The NBA officially released the 2011-2012 schedule on Tuesday and after the Bulls open the season on Christmas Day in Los Angeles, they will play in California in their following three games. The rest of the four-game road trip features games against the Warriors on Dec. 26, the Kings on Dec. 29 and back to the Staples Center to play former Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro's Clippers on Dec. 30.
The first home game of the season will take place New Year's Day, when the Bulls host the Grizzlies at the United Center. The team's lone back-to-back-to-back stretch of the abbreviated, 66-game regular-season schedule starts Jan. 9, when they host the Pistons, and ends Jan. 11 with a matchup against the Wizards, sandwiching a quick road trip to Minnesota in between.
Chicago's schedule features four games against Eastern Conference finals foe Miami -- the first game against the Heat is a Sunday afternoon affair in South Florida on Jan. 29, with home games on March 14 and April 12, and a final road contest on April 19 -- as well as a Martin Luther King Day matinee in Memphis on Jan. 16. Though the Bulls avoided their annual November circus trip, the first Heat game kicks off the Bulls' longest road swing of the season, a nine-game trip that also includes games at Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Milwaukee, New Jersey, New Orleans, Boston on Feb. 12.
Other notable games on the slate include an April 1 afternoon affair against Kevin Durant and the Thunder at Oklahoma City, another Sunday matinee on April 8 in New York (the Knicks will then travel to Chicago for an April 10 rematch), an April 21 home matchup against the Mavericks -- the sole contest against the defending champions this season -- and the regular-season finale, April 26, against the Cavaliers at the United Center. The Bulls' two preseason games will be against the Pacers, Dec. 16 in Indianapolis and Dec. 20 in Chicago.