(CBS) The NBA schedule was released Wednesday night, and while Bulls star Derrick Rose had no idea it happened – “Wow,” Rose told reporters Thursday afternoon when informed Chicago would host Cleveland in its second game – many fans had a keen eye on when the big games were.
On that note, here are five Bulls games that are must-see TV.
Oct. 31: Cavaliers at Bulls
We won’t have to wait long to see what’s sure to be one of the league’s budding rivalries, as LeBron James and Cleveland visit Chicago on Halloween in each team’s second game of the season. Most league observers agree the Bulls and Cavs will finish one-two in the East in some order. Consider this the first chapter to what should be a long novel.
Nov. 17: Bulls at Clippers
How good is Chicago? Games like this will tell us. The Bulls head West for their early season rodeo road trip, where a talented and rejuvenated Clippers team will await under the new ownership of Steve Ballmer. And of course, the Derrick Rose-Chris Paul point guard matchup should be a gem.
Dec. 6: Warriors at Bulls
This matchup resides on the list for pure entertainment value – if you can’t find joy in watching Steph Curry and Klay Thompson fire from deep, you’re not a true basketball fan – and because of a few connections. First-year Warriors coach and former Bulls player Steve Kerr will be making his return to the United Center. On lower-profile note, Warriors forward Harrison Barnes and Bulls wing Doug McDermott were high school teammates and will go head to head for the first time in the NBA.
Jan. 22: Spurs at Bulls
Some would argue this could be a preview of the NBA Finals. And for the Bulls and coach Tom Thibodeau, the Spurs and coach Gregg Popovich have always been a gold standard of sorts. Chicago aspires to build an organization as stable as San Antonio’s.
Jan. 25: Heat at Bulls
LeBron or no LeBron, the Heat and Bulls still don’t like each other. And this contest will bring with it an emotional element as well. New Heat forward Luol Deng will make his return to the United Center, where he was beloved by fans, teammates and the coaching staff before being traded to Cleveland last January.