The Chicago Bulls will open the 2012-2013 campaign without Derrick Rose. The 2011 Most Valuable Player, who is recovering from offseason surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, will likely be out until sometime after the All-Star Break.
Coach Tom Thibodeau has already proven that he can lead the Bulls to regular-season success without his three-time All-Star. Last season, Chicago played 27 of its 66 games sans Rose and still managed to finish the regular season with the NBA's best record. In fact, the Bulls won 18 of the 27 games that he missed.
Rose will be lucky if he suits up for 27 games this season. But Thibodeau will have a full training camp to get his team prepared to compete without its All-Star point guard. Most of that preparation will be focused on the defensive end of the floor where the Bulls have absolutely flourished under the tutelage of Thibodeau.
No matter who is in the lineup, defense will be the constant in Chicago. And it will be defense, along with solid veteran leadership from guys like Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah as well as continued improved play from Taj Gibson that will carry the Bulls to their fifth consecutive playoff appearance.
Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2012-2013 Chicago Bulls:
Game 1, Wednesday, October 31 versus Sacramento Kings- Bulls open the season with a Halloween night victory over the Kings (Record 1-0).
Game 2, Friday, November 2 at Cleveland Cavaliers- Bulls defeat the Cavaliers for the ninth consecutive time (Record 2-0).
Game 3, Saturday, November 3 versus New Orleans Hornets- Bulls beat the Hornets and successfully complete their first back-to-back of the season (Record 3-0).
Game 4, Tuesday, November 6 versus Orlando Magic- Bulls get a home win over the Magic (Record 4-0).
Game 5, Thursday, November 8 versus Oklahoma City Thunder- Bulls fall to the Thunder and suffer their first loss (Record 4-1).
Game 7, Monday, November 12 versus Boston Celtics- Bulls win a defensive battle with the Celtics to close out a 4-1 homestand (Record 6-1).
Game 8, Wednesday, November 14 at Phoenix Suns- Bulls defeat the Suns at US Airways Center for the fourth straight time (Record 7-1).
Game 10, Sunday, November 18 at Portland Trail Blazers- Bulls beat the Trail Blazers in Portland for the first time since February 3, 2007 (Record 8-2).
Game 11, Wednesday, November 21 at Houston Rockets- Bulls fall to Omer Asik and the Rockets (Record 8-3).
Game 12, Saturday, November 24 at Milwaukee Bucks- Bulls end a disappointing 2-3 road trip with a loss to the Bucks (Record 8-4).
Game 13, Monday, November 26 versus Milwaukee Bucks- Bulls defeat the Bucks at the United Center for the fifth consecutive time (Record 9-4).
Game 14, Wednesday, November 28 versus Dallas Mavericks- Bulls drop a home game to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks (Record 9-5).
Game 15, Saturday, December 1 versus Philadelphia 76ers- Bulls lose a close game to the 76ers (Record 9-6).
Game 16, Tuesday, December 4 versus Indiana Pacers- Bulls fall to the Pacers and lose three games in a row for the first time since a ten-game skid back in the 2009-2010 season (Record 9-7).
Game 17, Wednesday, December 5 at Cleveland Cavaliers- Bulls drop the second half of a back-to-back to Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers (Record 9-8).
Game 18, Friday, December 7 at Detroit Pistons- Bulls defeat the Pistons for the 16th straight time (Record 10-8).
Game 19, Saturday, December 8 versus New York Knicks- Bulls play for the fourth time in five nights and fall to the Knicks (Record 10-9).
Game 20, Tuesday, December 11 versus Los Angeles Clippers- Bulls lose to the Clippers for the second time in less than a month (Record 10-10).
Game 21, Wednesday, December 12 at Philadelphia 76ers- Bulls drop below .500 with a loss to the 76ers (Record 10-11).
Game 22, Saturday, December 15 versus Brooklyn Nets- Bulls rebound with a home win over Deron Williams and the Nets (Record 11-11).
Game 23, Monday, December 17 at Memphis Grizzlies- Bulls drop a road game to the Grizzlies at the FedExForum (Record 11-12).
Game 24, Tuesday, December 18 versus Boston Celtics- Bulls play their third game in four nights and fall to the Celtics (Record 11-13).
