It’s still too early in the season to declare the Chicago Bulls in a free fall after going 1-5 on their annual “Circus Trip.” The Bulls showed their willingness to play hard, compete and try and win games shorthanded, but in the NBA, it’s hard to win when you’re constantly forced to play shorthanded.
Derrick Rose isn’t coming back this season and Jimmy Butler’s turf toe is going to keep him out a while longer. Meanwhile, the schedule just keeps getting tougher and the month of December is set up to be flat out brutal for the Bulls.
Beginning Monday night, Chicago will take on the Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Pelicans squad. Then on Thursday night, the Miami Heat pay a visit to the United Center for the first time this season.
From there, the Bulls will face the Detroit Pistons, the Milwaukee Bucks twice, the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers, the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day, the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and the aforementioned Raptors on New Years Eve.
Of those teams, four (Miami, Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City) have winning records, two (New Orleans, Memphis) are at least .500 and six of the Bulls' 15 games will be played on the road.
It’s safe to say December could be a make-or-break month for the team in terms of what the organization decides to do with the roster going forward. Given the way the team has struggled in the absence of Rose and Butler, and the shaking up of the rotation by Tom Thibodeau just to find a spark offensively, the team could very well come away with more losses than victories the last month of the year and end 2013 on an even lower note than it already is.