The Circus Trip of Horror begins…

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Here’s a mind scrambler for you. According to the Chicago Tribune: “The Bulls at 5-4 are actually off to their best start since the 1997-98 season (also 5-4). And, they have done it against the second-toughest schedule in the league to-date. The Bulls have played teams with a .595 winning percentage; only the Wizards have played a tougher schedule (.625).”

So despite an offense that has been something of a phantom menace, the Bulls have actually done reasonably well against a pretty tough schedule. Who knew? I mean, besides the Chicago Tribune.

Things won’t get any easier as the Bulls begin their annual circus road trip: five of the six opponents are above .500, and their combined record is 36-21. The fun starts tonight against the surprising Sacramento Kings (5-4), who have won five of six overall and four straight without their best player (Kevin Martin). Then it’s off to face the Lakers (7-3 , 5-2 at home), Nuggets (7-3, 3-0 at home), Trail Blazers (8-4, 3-2 at home), Jazz (4-6, 2-2 at home) and Bucks (5-3, 4-1 at home). It will take a minor miracle for the Bulls to return to Chicago above .500.

The circus trip has been an annual horror show for the Bulls this decade. From 1999-00 through 2008-09, the Bulls are 9-56 on this trip, including a five-year stretch (1999-09 through 2003-04) in which they went 0-32. Ouch. In the last five seasons, the Bulls have “improved” to 9-24.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Sacramento’s recent hot streak hasn’t exactly come against the league’s top teams. The Lakers have had some injury problems, including Kobe Bryant (groin strain). The Bulls played the Nuggets tough in Chicago and held Carmelo Anthony to a season-low 20 points. The Jazz are struggling and Deron Williams is hurt. And Milwaukee is kind of overachieving right now. The Blazers…well…I’ve got nothing there.

Maybe, just maybe, the Bulls could walk away from this trip with a 3-3 record. I think that’s probably the best case scenario.

Here we “Jo” again:
Joakim Noah, currently the league’s leading rebounder by the way (12.2 RPG), until recently had no idea what the circus trip was all about. Said Noah: “Why do they always call it the circus trip? What’s so circus about it anyway?”

That’s okay, Jo. You just keep concentrating on crashing the boards.

(In case you’re like Noah, the circus trip is so-named because — as Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald pointed out — the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus moves into the United Center for two weeks every year, forcing the Bulls and the Blackhawks to hit the road.

3 Responses to The Circus Trip of Horror begins…

    Vic De Zen November 17, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    Wow. 9-56. I knew it was bad, but I had no idea it was THAT bad. Good luck to you, Chicago.

    Noah November 18, 2009 at 5:18 am #

    Bulls defense SHOULD undoubtedly help them on the road trip where shooting slumps are likely. take at look at the past 2 years opponent’s production by position

    this year

    last year

    Across the board, opponents are producing much less. Note how opposing SGs are at 12.6, salmons may not be so great on offense, but that can be fixed. His defensive effort is markedly better than whoever was playing defense in 08-09. DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS!


  1. The circus trip comes to a merciful end tonight in Milwaukee… » By The Horns - November 30, 2009

    […] end. After their 1-4 start to this edition of their annual trek through hell, the Bulls are 10-60 this decade when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus comes to Chicago. Human words cannot […]

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