The NBA officially released the schedule for the 2013-2014 season last week. The scheduled caused a lot of buzz as it was filled with countless headlines. However, you don’t have to look past the opening night of the season to find the game that has likely already been circled by Chicago Bulls players and fans alike.
The Bulls will begin their season on Oct. 29 in Miami against the defending champion Miami Heat. The Heat will be receiving their championship rings on this night, and American Airlines Arena will be rocking, but there is no 0ther way the Bulls would rather start their season than by crashing Miami’s party.
It is no secret that the Bulls and Heat have formed a competitive rivalry over the past few seasons. The bad blood between the two teams is likely a result of Miami eliminating Chicago from the playoffs two of the past three seasons. This rivalry was on full display during this past playoffs when the two teams met in the second round of what turned out to be one of the most physical and violent playoff series in recent memory.
The nasty play involved in this series was highlighted by Nazr Mohammad getting into a scuffle with LeBron James in the third game of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals, as he pushed James to the ground and was ejected for his actions. Nearly everyone watching the game in Chicago, including Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau believed James flopped and was not actually pushed to the ground. James’ “flopping” only added more fuel to the fire of what has turned into what many believe to be the NBA’s greatest current rivalry.
Another massive headline surrounding this season opener will be the highly anticipated return of former MVP Derrick Rose. Although many Bulls fans were hoping to see Rose return against Miami in last season’s playoffs, they will finally get to see the player once regarded as the best point guard in the NBA back in action after missing all of last year. There is no better opportunity for Rose to make a statement to the league that he is back and better than ever than in Miami on the night that they will be commemorating their championship season.
These two Eastern Conference giants will start the 2013-14 NBA season with a bang as they will renew their rivalry during the first game of the season. The two teams are scheduled to meet two other times throughout the course of the regular season, but I will be shocked if this rivalry does not roll over to the postseason. Chicago and Miami met in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011, and don’t be surprised if the two teams meet again in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. Although fans will have to wait until April for the playoffs to begin, they very well may get a sneak peek of the action on opening night when the Bulls and Heat face off in Miami.