1966/67: After the Stags who played in the NBA from 1946-1950 and the Packers/Zephyrs who played 1961-1963 failed in Chicago the NBA was hopeful that the third time would be the charm when the Bulls took the court in 1966. The Bulls got off to a solid start when they beat the St. Louis Hawks 104-97 on the road. The Bulls would continue to play solid basketball as they won their first two home games against Western Conference Powerhouses San Francisco Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers for a 3-0 start. The first year Bulls would go on to finish with a 33-48 record, the best for a first year team, making the playoffs as Coach Johnny Kerr won Coach of the Year honors. However, in the playoffs the Bulls would be swept in three straight games by the St. Louis Hawks.
1967/68: After a solid first season the Bulls trade away their steadiest player Guy Rodgers, and struggle for the start losing their first nine games and 15 of 16. However, the Bulls would end up making the playoffs despite finishing with an awful 29-53 record. In the playoffs the Bulls would make a quick exit losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. Following the season the Bulls would lose Coach Johnny Kerr who followed Bulls Vice President Jerry Colangelo to Phoenix with the expansion Suns.
1968/69: Early season struggles would finally catch up with Bulls who missed the playoffs for the first time with a 33-49 record, as the midseason acquisition of Bob Love provided a spark, but it was too late to get the Bulls into playoff position.
1969/70: The Bulls were a high scoring team that had many weaknesses on defense as they finished with a 39-43 record while averaging 114.9 ppg. The Bulls were able to get into the playoffs but would make a quick exit as they lost to the Atlanta Hawks in five games.
1970/71: The Bulls show improvement on defense by becoming a physical team while finishing in second place in the newly formed Midwest Division with a solid 51-31 record. In the playoffs the Bulls would battle the Los Angeles Lakers to the bitter end falling in seven games.
1971/72: In November the Bulls acquired Norm Van Lier, who brought a pugnacious attitude to the game and teamed with Jerry Sloan to form the toughest defensive guard tandem of the era. The squad had two seven-game winning streaks before entering the New Year. The Bulls would go on to finish in second place with a 57-25 record. However, with an injury to Tom Boerwinkle the Bulls would be no match for the Los Angeles Lakers who swept them in three straight games.
1972/73: Despite missing Tom Boerwinkle for most of the season with a knee injury the Bulls finish in second place again with a solid 51-31 record. The Bulls appeared to be in line for an upset as they led the Los Angeles Lakers late in Game 7. However, the Lakers would rally outscoring the Bulls 12-2 in the final minute to win 95-92.
1973/74: The Bulls would get off to a fast start winning 13 of their 15 games on the way to another solid second place finish with a 54-28 record. In the playoffs the Bulls found themselves in another seven game war this time against the Detroit Pistons. With Game 7 at Chicago Stadium the Bulls would prevail 96-94 for their first ever playoff series victory earning a trip to the Western Finals. However, in the West Finals eth Bulls would be dominated in four straight games by the Milwaukee Bucks.
1974/75: The Bulls got off to a shaky start as Norm Van Lier and Bob Love held out while they renegotiated their contracts. However, 6’11” Center Nate Thurmond, acquired from the Golden State Warriors in a trade for Clifford Ray, picked up the slack, blocking 12 shots in his debut with the Bulls. Love and Van Lier would return, and the Bulls would become nearly invincible in the second half of the year finishing with a 47-35 record earning their first ever Division Title. In the playoff the Bulls would earn a trip to their second straight Conference Final by beating the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in six games. In the Conference Finals the Bulls were one game away from playing for all the marbles as they led the Golden State Warriors three games to two. However, the Warriors would rally and take the series in seven games.
1975/76: The Bulls were hurt form the starts of the season as Nate Thurmond and Chet Walker retired; Meanwhile Jerry Sloan was lost to a knee injury as the Bulls fell into last place with a terrible 24-58 record.
1976/77: Center Artis Gilmore, who the Bulls acquired in the ABA dispersal draft, made an immediate impact averaging 22.0 ppg as the Bulls got off to a solid start. However, the Bulls would need to close the season out by winning 20 of their last 25 games to finish with a 44-38 record and make the playoffs after a midseason 13-game losing streak nearly ruined their season. In the playoffs the Bulls, would be knocked off in a three game series by the eventual NBA Champions Portland Trailblazers.
1977/78: Despite posting a 28-23 record after the All-Star Break the Bulls miss the playoffs with a 40-42 record.
1978/79: The Bulls get off to a lousy start, as Coach Ed Badger is fired after a 20-36 start. Under his replacement Larry Costello the Bulls would not fare much better finishing in last place with a 31-51 record.
1979/80: Jerry Sloan takes over the coaching reigns, but the Bulls struggles continue as Artis Gilmore is lost for 34 games with a leg injury as the Bulls finish in fourth place with a 30-52 record.
1980/81: The Bulls are relocated to the Central Division in the Eastern Conference. The move would serve the Bulls well as they won 13 of their last 15 games to make the playoffs for the first time in five years with a 45-37 record. In the playoffs the Bulls would stun the New York Knicks in two straight games, before being swept in four straight by the Boston Celtics in the second Round.
1981/82: The Bulls are unable to build off their solid playoff season as they get off to a terrible start before Coach Jerry Sloan is fired after a 19-33 record. With General Manager Rod Thorn running the team the rest of the way the Bulls play .500, as they finish in fifth place with a 34-48 record.
1982/83: With new Coach Paul Westhead the Bulls struggles continue as they played terrible all season on the way to finishing in fourth place with a woeful 28-54 record. Following the season Westhead would be fired and replaced by Kevin Loughery.
1983/84: The Bulls struggles continue as they finish with an awful 27-55 record, missing the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years. During the season the Bulls deal away Reggie Theus creating the need for a solid shooting guard, which they hoped would be filled by a 6’6″ guard from North Carolina named Michael Jordan who the Bulls selected with third overall draft pick.
1984/85: Michael Jordan stepped into the starting lineup right away and dazzled the NBA earning a trip to the All-Star Game, while earning comparisons to Julius Erving. Jordan would go on to finish third in scoring with 28.2 ppg, earning the Rookie of the Year as the Bulls made the playoffs with a 38-44 record. However, it would be a quick exit as the Bulls are knocked off by the Milwaukee Bucks in four games.
1985/86: The Bulls season seemed lost form the start when Michael Jordan was lost three games into the season. However, Jordan would return sooner than expected, as the Bulls were able to squeeze into the playoffs despite a poor 30-52 record. In the playoffs the Bulls would be swept in three straight games by the Boston Celtics, but nobody would remember the Bulls failures after Jordan set an NBA postseason record by scoring 63 points on the road in a Game 2 loss in double overtime 135-131.
1986/87: In his third season Michael Jordan continues to blossom into the NBA’s top star as he went on a rampage coming 40 or more points in nine straight games, as he won his first scoring title with 37.1 ppg, while becoming the first player in 24 years to score 3,000 points. The Bulls would make the playoffs again with a 40-42 record. However, Jordan could not do it alone in the playoffs, as the Bulls are swept by the Boston Celtics in three straight games.
