Un Oh: The Chicago Bulls Upcoming Schedule is as Exhausting as it Gets

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Un Oh: The Chicago Bulls Upcoming Schedule is as Exhausting as it Gets

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls’ 13-game gauntlet that began at the end of October – where they faced 12 playoff teams from the 2020-21 season (with the lone exception being the first-place Golden State Warriors) – looked like the organization’s toughest stretch … until now.

After the Bulls battle the Detroit Pistons at the United Center on Tuesday night, they will welcome in the 2nd-place Brooklyn Nets 24 hours later. Then, after a one-day break, the Bulls will face a 30-9 Warriors team before flying to Boston for a meeting with the Celtics on Saturday. In other words, the Bulls are staring at a stretch of four games in five days, with two of those games coming against two of the NBA’s hottest teams. And the craziness doesn’t stop there.

When the team leaves for Boston after Friday night’s game, it will mark the beginning of a stretch where six of the next eight games are on the road. One of those games will come against the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that currently holds the longest active winning streak in the NBA (nine games). Then, after a quick return home for the 6th-seeded and oversized Cleveland Cavaliers, the Bulls will continue their road trip in Milwaukee for their first matchup against Giannis Antetokounmpo.

With so many tough games in such a short amount of time, practice will surely become a rarity. The Bulls will also have to watch their players’ minutes closely, and head coach Billy Donovan touched on that topic after the team’s 113-99 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.

“Those discussions would be between the player and the medical,” Donovan said. “I think the biggest thing we need to see going into this stretch is how do these guys feel coming out of these games. I feel like we have a really good group of guys who would be honest if they felt like they could not compete or play at the level they wanted to play at the help the team.

This is going to be going on for the next several weeks. We’re going to have to keep a close eye on our guys and how they’re doing and what may be best for them. But they obviously have to participate in those conversations, as well.

Donovan said the team isn’t going to pencil in games where his stars will sit, but he certainly left the door open for players to have less of a workload on some nights than others. And why wouldn’t he when things are about to get this exhausting?

Take a look at the entire January slate:

Jan. 11 – vs. Pistons
Jan. 12 – vs. Nets
Jan. 14 – vs. Warriors
Jan. 15 – @ Celtics
Jan. 17 – @ Grizzlies
Jan. 19 – vs. Cavaliers
Jan. 21 – @ Bucks
Jan. 23 – @ Magic
Jan. 24 – @ Thunder
Jan. 26 – vs. Raptors
Jan. 28 – @ Spurs
Jan. 30 – Trail Blazers

To close out this month, the Bulls face 12 games in a 20-day stretch. If we include the games in February before the All-Star break, the team will play a league-high 22 games in 36 days, per Positive Residual. The Nets, Raptors, Warriors, Clippers, and Nuggets will play the second-most games at 20. Chicago has also been dealt six back-to-back sets, which is the most in the NBA. The Raptors sit just behind with five back-to-back sets (everyone else has four or fewer).

Milwaukee (4th) will play 17 games as we near the break, with Miami playing 19 (3rd) and Brooklyn (2nd) playing 20. The Bulls have shown they can jump hurdles all season long, but a rest advantage might be all these teams need to grab the lead in a tight Eastern Conference.

Of course, the Bulls face this jam-packed schedule thanks to a COVID outbreak in December. The team had three games postponed, and all three were rescheduled for before the All-Star break. Perhaps those well-rested legs the team had to end 2021 can come in handy over these next several weeks, but there is no question this will be a tiring sprint to a much-needed mid-February break.

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Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.