Game 25, Friday, December 21 at New York Knicks- Bulls defeat Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks at Madison Square Garden (Record 12-13).
Game 26, Saturday, December 22 at Atlanta Hawks- Bulls get back to .500 with a road win over the new-look Hawks (Record 13-13).
Game 27, Tuesday, December 25 versus Houston Rockets- Bulls get a Christmas Day victory over Jeremy Lin and the Rockets (Record 14-13).
Game 28, Wednesday, December 26 at Indiana Pacers- Bulls drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Pacers (Record 14-14).
Game 29, Saturday, December 29 versus Washington Wizards- Bulls beat the Wizards to open a brief two-game homestand (Record 15-14).
Game 30, Monday, December 31 versus Charlotte Bobcats- Bulls close 2012 with a double-digit win over the Bobcats (Record 16-14).
Game 31, Wednesday, January 2 at Orlando Magic- Bulls get a road win over the Magic (Record 17-14).
Game 32, Friday, January 4 at Miami Heat- Bulls fall to the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena for the third straight time (Record 17-15).
Game 33, Monday, January 7 versus Cleveland Cavaliers- Bulls defeat the Cavaliers to avenge a December loss (Record 18-15).
Game 34, Wednesday, January 9 versus Milwaukee Bucks- Bulls close a brief two-game homestand with a victory over Brandon Jennings and the Bucks (Record 19-15).
Game 35, Friday, January 11 at New York Knicks- Bulls drop a road game to the Knicks (Record 19-16).
Game 36, Saturday, January 12 versus Phoenix Suns- Bulls defeat the Suns for the fifth consecutive time (Record 20-16).
Game 37, Monday, January 14 versus Atlanta Hawks- Bulls get a close win over the Hawks at the United Center (Record 21-16).
Game 39, Friday, January 18 at Boston Celtics- Bulls fall to the Celtics at the TD Garden (Record 22-17).
Game 40, Saturday, January 19 versus Memphis Grizzlies- Bulls play their third game in four nights and drop a home game to the Grizzlies (Record 22-18).
Game 41, Monday, January 21 versus Los Angeles Lakers- Bulls lose to the star-studded Lakers (Record 22-19).
Game 42, Wednesday, January 23 versus Detroit Pistons- Bulls rebound with a victory over the Pistons (Record 23-19).
Game 43, Friday, January 25 versus Golden State Warriors- Bulls defeat the Warriors and win the season series for the first time since the 2008-2009 season (Record 24-19).
Game 44, Saturday, January 26 at Washington Wizards- Bulls complete a successful back-to-back with a victory over John Wall and the Wizards (Record 25-19).
Game 45, Monday, January 28 versus Charlotte Bobcats- Bulls get a home win over the visiting Bobcats (Record 26-19).
Game 46, Wednesday, January 30 at Milwaukee Bucks- Bulls beat the Bucks and win the season series 3-1 (Record 27-19).
Game 47, Friday, February 1 at Brooklyn Nets- Bulls open February with a loss to the Nets (Record 27-20).
Game 48, Saturday, February 2 at Atlanta Hawks- Bulls lose to the Hawks in the second half of a back-to-back (Record 27-21).
Game 49, Thursday, February 7 at Denver Nuggets- Bulls defeat the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center for the first time since February 8, 2006 (Record 28-21).
Game 50, Friday, February 8 at Utah Jazz- Bulls close a disappointing 2-3 road trip with a loss to the Jazz (Record 28-22).
Game 51, Monday, February 11 versus San Antonio Spurs- Bulls drop a home game to the Spurs (Record 28-23).
Game 52, Wednesday, February 13 at Boston Celtics- Bulls fall to the Celtics and go into the All-Star break with a three-game losing streak (Record 28-24).
Game 53, Tuesday, February 19 at New Orleans Hornets- Bulls open the second half of the season with a victory over Anthony Davis and the Hornets (Record 29-24).
Game 54, Thursday, February 21 versus Miami Heat- Bulls fall to Dwyane Wade and the Heat (Record 29-25).
Game 55, Friday, February 22 at Charlotte Bobcats- Bulls get their 30th win of the season with a victory over the Bobcats (Record 30-25).
Game 56, Sunday, February 24 at Oklahoma City Thunder- Bulls lose to the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena (Record 30-26).