1987/88: The Bulls acquire some help for Michael Jordan in the draft by trading for Scottie Pippen and selecting Horace Grant. With some added help and Charles Oakley finishing a close second in rebounding the Bulls showed some improvement by finishing in third place with a 50-32 record. Along the way Jordan was spectacular as ever dazzling the home crowd at the All-Star Game with his aerial show, and winning his first MVP award by winning the scoring title with 35 ppg. In addition his airness proved to be a two-way player as he led the league in steals while winning the defensive player of the year. In the playoffs Michael Jordan would get their first taste of success as eth Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games. However, in the second round the Bulls would fall to the Detroit Pistons in five games.
1988/89: The Bulls continue to retool trading Charles Oakley to the New York Knicks for Center Bill Cartwright. In the regular season the Bulls would take a step backward as their record slipped to 47-35. However, the Bulls would still make the playoffs as the sixth seed. In the playoffs the Bulls had a tough first round battle against the Cleveland Cavaliers that would go the full five games. With only a few seconds remaining the Bulls needed a miracle as they trailed, by one point. From there the legend of Michael Jordan began to grow as he hit a dramatic game winning shot as time expired. Moving on the second Round the Bulls started to roll as they stunned the New York Knicks in six games. In the Eastern Finals the Bulls would jump out to a 2-1 series lead against the Detroit Pistons. However the playoff tested Pistons would rally to win the next three games, and take the series in six games.
1989/90: Despite the solid playoff run the Bulls would fire Coach Doug Collins replacing him with Phil Jackson. The change would have a positive effect as the Bulls began to play consistent basketball finishing in second place with a 57-25 record, as Michael Jordan won his fourth straight scoring title with 33.6 ppg. Along the way Scottie Pippen had a breakout season adding the perfect offensive complement to Jordan’s highflying aerial show. In the playoffs the Bulls would easily rip through the Milwaukee Bucks in four games and the Philadelphia 76ers for an Eastern Conference Finals rematch with Detroit Pistons. In a classic series the Pistons and Bulls would battle the full seven game, but the Pistons would emerge victorious on the way to their second straight title.
1990/91: In their 25th season the Bulls stumble slightly out of the gate losing their first three games, but it would only be a minor hurdle as the Bulls were about to go on a rampage that would not be stopped. The Bulls would not lose three games in a row the rest of the season on the way to an impressive 61-21 record, which landed them their first Division Title in 16 years. Along the way Michael Jordan was as spectacular as ever winning another scoring title and his second MVP award. In the playoffs the Bulls would make quick work of the New York Knicks sweeping them in three straight games. In the second Round it would be more of the same as the Bulls knocked off the Philadelphia 76ers in five games to set up a rematch with the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Finals. The much-anticipated rematch would turn into a mismatch as the Bulls dominated the Pistons winning in four straight games, for their first ever berth in the NBA Finals. Facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals much hyped surrounded the match up of Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. However, as Game 1 showed stopping Magic was not enough as the Lakers won on a last second three-pointer by Sam Perkins, a UNC teammate of Jordan. However, Jordan likes a challenge and for the next four games he would be simply unstoppable averaging 30 points and 10 rebounds as the Bulls captured their first Championship in five games.
1991/92: Coming of their first NBA Championship the Bulls would go on another rampage with winning streaks of 14 and 13 on the way to a league best 67-15 record. Along the way Michael Jordan captured his second straight MVP, and sixth straight scoring title. In the playoffs the Bulls would make quick work of the Miami Heat sweeping them in three straight games. However, it was clear with Game 1 of the second round that this year’s playoff run of the Bulls would not be as easy as they were stunned by the New York Knicks. The Bulls would gain control of the series by winning the next two games, but the Knicks would again even the series. After winning Game 5 the Bulls would find themselves in a must win Game 7 after the Knicks took Game 6. Game 7 was tight for three quarters as both teams beat up on each other, but in the end, Michael would take over leading the Bulls to the Eastern Finals. In the East Finals the Bulls would beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. In the Finals for the second straight season the Bulls got off to a fast start as Michael Jordan showed an unexpected touch from three point range, as the Bulls got the jump on the Portland Trailblazers. However, the Blazers would even the series in Game 2. With the next three games in Portland the Bulls had to become road warriors to come home with a 3-2 series lead. However, the Blazers would not go down easily taking a 15-point lead into the 4th Quarter of Game 6. Facing a possible Game 7 the Bulls would get on a 14-2 run to start the final period and would not look back winning their second straight title with a 97-91 win at Chicago Stadium.
1992 Olympics: The Bulls were not only the toast of Chicago but the toast of the world as Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen stared on the Dream Team as the NBA All-Stars went to the Summer Olympics for the first time. The Americans were never challenged, and Michael was treated like a rock star while in Barcelona. Indeed Michael was a star all over the world his jersey were seen in the four corners of the world, while it seemed back home you could not watch TV without seeing one of his many commercials, indeed he had become a cooperation on top himself, becoming the richest athlete with nearly $30 million in endorsements alone.
1992/93: One side effect at being on the top of the world is that you become the target of everyone. The Bulls would not cruise through the season winning the Central Division by just three games while posting a 57-35 record. Michael Jordan would win his seventh straight scoring title but would not repeat as MVP. In the playoffs the Bulls would get off to a quick start sweeping the Atlanta Hawks in three straight games. In the second Round the Bulls began to gather momentum as they swept the Cleveland Cavaliers in four straight games. However, things would come much tougher in the Eastern Finals as they faced a hungry New York Knicks team. The Bulls would quickly find themselves down two games to none as they lost the first two games in New York. Adding to the frustration were rumors that Michael Jordan spent the day in between games gambling away several thousand dollars in Atlantic City. Angry Jordan shut off the press and stomped on the Knicks as the Bulls won two straight games at home to even the series. In a pivotal Game 5 the Bulls battled the Knicks all the way leading by one point with ten seconds left. There the defense took over denying Knicks forward Charles Smith four times under the basket before winning the game by three points on a breakaway. The Bulls would go on to close out the Knicks at home in Game 6. Facing the Phoenix Suns the Bulls quest for a 3-peat was overshadowed by growing rumors of Michael Jordan and gambling as worked of him betting on golf circulated. On the court it only seemed to spur Michael on as he averaged a Finals record 41 ppg, as the Bulls took the first two games in Phoenix. With the series coming to Chicago the Bulls were set to put the nail in the coffin, but the Suns would prove pesky winning Game 3 in triple overtime, and Game 5 to send the series back to the desert. In Game 6 the series appeared destined to reach Game 7 as the Suns had a four point lead with under a minute to go. The Bulls would cut the lead in half and hold the Suns off the scoreboard setting up a final shot with five seconds left. However, with all eyes on Jordan it was John Paxson who end up the hero hitting a game winning three-pointer from the top of the key, giving the Bulls their three-peat with a 99-98 win, as Jordan won his third straight Finals MVP. However, the joy for Michael would be short lived as his father was murdered in a carjacking a month later. Devastated over the summer Jordan decided to retire from the NBA prior to the start of the next season, stunning the entire world.
