The Chicago Bulls will tip off the 2012-13 season at the United Center on Oct. 31 versus the Sacramento Kings. Tip-off time for the season opener is 7:00 p.m. (CT).
Chicago’s home schedule is also highlighted by visits from the Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 8, and the NBA Champion Miami Heat on Feb. 21 and March 27. The Boston Celtics will come to town on Nov. 12 and Dec. 18, while the Los Angeles Lakers will make their lone United Center appearance of the season on Jan. 21. The Bulls will also host the New York Knicks on Dec. 8 and April 11.
For the first time since the 1997-98 campaign, Chicago will play at home on Christmas Day. This year, the Bulls will host the Houston Rockets in one of five Christmas Day games in the NBA. The Bulls and Rockets will tip off from the United Center at 7:00 p.m. (CT) and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.
Those are the highlights. And you can go here for a printable schedule.
Now here’s my annual month-by-month breakdown of the team’s schedule:
November (plus one October game):
The Bulls play 14 games — eight at home and six on the road — with two sets of back-to-back games. They face five playoff teams (Magic, Thunder, Celtics, at L.A. Clippers, Mavericks) plus two games against a division rival (the Milwaukee Bucks). Of course, it’s hard telling whether Dwight Howard will still be playing for Orlando, so who knows what that games going to be like.
The Bulls play six of their first seven games in the United Center, and they have both a five-game home stand (Hornets, Magic, Thunder, Timberwolves, Celtics) and a five-game road trip (Phoenix, L.A. Clippers, Portland, Houston, Milwaukee). Speaking of which, they’ll get their first up close look at Omer Asik in Rockets uniform on November 21.
The Bulls play nine of 16 games at home with but have five sets of back-to-back games. As if all those back-to-backs weren’t enough, the Bulls have 10 games against playoff teams (Philadelphia twice, Indiana twice, New York twice, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Boston, Atlanta), although the Hawks have been somewhat dismantled (even if they did add former Bull Kyle Korver). They’ll also face the much-improved Nets on December 15.
And, of course, there’s that Christmas Day game at home against the Rockets.
This busy months — 16 games (nine at home and seven roadies) — is highlighted by Chicago’s first game against the Heat (January 4) and three sets of back-to-back games (Knicks/Suns, Celtics/Grizzlies, Warriors/Wizards).
There are seven games against playoff teams: at Orlando, at Miami, at New York, versus the Hawks, at Boston, versus the Grizzlies, and versus the Lakers. There are also four games against division rivals (Bucks twice, Pistons, and Cleveland).
The challenge: 12 games, eight on the road, only four at home. And three of the four home games are against the Spurs, Heat, and 76ers (the fourth is against the Cavaliers).
Chicago’s second game against the Heat is on February 21 with two more to follow in the next two months. Maybe the league office was hoping Derrick Rose in time for the final three games against the champs.
Anyway, the road games are at Brooklyn, Atlanta, Denver, Utah, Boston, New Orleans, Charlotte, Oklahoma City. Oh, and there are three sets of back-to-back games: News/Hawks (both road games), Nuggets/Jazz (both road games), and Heat/Bobcats (home and away).
The Bulls play 14 games this month — seven each on the road and at home — with seven games against playoff teams (Pacers twice, Spurs, Lakers, Nuggets, Heat, Mavericks) and a game against the Nets (who should end up being a playoff team).
There are three sets of back-to-back games — Nets/Pacers, Pacers/Timberwolves, Mavs/Pistons.
The final stretch leading to (one hopes) the playoffs: 10 games, four at home (Magic, Raptors, Knicks, Wizards) and six on the road (Washington, Brooklyn, Detroit, Toronto, Miami, Orlando), with three sets of back-to-back games (Nets/Magic, Knicks/Raptors, Heat/Magic).
Four playoff teams (Magic twice, Heat, Knicks) and the Nets of course.