In the wake of the Bobby Portis Game, a look at the most notable 'revenge games' against the Bulls in the last 25 years

USA Today

In the wake of the Bobby Portis Game, a look at the most notable 'revenge games' against the Bulls in the last 25 years

The Bulls are a historic franchise that has employed many historic players that have put up many historic performances. Unfortunately, some of said players have made a habit of logging those performances after their time with the Bulls concluded and against their former team.

In sports, that act — the act of lighting up one’s former team, that is — is commonly referred to as having a ‘revenge game’. And, boy, the Bulls have seen their fair share of those, the most recent of which came Monday night when Bobby Portis ignited Madison Square Garden with a 28-point outing (11 in the fourth and the go-ahead three with 1:47 remaining) to lead an 18-point comeback win over the Bulls for the Knicks.

But you all have read enough about that. To compound the early-season angst swirling around the team, we decided to compile a list of the most notable ‘revenge games’ posted against the Bulls of the last 25 years, just in case you’re in the mood for a good ol’ fashioned hate read on the off-night:

Horace Grant, Orlando Magic — May 18, 1995

The line: 6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2-for-8 shooting

Not an impressive stat line, but a classic nonetheless. For those too young or intentionally amnestic to remember, the Magic ended the Bulls’ 1995 season in this game — Game 6 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals — at the United Center. And just after the final buzzer, Grant’s new teammates lifted the triumphant former Bull onto their shoulders and carried him off the floor.

Grant, whose departure from Chicago was highlighted by reports of a fractured relationship with Bulls brass, didn’t contribute significantly to the result of the game. But his defiant fist-pumping in the face of cascading boos certainly qualified as vengeful.

Michael Jordan, Washington Wizards — January 4, 2002

The line: 29 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 9-for-24 shooting

In Jordan’s first ever game against the Bulls, he not only put on a magnificent scoring display, he also pinned an earth-shattering chasedown block of Ron Mercer, recalling memories of past glory against the team he achieved that glory with. And, oh yeah, he recorded his 30,000th career point during the game — if the rest of that wasn’t enough for the 38-year-old. Cold-blooded stuff.

Eddy Curry, New York Knicks — January 8, 2008

The line: 29 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks, 11-for-14 shooting

The highest Game Score Curry ever recorded (26.5) came in this one — a 105-100 Knicks win in Chicago and a standout performance in the last productive season of the one-time Bulls prodigy’s career.

Joakim Noah, New York Knicks — November 4, 2016

The line: 16 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, 7-for-11 shooting

Things obviously went south for Noah pretty quickly after signing a bloated 4-year, $72 million contract with the Knicks in the infamous summer of 2016, but this game represented one of the lone bright spots of his time in New York. It was a vintage Jo stat line and it’s only fitting that it came in his first game back at the United Center. The Knicks won 117-104.

“I feel like I played really hard in this building for many years,” Noah said after the game, acknowledging the love Chicago fans showed him, even while sporting different colors. “It’s a special place to play basketball… So it feels good to get love from the city like that.”

Side note from this one: This game was also Derrick Rose’s first in Chicago as an adversary, and he posted a double-double (15 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds). More on him in a bit.

Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota Timberwolves — December 13, 2016

The line: 99-94 victory, 21-point comeback

Speaking of first-time returns to the UC, the Timberwolves erased a 21-point deficit to steal a road victory for their new coach in his return to Chicago. The T-Wolves had nine players see game action in this one — their starters (Rubio, LaVine, Wiggins, Dieng, Towns) averaged 38.6 minutes, their bench unit (Muhammed, Bjelica, Aldrich, Dunn) 11.5. *chef’s kiss*

Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves — February 9, 2018

The line: 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals

How 'bout them Timberbulls, huh? This dominant Jimmy Butler performance (in, incidentally enough, his first game back in Chicago) came in a losing effort, but him and Zach LaVine — the centerpiece of the package the Bulls got back for Butler — put on a show to remember. LaVine went head-to-head with the former Bulls franchise player, dropping 35 points and 5 rebounds of his own in a 114-113 upset victory. Nine months later, Butler forced his way out of Minnesota. 

Derrick Rose, Minnesota Timberwolves — December 26, 2018

The line: 24 points, 8 assists, 2 steals, 11-for-19 shooting

Nuff said.

Honorable Mentions:

  • (NBC Sports Chicago’s own!) Will Perdue, Spurs — Nov. 30, 1996: Career high 23 rebounds.

