Easy open, tough finish and everything in between: Analyzing the Bulls' 2019-20 schedule

Mark Strotman
NBC Sports Chicago

The Bulls' 2019-20 schedule was announced on Monday afternoon, and there's surprisingly a lot to break down. We knew who their opponents would be (4 games against each division opponent, 4 games against 6 East teams, 3 games against 4 East teams, 2 games against all West teams) but the construction of the schedule allows for some analyzing.

Ironically, the easiest stretch of the season will be the start of it. The Bulls open with road games against Charlotte and Memphis, host the defending champions in their home opener, and then play the Knicks and Cavaliers. That's four of five games against some of the worst projected teams in the league to begin the season. They face a difficult stretch in November, witth home dates against the Lakers, Rockets, Nets and Bucks as part of a two-week span, but the early outlook for the Bulls should be positive given their opponents.

That early stretch of easier games will also include their longest home stand of the season. They play four in a row at the United Center multiple times, but November will be especially home-friendly. From Nov. 1 to Nov. 25, they'll play nine of 13 games in Chicago.

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The Bulls' longest road trip of the season will happen toward the end of the season, when they hit the road for five straight against Utah, Denver, Phoenix and both Los Angeles teams from March 30 to April 8 (they have a four-game trip in December and a pair of three-game trips as well).

That will also mark their most difficult stretch of the season: From March 20 until the end of the season on April 15, the Bulls will play 13 games. Eleven of those opponents are expected to make the postseason - in addition to the aforementioned five-game road trip, the Bulls will also play at San Antonio, at Houston, vs. Denver, vs. Philadelphia, vs. New York, vs. Brooklyn, vs. Orlando and at Boston in that span.

That could spell trouble if the Bulls are fighting for a playoff spot during the final month of the season.

An equally difficult stretch begins in late November and lasts all the way up until the week before Christmas. From Nov. 25 to Dec. 14, a span of 11 games, the Bulls will play seven playoff teams from a year ago, and two of the non-playoff teams (Sacramento and Miami) could certainly be in contention this season. Two of the games come against the Golden State Warriors, meaning the Bulls won't play against Klay Thompson (ACL) this season after he set an NBA record with 14 made 3-pointers against them a year ago.

The Bulls' lone nationally televised game will come against the 76ers on Jan. 17. It's three fewer national TV games than they got a year ago. Three days later, the Bulls will play the Milwaukee Bucks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Yes, that means the #TNTBulls streak is still intact. Also, the Bulls will go two weeks without a home game in February as the NBA prepares Chicago and the United Center for All-Star Weekend. The Bulls will play two road games leading up to the break, meaning they'll be away from the UC from Feb. 6 to Feb. 20. But after All-Star Weekend they'll get comfy in the UC, playing four straight out of the break.

The Bulls have 11 back-to-back sets: Oct. 25 and 26 at Memphis and against Toronto; Nov. 5 and 6 against the Lakers and at Atlanta; Nov. 22 and 23 against against Miami and at Charlotte; Dec. 8 and 9 at Miami and Toronto; Dec, 13 and 14 against Charlotte and the Clippers; Jan. 10 and Jan. 11 vs. Indiana and at Detroit; Jan. 24 and 25 against Sacramento and at Cleveland; Feb. 22 and 23 against Phoenix and Washington; March 14 and 15 at Miami and vs. Boston; March 20 and 21 at San Antonio and at Houston; April 7 and 8 against both Los Angeles teams.

Easy open, tough finish and everything in between: Analyzing the Bulls' 2019-20 schedule originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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