By Doug Halberstadt
After finishing the preseason with a perfect 8-0 record, the Chicago Bulls are back on the court for the start of the 2013-14 regular season. Their home-opener is tomorrow night (Thursday, Oct.31) at the United Center against the New York Knicks. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Tuesday night (Oct. 29), they opened up the season on the road against two-time defending league MVP LeBron James. He and his Miami Heat teammates are also the defending NBA champions. Results of Tuesday night’s game were unavailable at press time.
The Bulls lost to the Heat in the second round of last year’s playoffs without the services of their franchise star, Derrick Rose. He sat out all of last season while recovering from knee surgery. Rose played well in all eight Bulls preseason games, and appears to have no lingering effects from the injury that kept him off the court last year.
Despite the good news about Rose’s condition, Chicago has been playing without All-Star center Joakim Noah and guard Kirk Hinrich. Noah played less than a total of 20 minutes in the eight preseason games because of a strained groin injury. Hinrich has been sidelined with a combination concussion/shoulder injury. Both players are expected to suit up and be ready for the regular-season opener against the Heat.
Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng will anchor the power forward and small forward positions for Chicago. Should Noah or Hinrich not be completely ready for real game action, expect to see 15-year veteran Nazr Mohammed at center and former Marquette Warrior Jimmy Butler filling in for the injured Hinrich.
The Bulls will be looking to improve on last year’s regular-season record of 45-37. They were the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and defeated the fourth seed Brooklyn Nets in the opening round. They were eliminated in round two by the top-seeded Miami Heat, who went on to win the NBA championship.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2013, issue