: The odds are slim that Howard will still be playing for the Magic at this point.

10 Vs. Jazz, Win: When all else fails, give the ball to Rose and get out of the way.

12 Vs. Knicks, Win: Bulls win an exciting battle at the United Center.

14 Vs. Heat, Win: The most electric atmosphere of the season to date.

16 Vs. Blazers, Win: The hits just keep on coming at home.

19 @ Magic, Win: Who will the new Magic star be at this point?

21 @ Raptors, Loss: The Bulls are due for a letdown against a bad team. It happens to everybody.

24 Vs. Raptors, Win: Thibodeau gets his team back on track.

26 Vs. Nuggets, Win: Are all the Nuggets back from China yet?

28 Vs. Hawks, Loss: The Hawks play an inspired game against a tired Bulls team.
30 Vs. Pistons, Win: Seriously, the Pistons are bad.

April

1 @ Thunder, Loss: Bulls lose a potential Finals preview.

2 Vs. Rockets, Win: What will the injury situation look like at this point?

5 Vs. Celtics, Win: The Bulls get up for a big one against Boston.

8 @ Knicks, Win: Rose and company take care of business against an improving Knicks team.

10 Vs. Knicks Win: Another win against Carmelo and friends.

12 Vs. Heat, Win: Another Eastern Conference finals preview.

15 @ Pistons, Win: The Bulls take advantage of a few days off before this one.

16 Vs. Wizards, Win: Nick Young wonders what might have been in Chicago.

18 @ Bobcats, Loss: The Bulls can't find the effort on this night.

19 @ Heat, Loss: Dwyane Wade comes through in the clutch in this one.

21 Vs. Mavericks, Win: The Bulls respond with a nice effort against the defending champs.

25 @ Pacers, Loss: The Pacers defeat a Bulls team that has already locked up its postseason seed.

26. Vs. Cavs, Win: Thibodeau's team ends on a regular season high note.

Projected final record: 49-17


Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jimmy Butler
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 3.3 1.5 40.0
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 11.4
AssistsD. Rose 4.9
StealsJ. Butler 1.5
BlocksP. Gasol 2.0