Televised on NBA TV, the NBA announced it’s league schedule tonight – much the to rejoice of all those basketball fans battling the (to steal a baseball term) dog days of August with no basketball. Many of the marquee matchups broke on Twitter prior to being announced on TV, but nothing’s official until it’s official, of course. The Chicago Bulls will open their season visiting the New York Knicks on Oct. 29, a juicier matchup than the talent disparity of the two rosters would suggest due to Carmelo Anthony dangling his free agency decision between Chicago and New York this summer and ultimately deciding to sign with New York.
Following taking on the Knicks, the Bulls will play their home-opener against Chicago’s new biggest rival: LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Halloween. A game that’ll be a gigantic attraction and figures to be the in the running for highest TV rating of the year during the NBA regular season. Derrick Rose and LeBron James last squared-off opening night a year ago in Miami, a game on TNT that drew “5.4 million total viewers to become the second highest-rated and most-viewed opening night game in network history,” according to TV by the Numbers.
As for other important Bulls’ dates on the NBA’s calendar – Chicago plays the Los Angeles Lakers at home on Christmas Day in a game featuring the return of former Bull Carlos Boozer and former Laker Pau Gasol playing his old team for the first time. The Lakers figure to be uncompetitive again this season, but if Kobe Bryant is healthy, the weight of his name alone draws viewers on Christmas Day.
On the NBA’s Martin Luther King Day special, four games will be played, but the main event will be a Cleveland-Chicago bout played during the day in Cleveland. The Bulls will be nationally televised 30 (five games on NBA TV) times this season, which isn’t much of a surprise. One low key matchup to make a mental note of catching is Chicago and the Milwaukee Bucks in the United Center on Jan. 10 as hometown kid and Simeon High School product Jabari Parker makes his first visiting appearance in the UC.
Other notable games on the docket: Bulls-Clippers Nov. 17 in LA, Bulls-Heat in Miami on Dec. 14, Carmelo comes to Chicago on Dec 18, Bulls-Spurs in Chicago Jan. 22, Luol Deng returns to Chicago Jan. 25 as a member of the Miami Heat, Bulls-Cavs in Cleveland Feb. 12, Bulls-Thunder March 5 and again on March 15, and one final Bulls-Cavs matchup in Cleveland on April 5.
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