1993/94: Playing their final season in Chicago Stadium the Bulls would have to win their fourth straight title without Michael Jordan. Without Jordan Scottie Pippen would shine in the spotlight having his finest season and winning All-Star Game MVP, while leading the Bulls to a solid 55-27 record that was just two games short of a division title. In the playoffs the Bulls would make quick work of the Cleveland Cavaliers sweeping them in three straight games. Facing the New York Knicks in the second Round the Bulls found themselves in a defensive war, each game was tight and seemed to be on the brink of turning into an all-out brawl as the series went to a seventh game. However, without Jordan the Bulls would fall on the road ending their championship reign.
1994: While the Bulls quest for a fourth Championship was going down in flames, Michael Jordan decided to try a new career, by playing baseball with Chicago White Sox. Often making a fool out of himself, Jordan became a laughingstock first in Spring Training and then in the minors with Birmingham Barons. In truth Jordan may at one time been a good baseball player, but having not played the sport in 13 years he was rusty hitting around .200. However, Jordan was not done with basketball as he played in and hosted a charity game to close out Chicago Stadium, with many of his friends and ex-teammates throughout the league.
1994/95: It was clear the new United Center was the Arena that Michael Jordan built, and one of its first events was an all-star gala to retire his number 23. That night a statue was also unveiled outside the new arena featuring Jordan flying through the air. In their second season without Jordan the Bulls struggled at times as they sat on the playoff bubble. However, at the same time Jordan began to feel an itch to return, and on March 18th with the words “I’m Back” the Bulls were a whole team again. Wearing number 45 in honor of his late father, Jordan showed some rust in his first game against the Pacers in Indiana. However, with in short time he would be his old self again hitting a last second game winner against the Hawks in Atlanta, and hanging 55 points on the Knicks in his return to Madison Square Garden. With Jordan getting his legs back the Bulls posted a 9-1 record in April to finish with a 47-35 record good enough for the fifth seed in the playoffs. In the first round the Bulls would swat the Charlotte Hornets in four games. However, in the second Round the Bulls would be haunted by ex-teammate Horace Grant as they fell to the Orlando Magic in six games. Along the way Jordan showed some fatigue, but made another change, returning to number 23 after a remark, by Magic guard Anfernee Hardaway, that number 45 was not the same player as 23.
1995/96: With Michael Jordan returning for a full season the Bulls strengthen their team by acquiring the often enigmatic Dennis Rodman, who despite constant distraction with his unusual off-court behavior, which included cross-dressing and changing hair colors, was the league’s premier rebounding. The Bulls would come flying out of the gate winning of their first 11 games. After a late November loss to the Supersonics in Seattle the Bulls played even better winning 31 of their next 32 games as they set their sights on the record of wins in a season sitting at 41-3. The Bulls were simply unstoppable all year as Jordan returned to his post as the best player in the NBA winning the scoring title and MVP. The rampage continued all season as the Bulls lost consecutive games just once and did not lose their first home game until April on the way to an incredible 72-10 record, which bettered the old mark by three games. A true champions knows that a great regular seasons is whipped out if you fail in the playoffs and the Bulls were not about to let that happen as they blitzed through the Eastern Conference, sweeping the Miami Heat in the first round before beating the New York Knicks in five games. In the East Finals the Bulls would get revenge on the Orlando Magic as number 23 made Anfernee Hardaway pine for the days on number 45 in a four game sweep. In the finals the Bulls appeared to be heading for a sweep as they won the first three games against the Seattle Supersonics. However, the Bulls would stumble, and the Sonics would win two straight to send the series back to Chicago. Back in the windy city for Game 6 Jordan would not be denied winning his fourth Finals MVP as the Bulls closed out the Sonics on Father’s Day, an emotional Michael Jordan dedicated the Championship to his late father.
1996/97: The Bulls were a traveling circus at times with Dennis Rodman whose bizarre behavior led to a suspension after he hit a cameraman. However, with Michael Jordan winning the scoring title for the ninth time in his career the Bulls again were unstoppable, falling one game short of another 70-win season at 69-13, tying the old single season win record they had broken a year earlier. In the playoffs the Bulls quickly shot down the Washington Bullets in three straight games. The Bulls would go on to reach the Finals again by beating the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat each in five games. In the Finals the Bulls would find things much harder as they faced the Utah Jazz, coached by former Bulls great Jerry Sloan. Facing Karl Malone, who beat him out for the MVP, Jordan took over the first two games winning Game 1 with a buzzer beater, and scoring 38 points in Game 2. However, as the series shifted to Utah the Bulls found themselves in a battle as the Jazz rallied to even the series. Hours before Game 5 it was doubtful Michael Jordan would even play as he hampered by a stomach virus. However, Jordan would go out and as his legend grew beyond leaps and bounds, often wobble legged, Jordan somehow scored 39 points including a last minute three-pointer to give the Bulls a 3-2 series lead. Back in Chicago for Game 6 the Bulls found themselves in another battle before Steve Kerr nailed the series winner from three point range in a shot reminiscent of John Paxson’s Game winner four years earlier.
1997/98: With Scottie Pippen starting the season on the injured list the Bulls would get off to a slow start. However, Michael Jordan would carry the team on his back all season, winning his tenth scoring title and fifth MVP while leading the Bulls to another Division Title with a 62-20 record. As the playoffs started it became apparent the team would be broken up following the season as troubles between General Manager Jerry Krause and Coach Phil Jackson came to a head. Despite the distraction the Bulls swept the New Jersey Nets before beating the Charlotte Hornets in five games to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the East Finals would not be as easy as they needed seven games to fend off a pesky challenge from the Indiana Pacers. In an NBA Finals rematch with the Utah Jazz, the Bulls split the first two games in Utah, after winning Game 3 and Game 4 back at home the Bulls appeared ready to have another United Center Celebration. However, Jordan’s last second shot missed the mark and the series went back to Utah. In Game 6 the Bulls would be in the same situation down by one point with ten seconds left. On dense Jordan kept the game close by stealing the ball from Karl Malone. Then with time winding down he hit the winning to give the Bulls their sixth title in eight years. In what would be his last shot as a Bull Michael Jordan ended his Bull career in grand style his sixth finals MVP.
1998/99: While the players and owners were embroiled in a five moth lockout that wiped out half the season the Bulls Dynasty was beyond destroyed from within. Coach Phil Jackson was not offered a new contract, Scottie Pippen, Luc Longley and Steve Kerr left in sign-and-trade deals, and Dennis Rodman and Jud Buechler signed elsewhere as free agents. While Michael Jordan retired again. With new coach Tim Floyd the Bulls were shell of their former selves. The break up was started by General Manager Jerry Krause and Owner Jerry Reindorf who felt they did not get the credit they deserved in building the Championship teams, while refusing to offer contracts to the people who were responsible namely Phil Jackson, who if he had been resigned would have meant the rest of the team would have wanted to stay too. However, instead the team left behind was terrible finishing in last place with a 13-37 record.
