With a new head coach, a new inside presence, and a new outside shooter the Chicago Bulls will win the LeBron James-less Central Division. Chicago tried-but was unable-to land James during the summer of 2010. Although they could not sign James the Bulls were still able to upgrade their roster while maintaining their core of Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, and Derrick Rose.
Chicago had enough cap space available to sign two top-notch free agents and did not have to wait for LeBron’s Decision before making some news of their own. First, the Bulls addressed their lack of a low-post scoring threat by signing Carlos Boozer via a sign-and-trade with the Utah Jazz. With James still available after Boozer’s signing the Bulls hoped that the addition of Boozer would be enough to lure James to Chicago. But James chose to join Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami instead.
After losing out on the LeBron James Sweepstakes the Bulls executed an effective Plan B. With Carlos Boozer signed Chicago addressed their weak outside shooting by signing Boozer’s Jazz teammate Kyle Korver. Next they added Ronnie Brewer (formerly of the Utah Jazz) to be the team’s premier perimeter defender.
With LeBron James in Miami the Central Division title is up for grabs. New Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau has the tools to get the job done.
Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2010-2011 Chicago Bulls:
Game 1, Wednesday, October 27th at Oklahoma City- Bulls drop their season opener to the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road (Record 0-1).
Game 2, Saturday, October 30th versus Pistons- Bulls defeat the Detroit Pistons at home and win their first matchup against a Central Division opponent (Record 1-1).
Game 3, Monday, November 1st versus Trail Blazers- Bulls win a close game over the Portland Trail Blazers (Record 2-1).
Game 4, Thursday, November 4th versus Knicks- Bulls complete a three-game home stand with a victory over the New York Knicks (Record 3-1).
Game 5, Friday, November 5th at Boston- Bulls make a trip to Boston and fall to the Celtics (Record 3-2).
Game 6, Monday, November 8th versus Nuggets- Bulls open a three-game home stand with an impressive win over the Denver Nuggets (Record 4-2).
Game 7, Thursday, November 11th versus Warriors- Bulls get a home win over the visiting Golden State Warriors (Record 5-2).
Game 8, Saturday, November 13th versus Wizards- Bulls lose to the Washington Wizards at the United Center and suffer their first home loss of the season (Record 5-3).
Game 9, Tuesday, November 16th at Houston- Bulls begin their annual Circus Trip with a loss to Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets (Record 5-4).
Game 10, Wednesday, November 17th at San Antonio- Bulls fall to the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center and drop the second half of a back-to-back (Record 5-5).
Game 11, Friday, November 19th at Dallas- Bulls lose to the Dallas Mavericks and drop all three legs of the Texas Triangle (Record 5-6).
Game 12, Tuesday, November 23rd at Los Angeles Lakers- Bulls lose a road game to the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers (Record 5-7).
Game 13, Wednesday, November 24th at Phoenix– Bulls allow the Phoenix Suns to control the pace and drop another road game (Record 5-8).
Game 14, Friday, November 26th at Denver- Bulls continue to struggle on the road and lose to the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center (Record 5-9).
Game 15, Saturday, November 27th at Sacramento- Bulls complete a brutal seven-game, 11- night road trip with a win over the Sacramento Kings (Record 6-9).
Game 16, Wednesday, December 1st versus Magic- Bulls begin December with a home loss to the Orlando Magic (Record 6-10).
Game 17, Friday, December 3rd at Boston- Bulls rebound with an impressive road win over the Celtics at the TD Garden (Record 7-10).
Game 18, Saturday, December 4th versus Rockets- Bulls fall to the Rockets and drop the second half of a back-to-back (Record 7-11).
Game 19, Monday, December 6th versus Thunder- Bulls lose a home game to the Oklahoma City Thunder and drop their fourth straight at the United Center (Record 7-12).
Game 20, Wednesday, December 8th at Cleveland- Bulls get back on track with a win over the LeBron James-less Cleveland Cavaliers (Record 8-12).
Game 21, Friday, December 10th versus Lakers- Bulls fall to the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth straight time (Record 8-13).
Game 22, Saturday, December 11th versus Timberwolves- Bulls win the second half of a back-to-back by defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves (Record 9-13).
Game 23, Monday, December 13th versus Pacers- Bulls close a 2-1 home stand with a victory over the Indiana Pacers (Record 10-13).
Game 24, Wednesday, December 15th at Toronto- Bulls defeat the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre (Record 11-13).
Game 25, Saturday, December 18th versus Clippers- Bulls beat the Los Angeles Clippers for their fourth win in a row (Record 12-13).
Game26, Tuesday, December 21st versus 76ers- Bulls climb back to .500 with a win over the Philadelphia 76ers (Record 13-13).
Game 27, Wednesday, December 22nd at Washington- Bulls visit the Nation’s Capital and fall to the Wizards in the back half of a back-to-back (Record 13-14).
Game 28, Saturday, December 25th at New York- Bulls get a win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden (Record 14-14).
Game 29, Sunday, December 26th at Detroit– Bulls close out a solid 2-1 road trip with their ninth straight win over the Pistons (Record 15-14).
Game 30, Tuesday, December 28th versus Bucks- Bulls start a four-game home stand with a win over Central Division rival Milwaukee Bucks (Record 16-14).
Game 31, Friday, December 31st versus Nets- Bulls close out 2010 with a victory over the visiting New Jersey Nets (Record 17-14).
