The Chicago Bulls face plenty of uncertainty heading into the off-season, but Las Vegas certainly likes their chances of coming back strong and into the playoffs.Bovada.lv released its odds for the 2013 NBA Championship, and the Bulls came in at 6:1 odds, behind only the reigning champion Miami Heat (11:4) and this year's runner-up Oklahoma City Thunder (5:1).Here is a complete list of odds for the 2013 title:TEAMODDSMiami Heat114Oklahoma City Thunder51Chicago Bulls61Los Angeles Lakers101San Antonio Spurs101Dallas Mavericks141Los Angeles Clippers181Indiana Pacers201Boston Celtics251Memphis Grizzlies251Orlando Magic301New York Knicks351Philadelphia 76ers401Atlanta Hawks501Houston Rockets501Portland Trail Blazers501Utah Jazz501Golden State Warriors751Milwaukee Bucks751Minnesota Timberwolves751Phoenix Suns751Brooklyn Nets1001Cleveland Cavaliers1001New Orleans Hornets1001Sacramento Kings1001Toronto Raptors1001Washington Wizards1001Charlotts Bobcats1001Detroit Pistons1001Do you agree with the Bulls' odds, depsite Derrick Rose and Luol Deng being expected to miss a portion of the season?
Niklas Hjalmarsson played for the Blackhawks for 10 years and won three Stanley Cups with the team so his return to the United Center was a big deal.
The defenseman, now with the Arizona Coyotes, made his return to Chicago in Thursday's game. The Blackhawks had a tribute video for him during the game and the crowd gave him a standing ovation after the video.
He was teary-eyed after getting the warm reception.
Hjalmarsson was traded by the Blackhawks to the Coyotes for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin after the 2016-17 season. He played against the Blackhawks on Oct. 21 and again on Feb. 12 last season, but both games were in Arizona.
Injuries limited Hjalmarsson to 48 games last season and he missed Arizona's only trip to the United Center last season, which came in December.
Watch the video above to see Hjalmarsson's tribute and reaction.
Here are five observations from the Bulls' season-opener loss to the Sixers on Thursday night.
1. How about that first quarter?
In what could wind up being the most exciting quarter all year, the Bulls began the year with a 41-point explosion. The Bulls shot 63 percent in the quarter, at one point scoring on an absurd 11 consecutive possessions. Bobby Portis scored 13 points and hit all five shots, while Zach LaVine added 15 of his own. The ball was moving, they played quickly and caught Philadelphia out of position at times and took care of the ball. The fun times didn't last, but it wound up being the highest scoring first quarter in a Bulls season opener. It was fun. The other three quarters? Well, the first quarter was fun.
2. The defense is as bad as we thought it was
Granted, Kris Dunn is far and away the Bulls' best defender and was out while attending the birth of his baby boy. But this was still about as bad a defensive performance as the Bulls could have had, even against an offensive juggernaut like the Sixers. Communication was off almost from the start, and they always looked two steps behind. The Sixers got just about anything they wanted in transition, meaning it was a moot point that they struggled from beyond the arc. From Jabari Parker to Zach LaVine, it wasn't pretty. They're going to struggle all year long. Dunn isn't going to make enough of a difference. Shoutout to Wendell Carter's block on Ben Simmons, the lone defensive highlight of the night
3. Bobby Portis' bet is off to a good start
Portis was guilty of an ugly defensive performance, as Dario Saric posted a monster line by out-hustling his counterpart much of the night. But offensively Portis continues to shine after a great preseason. Portis, now officially in a contract year, went for 20 points and 10 rebounds and added a steal, a block and three 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Without Lauri Markkanen he's the Bulls' No. 2 scorer behind LaVine. We'll add her, too, that LaVine continued to look smooth on offense. He had 29 points on 19 shots and had seven of the Bulls' 12 free throw attempts.
4. The backup point guard job is up for grabs
Cam Payne's leash is incredibly long. He's the best option for now once Kris Dunn eventually returns, but it's probably time for Ryan Arcidiacono and Tyler Ulis to get a look. Payne finished 0-for-4 with five assists and a turnover in 22 minutes. No one was expecting Payne to match Ben Simmons stat for stat (Simmons went for his third career-triple double in four games against the Bulls). But the ball routinely stopped when it got into Payne's hands, and he didn't seem to know where to go once he pushed in transition. His speed is a positive, but once he gets to his spot he struggled to make the right play. And he's a clear negative defensively. Arcidiacono and Ulis aren't exactly Gary Payton, but they deserve looks at some point in the near future. Arcidiacono had 8 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists in 28 minutes. That came against Philly's second unit, but he was decidely better.
5. Jabari Parker will want a do-over
Friday feels like forever ago. For all Portis did well to close the preseason, it was gone on Thursday. Parker's final line is a bit misleading because of the points he scored when the game was well out of reach. The truth was Parker's shot selection early was awful, and his defense was a real liability. It was the "cons" side of his scouting report played out on the court. There's still hope he can improve, of course, and Hoiberg will need to find the right combinations to make him successful. But we can probably rule out him at small forward if he's having trouble staying in front of power forwards.