1999/00: First Round Draft pick Elton Brand has a stellar rookie season, sharing Rookie of the Year honors while averaging 20 points and 10 rebound a game. However, the Bulls struggle continued as they finished in last place with a terrible 17-65 record. Meanwhile in Los Angeles Phil Jackson emerged form a one year sabbatical to lead the Lakers to an NBA title. Even more embarrassing Michael Jordan joined the Washington Wizards front office after not being offered a job by the Bulls.
2000/01: After failing to land one of the stellar young free agents the Bulls were clearly a franchise that was without a clear direction. General Manager Jerry Krause’s whole rebuilding strategy of tearing the team down came with the hopes he could work some magic in the free agency market. However, his failure only made his moves seem worse, as the Bulls had their worst season in franchise history finishing with a league worst 15-67 record.
2001/02: After two years languishing in last place General Manager Jerry Krause decided to start from scratch trading Elton Brand their most promising player to the Los Angeles Clippers for an additional first round draft pick. The pick was used on High School star Tyson Chandler, who joined number one overall pick Edie Curry. The Bulls were gambling that the pair of high school stars could energize the struggling franchise. Instead the struggle continued leading to a coaching change early in the season as Tim Floyd resigned. He would eventually be replaced by Bill Cartwright. Under Cartwright the Bulls would improve, but more retooling was not over as they acquired Jalen Rose Travis Best and Norman Richardson from the Indiana Pacers for Brad Miller, Ron Artest, Ron Mercer and Kevin Ollie. However, it was not enough to lift the Bulls out of the cellar as they finished with an awful; 21-61 record. Adding insult to injury was the return of Michael Jordan in a Washington Wizards uniform, as he received a thunderous five minute standing ovation, which proceeded boos for the current crop of Bulls. In addition Phil Jackson weaved his three-peat magic again for the Los Angeles Lakers. For the Bulls demise state GM Jerry Krause would receive full credit.
2002/03: General Manager Jerry Krause would finally step down as the Bulls got off to another slow start losing 15 of their first 19 games. As John Paxson became the Bulls new General Manager, the young team built by Krause finally began to show some promise as they posted a solid 27-14 record at the United Center. However, on the road the Bulls struggled badly winning just three times in 41 games as they finished in 5th place with a record of 30-52.
2003/04: Despite a possible career ending injury to Jay Williams suffered in an off-season motorcycle accident, there was optimism entering the season as Scottie Pippen returned to lead the “Baby Bulls.” However Pippen was just a shell of his former self as injuries and year of wear and tear had taken their toll. The Bulls would get off to a terrible start holding a 4-12 record at the end of November when Coach Bill Cartwright is fired and replaced by Scott Skiles. At the same time they began to retool their roster trading away Jalen Rose and Donyell Marshall to the Toronto Raptors for Antonio Davis in a multiple player deal. However the deal could not salvage yet another lost season for the Bulls who went on to finish in last place with a terrible 23-59 record. As Pippen’s Bulls comeback ended with injury in February as the Hall of Famer went on to retire following the season.
2004/05: The Bulls stumbled out of the gates as they dropped their first nine games on the way to a horrendous 1-10 November. As December began the Bulls would not fare much better as they were 3-14 on December 14th. The Bulls would play .500 for the next few weeks and as January begin, they would suddenly catch fire winning 12 of 13 to spring over .500. When most expected the young Bulls led by three outstanding rookies Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, and Chris Duhon they would only get better as the season wore on winning nine straight games at the end of March on the way to making the playoffs for the first time since the 1998 Finals, as they finished in 2nd Place with a 47-35 record, as Ben Gordon who became a force off the bench won the 6th Man while finishing 2nd an in Rookie of the Year voting. Down the stretch the Bulls would be bitten by the injury bug, as Deng missed of April and the postseason, while Eddie Curry, who had a breakout season with 16.1 ppg and 5.4 rpg was sidelined due to a heart ailment. In the playoffs the Bulls would face the Washington Wizards and would get off to a good start winning the first two games at home. However, as the series shifted to Washington the Bulls struggled losing Games 3 and Game 4. Needing a win at home in Game 5 to stem the tide the Bulls suffered a heartbreaking loss as Gilbert Arenas nailed a 14-footer at the buzzer to give the Wizards a 112-110 win. The Bulls would not recover as they would fall in six games losing 94-91 in Game 6.
2005/06: Coming off their first playoff appearance since 1998, the Bulls were not ready to stand pat as they dealt away Eddy Curry to the New York Knicks for Michael Sweetney, Tim Thomas and a 2006 draft pick. At first the Bulls missed Curry as they struggled much of the first half of the season as they were 23-29 at the All-Star Break. The Bulls continued to struggle into March as they were in last place with a 29-39 record on March 22nd. With their playoff hopes fading the Bulls needed to get hot to get back into the postseason. The Bulls would do that and more as won 12 of their last 14 games to finish in 4th Place with a .500 record at 41-41, and slipped playoffs as the 7th Seed. Facing the Miami Heat in the first round the Bulls played well in their first two games on the road, but lost both as the Heat proved to talented. However, as the series shifted to Chicago the Bulls looked like the Championship contender as they won a 109-90 blowout in Game 3 and evened the series with a 93-87 win in Game 4. The Heat would recover as the series went back to Miami as they beat the Bulls 92-78 in Game 5, and went on to take the series in six games, eventually going on to win the NBA Championship. Following the season the Bulls would fill their hole in the middle by signing Free Agent Center Ben Wallace to a four year $60 Million Contract. In Detroit Wallace became the defensive star of the NBA winning four of the last five Defensive Player of the Year Awards since 2002.