  • Omer Asik, Rockets — Dec. 25, 2012: 20 points and 18 rebounds in his return to the United Center. A Christmas miracle.

  • Jamal Crawford: Pick whichever you fancy. J-Crossover been that dude.

The Bulls (1-3) won’t face any former employees in the team’s matchup with the Cavaliers Wednesday night, but Derrick Rose and Tony Snell come to town this Friday. Fingers crossed I’m not spending my weekend updating this article.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Kemba Walker, Trae Young named All-Star starters in East backcourt

USA Today

Kemba Walker, Trae Young named All-Star starters in East backcourt

On Thursday, the NBA revealed the East and West starters for the 2020 All-Star game in Chicago. Take a look:

Bulls fans will be honed in on the East selections given Zach LaVine's absence, though his realistic chances of starting the game have been slim-to-none since the first month of the season. In the last round of fan voting returns, LaVine was sixth among Eastern Conference backcourt players. He finished there, as well:

LaVine will get a chance to slide into a reserve slot, but the East’s starting backcourt of Kemba Walker and Trae Young leaves a crowded field to contend with. Guards competing for the seven reserve spots include Ben Simmons, Khris Middleton, Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal, Malcolm Brogdon and Jaylen Brown. And that's without mentioning frontcourt favorites in Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum and Domantas Sabonis.

But a modicum of good news did come from this announcement for those stumping for LaVine: Kyrie Irving's omission from the starting lineup. Irving, who has only played 15 games this season, had been second in fan voting at the time of last returns. Had he snuck in with the starters, LaVine would have also had Walker or Young to compete with for a reserve spot, both of whom he matches up with unfavorably. One has to figure Irving's odds of being selected by coaches as a reserve aren't high.

The coaches' picks for reserves will be announced Jan. 30. If LaVine is shorted there, as well, there also remains the possibility of an injury replacement down the road, which, commissioner Adam Silver would select (this is probably LaVine's best shot to get in).

Once the final pool of players is decided, they'll be drafted by team captains Giannis Antetokoumpo and LeBron James on Feb. 6.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

A healthier Chandler Hutchison making impact in reserve role for Bulls

USA Today

A healthier Chandler Hutchison making impact in reserve role for Bulls

Just over two minutes after tipoff of a Nov. 27 road game versus the Warriors, Chandler Hutchison slammed into a screen and suffered a right shoulder contusion that sidelined him for almost six weeks.

Hutchison started that game, one of six opening nods he received with Otto Porter Jr. sidelined by a foot fracture.

Ten games into his return from that shoulder injury, Hutchison hasn’t started since. And he’s fine with that.

“No, I don’t wish I was starting,” Hutchison said following Thursday’s practice at Advocate Center. “It’s kind of funny: You kind of take some pride being a second-unit guy and coming in and maybe changing the impact of the game. Maybe if we start slow with that first unit then we look around and say, ‘Hey, let’s get these guys going.’ I don’t worry about it too much. I’m just happy I’m playing to be honest.”

Lately, Hutchison has played well. He’s showing signs of being the disruptive defender and player with positional size able to rebound and push the ball in transition.

Over his last five games, he’s averaging 7.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals in his reserve role. Overall, Hutchison owns averages of 6.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.9 steals.

“I just made a deal with myself that I was going to be aggressive and be the guy who got me. I believe that guy is pretty dang good and is going to be a pretty good player,” Hutchison said. “Everybody has been telling me go. Use my athleticism and my skill to finish at the basket to get to the rim. That has helped me.”

During Wednesday’s home victory over the Timberwolves, Hutchison pursued a loose ball into the stands. He banged his knee on a metal bar from the folding chair provided for courtside customers.

“It was probably one of those things where you probably should just let it go. I’m best when I’m not thinking and flying around trying to make plays. I’m going to play with energy and effort,” he said. “It felt like I got shot in the knee at first. But I was like, ‘I know if I lay down here too much longer, I’m coming out of the game.’ So I had to get up, suck it up and do what I can.”

Hutchison admitted his shoulder still isn’t 100 percent, adding that most any player is nursing some type of bump or bruise at this stage of the season.

When Hutchison originally suffered the shoulder injury, coach Jim Boylen pivoted to Kris Dunn as the new starter in a three-guard lineup alongside Zach LaVine and Tomas Satoransky that has stuck. But Hutchison has logged some closing minutes lately, including in a new-look smaller lineup that features him at power forward.

“I think it’s been working for us,” Hutchison said.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.