Game 57, Tuesday, February 26 versus Cleveland Cavaliers- Bulls open a three-game homestand with a victory over the Cavaliers (Record 31-26).
Game 58, Thursday, February 28 versus Philadelphia 76ers- Bulls close February with a victory over Andrew Bynum and the 76ers (Record 32-26).
Game 59, Saturday, March 2 versus Brooklyn Nets- Bulls drop a home game to the Nets in the first half of a back-to-back (Record 32-27).
Game 60, Sunday, March 3 at Indiana Pacers- Bulls fall to the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Record 32-28).
Game 61, Wednesday, March 6 at San Antonio Spurs- Bulls lose to the Spurs for the second time in less than a month (Record 32-29).
Game 62, Friday, March 8 versus Utah Jazz- Bulls defeat the Jazz and avenge a loss they suffered exactly one month earlier (Record 33-29).
Game 63, Sunday, March 10 at Los Angeles Lakers- Bulls drop a road game to the Lakers at the Staples Center (Record 33-30).
Game 64, Wednesday, March 13 at Sacramento Kings- Bulls beat the Kings for the sixth straight time (Record 34-30).
Game 65, Friday, March 15 at Golden State Warriors- Bulls close a 2-1 California road trip with a win over the Warriors (Record 35-30).
Game 66, Monday, March 18 versus Denver Nuggets- Bulls defeat the Nuggets (Record 36-30).
Game 67, Thursday, March 21 versus Portland Trail Blazers- Bulls beat the visiting Trail Blazers (Record 37-30).
Game 68, Saturday, March 23 versus Indiana Pacers- Bulls close a perfect 3-0 homestand with a victory over the Pacers (Record 38-30).
Game 69, Sunday, March 24 at Minnesota Timberwolves- Bulls get a road win over the Timberwolves at the Target Center (Record 39-30).
Game 70, Wednesday, March 27 versus Miami Heat- Bulls earn their 40th victory with a close home win over the Heat (Record 40-30).
Game 71, Saturday, March 30 at Dallas Mavericks- Bulls fall to the Mavericks at the American Airlines Center (Record 40-31).
Game 72, Sunday, March 31 versus Detroit Pistons- Bulls drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Pistons (Record 40-32).
Game 73, Tuesday, April 2 at Washington Wizards- Bulls rebound with a victory over the Wizards (Record 41-32).
Game 74, Thursday, April 4 at Brooklyn Nets- Bulls defeat the Nets and tie the season series at two games apiece (Record 42-32).
Game 75, Friday, April 5 versus Orlando Magic- Bulls play for the third time in four nights and fall to the Magic (Record 42-33).
Game 76, Sunday, April 7 at Detroit Pistons- Bulls get back on track with a road win over the Pistons (Record 43-33).
Game 77, Tuesday, April 9 versus Toronto Raptors- Bulls get a home win over the Raptors (Record 44-33).
Game 78, Thursday, April 11 versus New York Knicks- Bulls defeat the Knicks in the first half of a back-to-back (Record 45-33).
Game 79, Friday, April 12 at Toronto Raptors- Bulls play their third game in four nights and drop a road game to the Raptors (Record 45-34).
Game 80, Sunday, April 14 at Miami Heat- Bulls lose a Sunday matinee to the Heat (Record 45-35).
Game 81, Monday, April 15 at Orlando Magic- Bulls defeat the Magic at the Amway Center (Record 46-35).
Game 82, Wednesday, April 17 versus Washington Wizards- Bulls close the regular season with a victory over the Wizards (Record 47-35).
Prediction: Even though Derrick Rose will miss most of the season, the Chicago Bulls, behind a stellar defense, will remain relevant in the Eastern Conference and make their fifth consecutive playoff appearance.
Mark is a lifelong fan of the NBA who has loved the game of basketball ever since his first trip to an NBA arena. Mark has watched more basketball games than anyone can count and has hundreds of articles about the NBA published on the internet. Mark also shares his random NBA musings and game-by-game predictions on RandomNBAFan.com.
More 2012-2013 game-by-game predictions
- Sports & Recreation
- Chicago Bulls
- Chicago Bulls
- Boston Celtics
- Boston Celtics