2006/07: Early in Ben Wallace’s tenure in Chicago, more attention was drawn to his head then his defense as he expressed displeasure with Coach Scott Skiles policy against headbands, as the Bulls got off to a disappointing 3-9 start, despite starting the season by blowing out the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat on the road 108-66. However, beginning with a home and home sweep of the New York Knicks the Bulls found their grove, winning seven in row, and 16 of their next 19 games as they ended 2006 with a decent 19-12 record. January would bring hard times for the Bulls as they posted a 7-8 record, as they fell behind in their battle for the division title. However, they would finish strong winning 16 of their last 22 games as they had the third best record overall in the Eastern Conference at 49-33, earning them home court against the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. The Bulls would get off to a strong start in the playoffs as they had a 96-91 victory in Game 1, with Luol Deng scoring a game high 32 points. In Game 2 the hero was Ben Gordon with 27 points as the Bulls slammed the Heat again 107-89. As the series shifted to Miami the Bulls were the ones who stayed hot scoring 32 points in the 4th Quarter to take a 3-0 series lead with a 104-96 win. The Bulls would go on to complete the sweep of the defending champions winning their first series since the Michael Jordan era with a dominating 92-79 win. Facing the rival Detroit Pistons in the second round the Bulls were in for a rude awakening as they were shut down in Game 1 losing 95-69. After another blowout loss in Game 2 the Bulls hoped a return to Chicago could give them the spark they needed. However, the Pistons had all the answers again outscoring the Bulls 53-30 in the second half to take a 3-0 series lead with an 81-74 win. The Bulls would avoid the sweep with a 102-87 win, led by the balanced scoring of Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon. With Gordon scoring 28 points in Game 5 the Bulls would continue to stay alive with 108-92 win in Detroit. However, the experienced Pistons would shut down the Bulls in Game 6 winning 95-85 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
2007/08: After making it to the second round the Bulls entered the season with a renewed confidence, they could rejoin the NBA elite, while the preseason was full of rumors of a possible trade to acquire Kobe Bryant from the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the trade rumors served more to distract the Bulls, as they lost their first four games on the way to a terrible 2-10 start. Unlike the previous year the Bulls were unable to overcome the shaky start, as they held a 9-16 record on Christmas Eve, when Coach Scott Skiles was fired, with Jim Boylan taking over as the interim coach. The coaching change would not improve the Bulls fortunes months as they quickly faded from playoff contention. With the season winding down the Bulls decided to make some changes, and traded away Ben Wallace, who continued to be a disappointment along with Joe Smith, Adrian Griffin and the Bulls’ 2009 second round draft pick, in a three way trade involving the Cleveland Cavaliers and Seattle Supersonics. In return the Bulls received Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons, Larry Hughes and Shannon Brown. The Bulls would end up finishing the season with a disappointing 33-49 record, which was a complete reversal of their successful 2006/07 season. Following the season the Bulls would win the draft lottery enabling them to select Derrick Rose with the number one overall pick, as Vinny Del Negro was named their new coach.
2008/09: With new Coach Vinny Del Negro would continue to struggle as they held a 14-18 record after the first two months of the season. Things would only get worse in January, as the Bulls dropped to 18-27 on January 25th, following a five game losing streak. Still playing mediocre basketball the Bulls were active at the trade deadline ending Andres Nocioni, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons, and Michael Ruffin to the Sacramento Kings for Brad Miller and John Salmons. They would later send Larry Hughes to the New York Knicks for Tim Thomas, Jerome James, and Anthony Roberson, while dealing Thabo Sefolosha to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a draft pick. While the deal was slow to have any effect the Bulls as they held a 29-37 record on March 13th, a late run would help propel them into the playoffs, as they won 12 of their final 16 games to earn the seventh seed with a record of 41-41. One member of the Bulls who played well all season was number one pick Derrick Rose, who earned Rookie of the Year honors, with 16.8 points and 6.3 assists per game. In the playoffs the Bulls would face the defending champion Boston Celtics. Led by Derrick Rose, who showed the poise of a veteran the Bulls took Game 1 on the road, winning in overtime 105-103. Game 2 appeared to be heading to overtime as well, when Ray Allen nailed a three point shot with two seconds left to give the Celtics a 118-115 win, spoiling a 42-point performance from Ben Gordon. As the series shifted to Chicago, the Bulls struggled in Game 3, suffering a 21 point loss. However, they would rebound to win Game 4 in double overtime 121-118 to once again even the series. Game 5 would also go to overtime, but this time it would be the Celtics who would win, as Paul Pierce was strong down the stretch leading the Celtics to a 106-104 win. However, the Bulls were not done, and overtime would be needed again in Game 6 as the Bulls pushed the series to the distance with a 128-127 win that need a third overtime, as Derrick Rose scored 28 points, and blocked Rajon Rondo’s shot at the end of the triple OT. However, the Celtics proved to be too strong as they won the series with a 109-99 victory in Game 7, taking control of the game by outscoring the Bulls 29-11 in the 2nd Quarter.
2009/10: After a strong showing in the playoffs, there were raised expectations in Chicago as the season began. However, when the season began the Bulls suffered a letdown and struggled through most of the first two months with a 10-17 record, as rumors swirled around Coach Vinny Del Negro. As December came to an end and the New Year began, the Bulls started to play up to talent, winning four straight games twice around a three game losing streak. Embarking on a seven game road trip the Bulls lost to the lowly Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers, but rebounded to win the next five games, three of which were against teams that would make the playoffs. The surge saw the Bulls reach the .500 mark. However, inconsistency became a hallmark of the Bulls as they stumbled again in March losing ten straight games. The losing streak put the Bulls playoff chances in jeopardy. Fortunately for the Bulls they were able to finish the season strong, by winning 10 of their last 14 games to finish 41-41 to secure the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference Playoff chase. The key win was on April 11th as they beat the Toronto Raptors on the road 104-88 with the playoffs on the line. In the playoffs the Bulls faced the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round and found themselves down 0-2 right away after losing the first two games in Cleveland. As the series shifted to the United Center for Game 3, the Bulls got a big game from Derrick Rose who scored 31 points as the Bulls edged the Cavs 108-106. However, it would be the only playoff game the Bulls would win as the Cavs won the next two games to take the series in five games. Following their first round exit the Bulls decided to fire Coach Vinny Del Negro, they would hire Boston Celtics Assistant Coach Tom Thibodeau a defensive expert to take his place.
