Bulls games to circle on 2021-22 regular-season schedule


The Chicago Bulls’ 2021-22 regular-season schedule is here.

With expectations, and excitement, high for the completely overhauled team, let’s take a look ahead to some matchups on the calendar worth circling.

(Find the full 82-game schedule here)

October 22, 2021 — vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Yes, the Bulls’ home opener (and second game of the season) will come against Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans. That’s quite a way for the reinvented Bulls to introduce themselves to what will surely be a frenzied United Center crowd.

It also offers revenge game potential for Lonzo Ball, who the Pelicans sign-and-traded to the Bulls in free agency despite owning his restricted rights. Expect nice applause for the returns of Tomáš Satoranský and Garrett Temple to Chicago as well.

November 8, 2021 — vs. Brooklyn Nets

The Bulls faced the Nets twice last season after the latter traded for James Harden, but never saw their “Big Three” at full strength. In an early-April Bulls win, only Kyrie Irving suited up out of the trio. In two Nets victories in May, Irving and Kevin Durant played. But never Harden.

If Durant, Harden and Irving are all available for this early-season matchup, it could make for entertaining theater against the Bulls’ freshly-assembled, high-powered offense built around Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević. Better yet, it’s another contest slated to take place in Chicago.

Other games vs. Nets: Dec. 4 (road); Jan. 22 (home)

November 12, 2021 — at Golden State Warriors

Speaking of star power: Days after the Nets matchup, the Bulls visit the Warriors, who will soon return Klay Thompson to a contention-ready core of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and others.

Thompson hasn’t appeared in a game since June 2019, when he tore his ACL during an NBA Finals game against the Raptors. After recovering from that injury, a torn Achilles during the run-up to the 2020-21 campaign cost him that season too.

If Thompson doesn’t return so soon after the start of the year, the Bulls also face the Warriors Jan. 14 in Chicago. Whenever he's back, Golden State figures to be one of the league's most intriguing teams.

November 15, 2021 — at Los Angeles Lakers

The hits keeping coming from there. On Nov. 15, the new-look Bulls face off against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers at the Staples Center. Another mid-November must-watch.

Plus, early-season matchups against the NBA’s elite will afford the Bulls an up-front barometer of where they stand and how far they still have to go to be the type of team they wish to be.

Other games vs. Lakers: Dec. 19 (home)

January 21, 2022 — at Milwaukee Bucks

Another opportunity for the Bulls to test themselves against the league’s best comes in late January against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the defending champs.

Before a reserve-laden win on the final night of the 2020-21 regular season, the Bulls had lost 12 consecutive games to the Bucks, tilting a rivalry long dominated by the former toward the latter. But with the Bulls’ talent level significantly upgraded, could the scales tip once again? This will be the first chance to find out.

Other games vs. Bucks: March 4 (home); March 22 (road); April 5 (home)

January 28, 2022 — at San Antonio Spurs

This will mark DeRozan’s first game back in San Antonio, where he spent three seasons before being sign-and-traded to the Bulls in August’s free-agency period.

Also, provided he sticks around with the Spurs, this will be the Bulls’ first matchup of the season against Thad Young. Young grew into a fan favorite during his two seasons in Chicago, but was included along with draft capital in the DeRozan deal.

Every game against the New York Knicks

Speaking of old rivalries kindling anew… 

The Bulls and Knicks figure to jockey for positioning in the Eastern Conference for much of this season. So, in addition to these teams sharing a memorable history, each of their matchups will likely have short-term playoff implications as well.

Add in the dynamic New York being coached by Tom Thibodeau, and still employing Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson, adds, and every contest between the Knicks and Bulls will be mandatory viewing.

Games vs. Knicks: Oct. 28 (home); Nov. 21 (home); Dec. 2 (road); March 28 (road)

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