Bulls' home opener will reunite Ball, Pelicans

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Bulls' Coby White, middle, tries to get past the screen set by Pelicans' Zion Williamson, left, for Lonzo Ball during a 2021 game. The NBA announced the 2021-22 schedule on Friday. The Bulls will open Oct. 20 at Detroit, then face New Orleans, Ball's former team, for the home opener Oct. 22.

    Bulls' Coby White, middle, tries to get past the screen set by Pelicans' Zion Williamson, left, for Lonzo Ball during a 2021 game. The NBA announced the 2021-22 schedule on Friday. The Bulls will open Oct. 20 at Detroit, then face New Orleans, Ball's former team, for the home opener Oct. 22. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/20/2021 6:17 PM

The Bulls will have an eventful opening week to the 2021-22 season.

Two of the first three games are against the Detroit Pistons and No. 1 overall draft pick Cade Cunningham, including the season opener Oct. 20 in Detroit.

 

The Bulls' opener at the United Center is against New Orleans, Lonzo Ball's former team, Oct. 22. That should also be an early return for ex-Bulls Tomas Satoransky and Garrett Temple.

The Bulls' second road game Oct. 25 will be a return to Toronto for new addition DeMar DeRozan. He's played in Toronto twice since being traded to the Spurs in 2018, but remains the Raptors' all-time leader in points and games played.

Here are some other highlights from the Bulls' upcoming schedule, which was released Friday:

• There's a lot of star power visiting the United Center early. The list includes New York with Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose on both Oct. 28 and Nov. 21; Utah, the team with the NBA's best record last season, on Oct. 30; Philadelphia with Joel Embiid on Nov. 6; Brooklyn's Big Three on Nov. 8; and Dallas with Luka Doncic on Nov. 10.

• The TNT streak remains in hibernation. The Bulls were given just one appearance on TNT this season and that's a Martin Luther King Day matinee in Memphis on Jan. 17.

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The Bulls won an inexplicable 20 straight games when playing at home for a Thursday TNT game. But since choosing to rebuild, they haven't hosted a TNT game since beating Cleveland on Mar. 30, 2017 and nothing will change this season.

• The Bulls are schedule to appear on ESPN four times -- at Golden State on Nov. 12, home against Brooklyn on Jan. 12, at Charlotte for a Ball brothers matchup on Feb. 9 and home against Milwaukee on Mar. 4.

• Technically, the circus trip is no more, but the Bulls are heading out West for five games in mid-November. The trip includes games against Golden State, the Clippers, Lakers. Portland and Denver. The United Center is hosting two Genesis shows and Trevor Noah that week.

The Bulls also have a five-game trip (Milwaukee, Orlando, Atlanta, OKC, San Antonio) in late January, when they used to do the annual ice show trek. There is no ice show scheduled that week for the UC, however.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks don't visit the UC until late in the season, on Mar. 4 and Apr. 5. The Bulls won't see the Bucks until a Jan. 21 trip to Fiserv Forum.

• The Lakers, with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and now Russell Westbrook, will make their only trip to Chicago on Dec. 19 for a Sunday afternoon game.

• There's a road-heavy stretch in March that could be trouble. The Bulls will play 10 of 12 away from home between Mar. 7 and Mar. 29. The United Center is scheduled to host the Midwest Regional finals in the men's NCAA Tournament in late March.

• After the long road stretch, the Bulls will play five straight at home before closing the season at Minnesota on Sun., Apr. 10. The longest homestand of the season is six games from Feb. 11-26, spanning the all-star break.

@McGrawDHSports

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