2010/11: Under new Coach Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls looked to return to the NBA’s elite status as they were heavily involved in the pursuit of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. However, after both signed with the Miami Heat, the Bulls turned their attention elsewhere and landed Carlos Boozer and C.J. Watson. After struggling early as Boozer had trouble staying healthy, the Bulls finished December strong, winning 12 of their last 14 games to enter the New Year with a record of 21-10, as they quickly established themselves as the class of the Central Division. The Bulls continued their strong play in January and February as Derrick Rose was quickly becoming the best Point Guard in the NBA. In just his third season, Rose led the Bulls in points per game (25.0) and assists (7.7) and would become the youngest player in NBA history to claim the MVP award. Down the stretch the Bulls with their defense and Rose play making became the best team in the NBA as they won 21 of their last 23 games to finish the season with a record of 62-20. By finishing with the best record in the NBA, Tom Thibodeau would be named Coach of the Year. In the playoffs the Bulls would face the Indiana Pacers in the first round. After trailing most of the game in the opener, Derrick Rose led the way for a fourth quarter comeback, scoring a game high 39 points as the Bulls beat the Pacers 104-99. Rose would lead the way again in Game 2, scoring 36 points, while Carlos Boozer added 17 points and 16 boards as the Bulls won 96-90. Derrick Rose continued to show why he won the MVP award by hitting the winning layup in Game 3 as the series shifted to Indiana, leading the Bulls to an 88-84 win. The Pacers would win in Game 4; the Pacers would win 89-84 to avoid a sweep. However, the Bulls would take the series in five games, as they won 116-89 in Game 5 thanks to a strong effort from Luol Deng who scored 24 points, with six rebounds and seven assists. In the second round against the Atlanta Hawks, the Bulls would stumble in Game 1, losing 103-95. The Bulls would win Game 2 as Derrick Rose scored 25 point and the Bulls defense smothered the Hawks in an 86-73 win. As the series shifted to Atlanta, Derrick Rose would explode to score 44 points to lead the Bulls to a 99-82 win in Game 3. The Hawks would bounce back with a 100-88 win in Game 4, as the series returned to Chicago tied 2-2. Needing a win to get control of the series, Derrick Rose again rose to the occasion scoring 33 points with ten assists to lead the Bulls to a 95-83 win. With Carlos Boozer scoring 23 points, with ten rebounds and five assists the Bulls would bounce the Hawks in six games, winning the finale 93-73. In the Eastern Conference Finals the Bulls would face the Miami Heat, who they beat in all three regular season meetings. The Bulls continued to beat the Heat in Game 1, as Joakim Noah dominated the boards with 14 rebounds as Luol Deng had 21 points and seven boards while Derrick Rose scored 28 points as the Bulls won 103-82. The Heat would bounce back with an 85-75 win in Game 2. As the series shifted to Miami, the Heat continued to be too much for the Bulls as they won 96-85. Game 4 would be tight throughout and head into overtime. Unfortunately for the Bulls, they struggled to score in the extra session as the Heat took a commanding 3-1 series lead with a 101-93 victory. As the series returned to Chicago, the Bulls looked like they would extend the series to six games, as they held a 12 point lead late in the fourth quarter. However, the Bulls would unravel down the stretch as the Heat closed the game on an 18-3 run to eliminate the Bulls with an 83-80 win.
2011/12: After reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, and posting the best record in the regular season, the Bulls looked to affirm their status as an elite team in the NBA. With the departure of Kurt Thomas, the Bulls added Richard Hamilton, while Derrick Rose coming off an MVP season got a five year contract extension worth $94.8 million. The Bulls began the season in the spotlight as they faced the Los Angeles Lakers on the road on Christmas Day. With Derrick Rose scoring 22 points and Joakim Noah grabbing nine boards the Bulls would hold off the Lakers with a one point 88-87 win. The Bulls would get off to a fast start, posting a record of 12-2 in their first 14 games, as Rose continued to establish himself as the best guard in the league. After a strong start, the Bulls began to take on injuries as Derrick Rose missed 27 games, averaging a team high 21.9 ppg and 7.9 assists per game. Without Rose the Bulls continued to stay in front in the Eastern Conference, thanks to their strong defense and the coaching of Tom Thibodeau. While Rose was out, the Bulls got strong play from players like Carlos Boozer, who scored 15.0 ppg and started in every game, while Luol Deng averaged 15.3 points per game, with Joakim Noah becoming a force on the boards, with 9.8 rebounds per game. The Bulls would finish the season with the top record in the NBA again, as they posted a record of 50-16 in the lockout shortened season.
2012 Playoffs: As the playoffs began, most expected the Eastern Conference to come down to another showdown between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat, as Derrick Rose returned to the lineup. Taking on the Philadelphia 76ers, the Bulls would get off to a good start, as Derrick Rose had a game high 23 points with nine assists. However, late in the fourth quarter with the Bulls up 12 points, their playoff hopes took serious blow when Derrick Rose going up for a layup suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The Bulls would still win the game 103-91, but Rose would be lost for the rest of the playoffs and the start of the next season. The loss of Rose would be devastating for the Bulls as they lost 109-92 in Game 2 at the United Center. Things would go bad to worse as the series shifted to Philadelphia, with Joakim Noah suffering a sprained ankle when he stepped on Andre Iguodala’s foot. Noah would miss the nest two games, as the Sixers took a 3-1 series lead. Back home in Game 5, the Bulls would stay alive with a 77-69 win, as Luol Deng led the way with 24 points. However, the 76ers would get a 79-78 win to upset the Bulls in six games. The Bulls had their chances to win Game 6, but Omer Asik missed two free throws with the Bulls holding a 78-77 lead. Following the misses the Bulls would foul Andre Iguodala who hit both his shots from the charity stripe, as C.J. Watson’s half court prayer hit the front rim.
2012/13: As the season began the Chicago Bulls began the season hoping they could thread water until Derrick Rose returned from his knee injury that was suffered in their stunning playoff loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The hope for Chicago was that Rose would return sometime around the middle of the season. After starting the season with an 93-87 win over the Sacramento Kings, the Bulls had their early season struggles, posing a record of 6-7 during November. In December, the Bulls would begin to turn things around as they went into the New Year with a record of 16-13. A big reason for the Bulls keeping the head above water was the play of Joakim Noah who was named an All-Star for the first time as he was one of the top rebounders in the league with 11.1 boards per game. The Bulls would play even stronger basketball in January, as they won 12 of 16 games, including a 96-89 January 4th win on the road against the Miami Heat. Noah continued to be the Bulls stalwart in the middle, as Carlos Boozer emerged as one of the team’s leading scorers at 16. 2 ppg, as he was named Player of the Week, during the third week. Nate Robinson would be named Player of the Week two weeks later. Robinson was quite often the Bulls spark off the bench, averaging 13.1 ppg as he shot 41% from three point range. As February began the Bulls hoped Derrick Rose would be ready to return, but the former MVP was still dealing with soreness as the Bulls has an up and down 5-8 month. Rose would be cleared to return but claimed to be not ready as the Bulls split 14 games during March. However, one win of note would be the highlight of the regular season, as the Bulls beat the Heat 101-97 at United Center on March 27th, ending the Heat’s 27-game winning streak. However, injuries would continue to mount as the regular season came to an end as Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, and Joakim Noah were all hobbled by the end of the regular season as the Bulls finished with a record of 45-37. The season ended without Derrick Rose playing a game, as the guard just could not work his knee into the shape he wanted before playing a game.
