After weeks of waiting and wondering, the NBA finally released the schedule for the 2016-17 season. Even though the NBA season doesn’t officially tip-off until October 25th, the Cavaliers herculean comeback down 3 games to 1 in the NBA Finals to defeat the Golden State Warriors has Cleveland fans sitting pretty with thoughts of repeating.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Golden State Warriors have gotten the title of “villains” since acquiring Kevin Durant in a wallet busting and boldly overzealous free agency. With that, many “experts” and fans alike have the Warriors and Cavs on a collision course for the NBA Finals for the third year in a row.
While LeBron James led teams have competed in the last 6 NBA Finals, the games still have to be played. The one team that has been said time and time again to be the biggest competition to them is the Chicago Bulls.
After failing to reach the playoffs due to an up and down season- that some would venture to label lack luster and uninspired- the Bulls traded their hometown kid Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks and allowed Joakim Noah leave in free agency to those same Knicks. Those moves had most thinking that the Bulls were on course for a complete rebuild. Instead, they kept Jimmy Butler at the helm and added NBA champions Rajon Rondo and supposed “Heat Lifer” Dwayne Wade in shocking free agency moves.
With that, the Bulls seemed primed and ready to make a difference in the way things have been shaking out over the last few years in the East. Here’s a look at the most intriguing games for the Bulls as they look to get back to their winning ways:
1. November 4th v.s. New York Knicks
This game is intriguing for a few reasons, but let’s stick to the main one. This will be Derrick Rose’s first game back home in Chicago since being traded to the Knicks. The consensus around Chicago seemed to be that the team should have cut ties with Rose due to him being injury prone. So it remains to be seen if he shows flashes of his glory days to show up his old team and organization or if the magnitude of the game will get the best of him. Fans of the Knicks and Bulls will have their eyes glued to this one for sure.
2. February 8th @ Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors have made back to back trips to the NBA Finals and have come away with one championship. With the addition of Kevin Durant, most people are calling them unstoppable. After blowing a 3-1 Finals lead to the Cavaliers and being labeled as “villains” because of the Durant deal, expect them to come out on fire next season. This game will be interesting because the Warriors are the favorites to win it all. What better way for the Bulls to see if they measure up than by going head-to-head with the best the league has to offer.
3. December 2nd v.s. Cleveland Cavaliers
Year after year the East is handed to the Cavs on a silver platter. LeBron has a tendency of dominating the Bulls. This game should be circled on NBA fans’ calendars for many reasons. It’ll be the first matchup of the season for the two. With so many expectations for the Bulls this will be a huge test. This game sets the tone for the season as a whole. If they can assert their dominance over a team that stands in their way every year, it should put their confidence over the top going forward.
See the entire Bulls schedule here.