Since the Circus Road Trip, the Chicago Bulls have enjoyed a relatively easy stretch on their schedule. A healthy amount of home games parlayed with a whole slew of teams with -.500 records has seen the Bulls cruise to to a half game behind the Miami Heat, for 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, that smooth riding time of milkshakes and sliders has come to an end, as the Bulls must now endure the nine
circles games of Hell.
The first two games of Hell take place at their home. This first segment has the Bulls hosting a back-to-back against the Orlando Magic and the Indiana Pacers. The last time the Magic came to town it was Boozer’s first game in a Bulls uniform, and boy was it quite the unwelcoming. The Bulls got smacked right out of the building falling to the Magic by 29 points (and it was not even that close). Following this Friday’s contest, the Bulls host the Pacers. While the Pacers have some problems and have a sub .500 record, it will be the second half of a back-to-back and the Bulls have certainly shown their ability to under-perform in these types of situations.
After these games the Bulls get a rest and then head west, to begin a five games of Hell Western Conference road trip. This trip is not as difficult as the Circus Road Trip, but the Bulls will face five quality teams in the Clippers, the Golden State Warriors, the Trail Blazers, the Jazz, and the Hornets. Luckily, they avoid the elite teams in the West and do not have to endure a single back-to-back situation. However, none of these teams are push-overs, and, if the Hornets keep up their current run, the Bulls could be facing one of the NBA’s hottest teams to wrap up the trip.
The Bulls finish off their nine games ‘o Hell by hosting the Charlotte Bobcats and the San Antonio Spurs. “Charlotte Bobcats in the nine games of Hell?!” I hear you question. Yes, when a team has beaten you the last two meetings (both taking place within a week of each other), they have earned the right. Then the whole journey ends with the Bulls playing the team that currently lays claim to the best record in basketball, the San Monotone Spurs. Even without Noah, this last match-up should be an interesting test for the Bulls. It will be fun to see how the Bulls are able to come off a tough run of games and face the best basketball has to offer.
The Bulls have had a great start to the season, 31-14 and a 13 game lead in the Central Division. To boot, they have done all of this with Boozer and Noah (who had his pin removed Tuesday) taking turns sitting on the bench in street clothes. If they are now able to stay above .500 during the nine games of Hell, things will be looking up: they will be done traveling west, they will hold a solid record, and Joakim Noah will edging closer to a return.