2013 Playoffs: Despite their injuries, the Bulls made the playoffs as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, facing the Brooklyn Nets in the first round. Things started badly for the Bulls as the Nets won the opener 106-89. Despite being shorthanded the Bulls, with a big defensive effort were able to get a split in Brooklyn, as they scored a 90-82 win in Game 2. With Carlos Boozer leading the way, with 22 points and 16 rebounds, the Bulls got another big defensive performance and won Game 3 at United Center 79-76. Trailing late in the fourth quarter of Game 4, Nate Robinson came off the bench and led a personal 12-0 run to tie the game and force overtime. Robinson would continue to hit big shots in overtime, scoring a game high 34 points as the Bulls outlasted the Nets 142-134 in Triple Overtime. However, the injuries continued to mount as Joakim Noah was in and out with a foot injury, while Luol Deng was sidelined with a mystery illness. The shorthanded Bulls would drop Game 5 in Brooklyn 110-91, and then with a chance to close the series the Bulls would also lose Game 6 at home 95-92, as the Bulls injuries were clearly catching up with them. However, in Game 7 Joakim Noah scored 24 points with 14 boards, as Marco Belinelli also had 24 points to the way was the Bulls won on the road 99-93 to set up a showdown with the Miami Heat. Despite Derrick Rose showing signs in practice he was nearing return; the Bulls would not get a storybook return from their MVP as they faced the best team in the league without Luol Deng who continued to get treated for his illness. Despite the loss of manpower the Bulls stunned the Heat 93-86 in Game 1, as Nate Robinson had another big game with 27 points and nine assists. However, it was back to earth in Game 2 as the Bulls suffered a 115-78 loss. As the series shifted to Chicago, the Bulls began to wilt losing both game at United Center by double digits, including an ugly 88-65.In Game 5 in Miami the Bulls held a lead in the fourth quarter, but faded down the stretch as the Heat on the way to second straight championship won the game 94-91 to close out the series in five games.
2013/14: After playing an entire season without Derrick Rose, the Bulls began the season hoping they could challenge the Miami Heat. However, when the year began Rose looked to still be favoring his knee, as he had none of his spontaneous movement or quickness. On November 22nd after just ten games, Derrick Rose would reinjure his knee, suffering a torn meniscus. Rose would undergo season ending surgery three days later, posting 15.9 points and 4.3 assists in 31.1 minutes per game. Without their MVP, the Bulls struggled posting a record of 12-18 through the first two months. With their season at a crossroads, the Bulls traded Luol Deng Luol Deng was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for center Andrew Bynum and a set of picks. Bynum was immediately waived after the trade went through. Even before the trade, the Bulls began to play better, but despite initial criticism the Bulls posted a solid record of 11-4 in January. Despite having no real reliable scorers the Bulls would have a strong second half and capture the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 48-36. Once again, the Bulls were one of the top defensive teams in the league. The key to the Bulls success was Joakim Noah who was named Defensive Player of the Year. Noah was not just good on defense, he became the Bulls most important offensive player down the stretch recording four Triple-Doubles, as he finished the month of March with 120 assists, the most by an NBA center since Wilt Chamberlain had 155 in March 1968.
2014 Playoffs: In the playoffs the Bulls would face the Washington Wizards. Things looked good most of the game, as the Bulls held a 13 point lead in the third quarter. However, the Wizards rallied to win the game at the United Center 102-93, scoring 30 points in the fourth quarter. Needing to win Game 2, the Bulls again faltered down the stretch, as Wizards won in overtime 101-98. As the series shifted to Washington, the Bulls kept their hopes alive with a 100-97 win as Mike Dunleavy scored 35 points including 8 three-pointers. However, the Wizards would rebound to take a commanding 3-1 series lead with a 98-89 win in Game 4. Despite Game 5 in United Center, the Bulls would fall in five games as the Wizards won the finale 75-69.
2014/15: The addition of Pau Gasol and the return of Derrick Rose gave Chicago Bulls fans optimism that their team could get over the hump and return to the NBA Finals. The Bulls started the season strong, winning seven of their first nine games. Rose continued to have injuries troubles missing several games due to a sore ankle, as he was labeled “damaged goods” and criticized for his inability to play through pain. While Derrick Rose was falling out of favor, Jimmy Butler was emerging as a new fan favorite, being named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for the first month of the season. Butler would go from averaging 13 points per game to 20 points per game to lead Chicago in scoring, one of the biggest one year improvements in NBA history. Jimmy Butler would be named the NBA’s Most Improved Player for the 2015 season. December would see the Bulls continue their strong play, thanks in part to Nikola Mirotic who was named Rookie of the Month, as he averaged 10.2 ppg for the season. After entering the New Year with a record of 22-10, the Bulls hit some hard times in January as they begun to deal with a series of injuries that same both Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose miss significant time. During January as the Bulls posted an 8-9 record troubles between the front office and Coach Tom Thibodeau began to create storm clouds over the Bulls season. The entire second half was filled with nagging injuries, including an elbow injury that would sideline Jimmy Butler in March, as they lost their grip on first place in the Central Division. One bright spot in the second half was the play of Pau Gasol who averaged a double-double with 18.5 points per game and a team best 11.8 rebounds. The Bulls would manage to grab the third seed in the East posting a record of 50-32, finishing three games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers.
2015 Playoffs: Jimmy Butler was able to get healthy in time for the postseason as the Bulls faced the upstart Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. Butler was strong from the start, posting a game high 25 points as the Bulls captured the opener at United Center 103-91. Jimmy Butler was even better in Game 2 scoring 31 points, as Joakim Noah grabbed 19 boards to lead the Bulls to a 91-82 win. As the series shifted to Milwaukee, the Bulls got Derrick Rose in one of his flashes of brilliance. Rose would score a game best 34 points with eight assists as the Bulls edged the Bucks in a double overtime thriller 113-106. Looking for the sweep the Bulls were stunned by a Jerry Bayless layup at the buzzer losing 92-90. In Game 5, the Bucks proved to be a much tougher knockout than expected capturing a 94-88 win at United Center. The Bulls tough would not be denied, quickly erasing any doubt in Game 6 in Milwaukee by jumping out to a 34-16 lead in the first quarter. By halftime the score was 65-33 on the way to one of the biggest blowouts in NBA Playoff history, winning 120-66 to advance to a show down with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls started the second round with a statement win, using a 15-0 run in the third quarter to beat the Cavs 99-92 on the road. After Cleveland rebounded to win Game 2, the series shifted to Chicago where the series reached its crescendo. Game 3 at the United Center featured some high drama as the J.R. Smith hit a three point bomb to tie the game 96-96. Calling their last time out the Bulls set up a play for Derrick Rose, who lifted a deep three pointer at the buzzer which banked into to give Chicago a dramatic 99-96 win and control of the series up two games to one. The Bulls looking for a 3-1 lead outscored Cleveland 23-12 in third and took a 68-61 lead into the fourth quarter. The Cavs rallied and took the lead by going on a 19-5 run, the Bulls answered back and tied the game 84-84 with a Rose layup with eight seconds remaining. LeBron James had the game in his hands but was blocked by Nikola Mirotic. The ball went out of bounds with 1.5 seconds left, giving Cleveland another chance. This time receiving an inbound pass from Matthew Dellavedova, LeBron would not miss sinking a jumper as time expired to give the Cavaliers an 86-84 win to even the series. Back in Cleveland for Game 5, the Cavs got a big game from LeBron James to take control of the series with a 106-101 win, as the Bulls were hurt by the absence of Taj Gibson who was ejected after kicking Matthew Dellavedova. In Game 6 at United Center Dellavedova would continue to frustrate the Bulls, scoring a team high 19 points as the Cavs closed out the series with a 94-73 win. Following their second round exit the troubles between the front office and Tom Thibodeau came to ahead, with the Bulls making a coaching change.
