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Breaking down the Bulls' 2011-12 schedule

The Bulls feel their team chemistry will work their advantage during condensed season. | Getty Images

The Bulls feel their team chemistry will work to their advantage during the condensed season. | Getty Images

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Do you think the NBA's condensed schedule will work to the Bulls' advantage?





2011-12 SCHEDULE

Sun. Dec. 25 at L.A. Lakers 4:00 PM

Mon. Dec. 26 at Golden State 9:30 PM

Thu. Dec. 29 at Sacramento 9:00 PM

Fri. Dec. 30 at L.A. Clippers 9:30 PM

Sun. Jan. 1 Memphis 7:00 PM

Tue. Jan. 3 Atlanta 7:00 PM

Wed. Jan. 4 at Detroit 6:30 PM

Fri. Jan. 6 at Orlando 7:00 PM

Sat. Jan. 7 at Atlanta 6:00 PM

Mon. Jan. 9 Detroit 7:00 PM

Tue. Jan. 10 at Minnesota 7:00 PM

Wed. Jan. 11 Washington 7:00 PM

Fri. Jan. 13 at Boston 7:00 PM

Sat. Jan. 14 Toronto 7:00 PM

Mon. Jan. 16 at Memphis 12:00 PM

Tue. Jan. 17 Phoenix 7:00 PM

Fri. Jan. 20 at Cleveland 6:30 PM

Sat. Jan. 21 Charlotte 7:00 PM

Mon. Jan. 23 New Jersey 7:00 PM

Wed. Jan. 25 Indiana 7:00 PM

Fri. Jan. 27 Milwaukee 7:00 PM

Sun. Jan. 29 at Miami 2:30 PM

Mon. Jan. 30 at Washington 6:00 PM

Wed. Feb. 1 at Philadelphia 6:00 PM

Thu. Feb. 2 at New York 7:00 PM

Sat. Feb. 4 at Milwaukee 7:30 PM

Mon. Feb. 6 at New Jersey 6:30 PM

Wed. Feb. 8 at New Orleans 7:00 PM

Fri. Feb. 10 at Charlotte 6:00 PM

Sun. Feb. 12 at Boston 2:30 PM

Tue. Feb. 14 Sacramento 7:00 PM

Thu. Feb. 16 Boston 7:00 PM

Sat. Feb. 18 New Jersey 3:00 PM

Mon. Feb. 20 Atlanta 3:00 PM

Wed. Feb. 22 Milwaukee 7:00 PM

Tue. Feb. 28 New Orleans 7:00 PM

Wed. Feb. 29 at San Antonio 8:00 PM

Fri. Mar. 2 at Cleveland 6:30 PM

Sun. Mar. 4 at Philadelphia 6:00 PM

Mon. Mar. 5 Indiana 7:00 PM

Wed. Mar. 7 at Milwaukee 7:00 PM

Thu. Mar. 8 Orlando 7:00 PM

Sat. Mar. 10 Utah 7:00 PM

Mon. Mar. 12 New York 7:00 PM

Wed. Mar. 14 Miami 7:00 PM

Fri. Mar. 16 Portland 7:00 PM

Sat. Mar. 17 Philadelphia 7:00 PM

Mon. Mar. 19 at Orlando 7:00 PM

Wed. Mar. 21 at Toronto 6:00 PM

Sat. Mar. 24 Toronto 7:00 PM

Mon. Mar. 26 Denver 7:00 PM

Wed. Mar. 28 at Atlanta 6:30 PM

Fri. Mar. 30 Detroit 7:00 PM

Sun. Apr. 1 at Oklahoma City 12:00 PM

Mon. Apr. 2 Houston 7:00 PM

Thu. Apr. 5 Boston 8:30 PM

Sun. Apr. 8 at New York 12:00 PM

Tue. Apr. 10 New York 8:30 PM

Thu. Apr. 12 Miami 7:00 PM

Sun. Apr. 15 at Detroit 5:00 PM

Mon. Apr. 16 Washington 7:00 PM

Wed. Apr. 18 at Charlotte 6:00 PM

Thu. Apr. 19 at Miami 7:00 PM

Sat. Apr. 21 Dallas 7:00 PM

Wed. Apr. 25 at Indiana 6:00 PM

Thu. Apr. 26 Cleveland 7:00 PM

Updated: May 9, 2012 10:05AM



Some may doubt the Bulls ability to lead the NBA in wins for the second straight season or to overcome the star-studded Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but there’s no underestimating their belief in themselves.

Suggest how youth, continuity and chemistry should give the Bulls an advantage during a lockout-condensed season and center Joakim Noah will tell you they don’t need one.

“Whether it’s a 66-game season or an 82-game season or a 90-game season we’re a pretty confident group,” Noah said. “We’re confident in our abilities, confident in what we can do as a team.”

The Bulls got their first official look at a condensed schedule that has them opening at the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day. It’s daunting, to say the least, although perhaps less so than for teams with less talent, youth and cohesion.

The season-opening matchup against the Lakers is the first leg of a four-game road trip and one of 26 nationally-televised Bulls games, according to the official NBA schedule, which was released Tuesday night.

The Bulls will open their home schedule against the Grizzlies on New Year’s Day.

“It will be different,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters last week. “Each and every year, you’re faced with new and different challenges, and this will be a new challenge for us, and it’ll be how quickly we can respond to it, and hopefully we can get a chance to see what kind of shape that everybody’s in and then, you’ve got to move forward quickly.”

The Bulls’ 66-game schedule features four games against the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season. The defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat come to Chicago on March 14 and April 12. The defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks visit the United Center on April 21.

On Jan. 9-11, the Bulls will play back-to-back-to-back games against the Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves and Washington Wizards during a grueling stretch that will see Thibodeau’s team play seven games in nine nights.

“I know it’s going to be tough,” first-round draft pick Jimmy Butler said Tuesday. “I haven’t played this many games in my life. That’s for sure.”

The Bulls will play two preseason games against the Indiana Pacers, at 6 p.m. Dec. 16 in Indianapolis and at 7 p.m. Dec. 20 at the United Center.

Thibodeau’s experience as Jeff Van Gundy’s assistant with the New York Knicks during the 1998-99 lockout tells him he has to maximize his time in meetings, practices and shootarounds to ensure his team is rested.

“Your concentration level has to be extremely high because the one thing is when you’re looking at a number of back-to-backs and things like that, your practice time is very limited, so you have to make the most of that time,” he said. “It also affects your rest because if you play back-to-back, that next day, you may look at it as a practice day, but maybe now you’ll be taking that day off.”



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