2015/16: After the dismissal of Tom Thibodeau the Chicago Bulls hired Fred Hoiberg to be their new head coach. Derrick Rose was healthy most of the season, playing in 66 games the most since winning the MVP in 2011. However, he was far from the form that made him an MVP or even an All-Star, as he averaged just 16.4 points and 4.7 assists per game, both the lowest of his career. Rose was not the only member of the Bulls who had a disappointing season, as Joakim Noah fought through a shoulder injury and was a shell of the player that was named Defensive Player of the Year just two years earlier, averaging just 4.3 ppg, while playing just 29 games. Jimmy Butler meanwhile had another solid season, leading the Bulls with 20.9 points per game as he was an All-Star for the second straight season. The Bulls played well early in the season, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 97-95 to open the season at the United Center. In the season opening win, Nikolai Mirotic led the way with 19 points on the way to a solid 10-5 start. December was an up and down month for the Bulls as they suffered two separate three-game losing streaks, though they managed a four-game winning streak in between and went into the New Year with a record of 18-12. After starting January in the middle of a six-game winning streak, the Bulls began sputtering as they won just two of their next eight games. The Bulls would go through an even worse stretch heading into the All-Star Break as they lost seven of eight. The Bulls would go through more mediocrity in March as they began to have the playoffs slip away when they fell below .500 on March 28th. The Bulls would go on to finish the season with a record of 42-42, missing the playoffs for the first in eight years.
2016/17: It was a summer of change for the Chicago Bulls after missing the playoffs as one time MVP Derrick Rose was traded to the New York Knicks along with Justin Holiday for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant. Calderon would later be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Also joining the Knicks was Joakim Noah, who was among four free agents not resigned, this included Pau Gasol who left to play with the San Antonio Spurs. Among the Bulls additions were Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, who each signed two year deals. The new look Bulls started the season on a strong note, winning their first three games, including a 105-99 win over the Boston Celtics in the season opener at the United Center. After playing solid basketball in November, the Bulls struggled in December, posting a 6-11 record as they lost all six games on the road. Holding a 16-18 record as the New Year began, the Bulls got off to a positive start in January, with three straight wins, including a 106-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers to end their road losing streak. Over the next two months, the Bulls hovered near .500 as they were in the thick of the race for the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Chicago hit a rough stretch in March, as they lost five straight and seven out of eight games. With the playoff hopes on the ropes, the Bulls finished the season strong, as they went 9-4 over their final 13 games, to finish at 41-41 to slip into the eight seed via a tiebreaker over the Miami Heat, who they beat in two of three meetings in the regular season. Jimmy Butler was the Bulls top scorer with 23.9 points per game, while Dwyane Wade finished with 18.3 points per game.
2017 Playoffs: Facing the top seeded Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs; the Chicago Bulls showed they would not be a pushover, as they stunned the Celtics 106-102 in Game 1. The Bulls continued to frustrate the Celtics as they won again by a score of 111-97 as Rajon Rondo tormented his former team, narrowly missing a triple double with 24 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds, adding five steals. However, late in the game Rondo suffered a thumb injury, which would sideline him the rest of the series. Without Rondo, the Bulls were unable to keep up the same defensive pressure as the series shifted to the United Center, as the Celtics won the next two games by scores of 104-87 and 104-95 to even the series. Despite a strong game by Dwyane Wade in Game 5, the Celtics took control of the series with a 108-97 win at TD Garden, as they went on to win four straight and eliminate Chicago in six games. In the finale, the Celtics trounced the Bulls 105-83, beginning an off-season that would see more changes as the team decided to start over and rebuild.
2017-18: During the offseason, the Chicago Bulls began the process of retooling by shipping perennial All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The move polarized the fanbase but was a needed change in direction for a franchise that was just meddling in the middle of the Eastern Conference for several years. In return for Butler and the #16 draft pick, the Bulls received Zach Lavine, Khris Dunn, and the seventh overall pick, which ended up being used to select Lauri Markkanen. The season started rough for Fred Hoiberg’s team. Two days before the season, Bobby Portis and Niko Mirotic got into an altercation at practice that ended in Niko going to the hospital with a concussion and multiple facial fractures. This was a real blow to a team that was already going to be terrible going into the season after losing their best player. On an alternative note, this could have been spun into a saving grace for the front office that was interested in picking at the top of the draft. The Bulls would get off to a dismal 3-20 start, good for worst in the NBA, and set an excellent opportunity to get a high lottery pick. However, after the poor showing, the Bulls showed some pride upon the return of Mirotic. The Bulls were able to forge a seven-game winning streak as Nico Mirotic scored nearly 20 points a game, adding seven rebounds a game good for an average plus/minus of 5.1, during Chicago’s winning streak. Niko Mirotic continued his surge as the Bulls continued to play a competitive brand of basketball. Niko Mirotic was so good that the Bulls were able to deal him to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first-round draft pick that was used to select Boise State small forward Chandler Hutchinson. After the trade, the Bulls resumed their losing ways. If you take a step back and try to acknowledge some of the positives, it wasn’t all that bad of a season; Lauri Markkenen turned out to be one of the best rookies in his class and gave the city of Chicago hope that he can be part of the next Bulls championship. While Zach Lavine playing just 24 games after returning from a knee injury, proved to be still an athletic talent who could score, averaging 16.7 ppg. Khris Dunn also looked like a fine piece for a team going forward with 13.7 points and 6.0 assists per game. The season ended with the Bulls posting a record of 27-55 and ending up with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft. The Bulls would choose Wendell Carter Jr. If you took away anything, you took away hope and a sense of direction from that season, and that is a lot more than you can say for any of the previous 4-5 seasons with this franchise.
Written by James Harding
2018/19: After missing the playoffs, the Chicago Bulls continued to hit the reset button and began the process of rebuilding. The Bulls dropped their first three games, on the way to losing eight of their first ten games. As December began, the Bulls decided a change was needed as Fred Hoiberg was relieved of his coaching duties. Jim Boylen, who served as an assistant coach since 2015, took over for the remainder of the season. Sitting a 5-19 at the time of the coaching change, the Bulls played better for Boylan as they doubled their win total and went into 2019 with a record of 10-27. However, come January, the Bulls were again losing regularly. The Bulls were particularly bad, suffering 11-straight losses at United Center through January. The Bulls were among the busiest teams at the trading deadline as they remade their roster, scooping up expiring contracts to begin clearing cap space for the future. The deals cleared the way to showcase some of their younger stars as Lauri Markkanen showed progress averaging 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Another bright spot was Zach Lavine, who led the Bulls in scoring with 23.7 ppg. Lavine also had career highs in assists and rebounds. The Bulls played well in February but ended the season among the worst teams in the NBA as they posted a record of 22-60.
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Page created on December 23, 2002. Last updated on March 20, 2020, at 11:00 pm ET.