Game 32, Saturday, January 1st versus Cavaliers- Bulls fall to the Cleveland Cavaliers and drop the second half of a back-to-back (Record 17-15).
Game 33, Tuesday, January 4th versus Raptors- Bulls rebound from the loss with a double-digit victory over the Toronto Raptors (Record 18-15).
Game 34, Wednesday, January 5th at New Jersey- Bulls fall to the Nets at the Prudential Center (Record 18-16).
Game 35, Friday, January 7th at Philadelphia- Bulls visit the City of Brotherly Love and come away with a victory over the 76ers (Record 19-16).
Game 36, Saturday, January 8th versus Celtics- Bulls defeat the Boston Celtics and win both halves of a back-to-back (Record 20-16).
Game 37, Monday, January 10th versus Pistons- Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons for the 10th straight time (Record 21-16).
Game 38, Wednesday, January 12th at Charlotte- Bulls lose a road game to the Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena (Record 21-17).
Game 39, Friday, January 14th at Indiana- Bulls get back on track with a win over the Pacers (Record 22-17).
Game 40, Saturday, January 15th versus Heat- Bulls drop a home game to the Miami Heat All-Star Trio (Record 22-18).
Game 41, Monday, January 17th at Memphis- Bulls get a road win over the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedExForum (Record 23-18).
Game 42, Tuesday, January 18th versus Bobcats- Bulls open a six-game home stand with a win over the Charlotte Bobcats (Record 24-18).
Game 43, Thursday, January 20th versus Mavericks- Bulls defeat the Dallas Mavericks and pick up their 25th win of the season (Record 25-18).
Game 44, Saturday, January 22nd versus Cavaliers- Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers and avenge their New Year’s Day loss (Record 26-18).
Game 45, Monday, January 24th versus Bucks- Bulls drop a close game to the Milwaukee Bucks (Record 26-19).
Game 46, Friday, January 28th versus Magic- Bulls are unable to contain Dwight Howard and lose a home game to the Orlando Magic (Record 26-20).
Game 47, Saturday, January 29th versus Pacers- Bulls close out a 4-2 home stand with a victory over the Indiana Pacers (Record 27-20).
Game 48, Wednesday, February 2nd at Los Angeles Clippers- Bulls open a five-game road trip with a victory over the Clippers (Record 28-20).
Game 49, Saturday, February 5th at Golden State- Bulls get their fourth straight road game with a victory over the Warriors (Record 29-20).
Game 50, Monday, February 7th at Portland- Bulls fall to the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden for the fourth straight time (Record 29-21).
Game 51, Wednesday, February 9th at Utah- Bulls lose to the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena and drop their second game to a Northwest Division opponent (Record 29-22).
Game 52, Saturday, February 12 at New Orleans- Bulls defeat the Hornets for the fifth straight time (Record 30-22).
Game 53, Tuesday, February 15th versus Bobcats- Bulls get a home win over the Charlotte Bobcats (Record 31-22).
Game 54, Thursday, February 17th versus Spurs- Bulls head into the All-Star Break with their third straight win over the San Antonio Spurs (Record 32-22).
Game 55, Wednesday, February 23rd at Toronto- Bulls drop a road game to the Raptors to open the second half of the season (Record 32-23).
Game 56, Thursday, February 24th versus Heat- Bulls lose a home game to the visiting Miami Heat (Record 32-24).
Game 57, Saturday, February 26th at Milwaukee- Bulls continue to struggle as they fall to the Bucks (Record 32-25).
Game 58, Monday, February 28th at Washington- Bulls close February with a much-needed win against John Wall and the Wizards (Record 33-25).
Game 59, Wednesday, March 2nd at Atlanta- Bulls get a road win over the Hawks (Record 34-25).
Game 60, Friday, March 4th at Orlando- Bulls fall to the Magic at the Amway Center (Record 34-26).
Game 61, Sunday, March 6th at Miami- Bulls close a disappointing 2-3 road trip with a loss to the Heat (Record 34-27).
Game 62, Monday, March 7th versus New Orleans- Bulls fall to the Hornets and drop the second half of a back-to-back (Record 34-28).
Game 63, Wednesday, March 9th at Charlotte- Bulls stop the slide with a road win over the Bobcats (Record 35-28).
Game 64, Friday, March 11th versus Hawks- Bulls open a brief three-game home stand with a win over the Atlanta Hawks (Record 36-28).
Game 65, Saturday, March 12th versus Jazz- Bulls defeat the Utah Jazz and get the second half of a back-to-back (Record 37-28).
Game 66, Tuesday, March 15th versus Wizards- Bulls defeat the Washington Wizards to complete a perfect 3-0 home stand (Record 38-28).
Game 67, Thursday, March 17th at New Jersey- Bulls get a road win over the Nets (Record 39-28).
Game 68, Friday, March 18th at Indiana- Bulls fall to the pesky Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse (Record 39-29).
Game 69, Monday, March 21st versus Kings- Bulls get their 40th win of the season with a home win over the Sacramento Kings (Record 40-29).
Game 70, Tuesday, March 22nd at Atlanta- Bulls get a road win over the Hawks at Philips Arena and sweep the season series 3-0 (Record 41-29).
Game 71, Friday, March 25th versus Grizzlies- Bulls drop a home game to the visiting Memphis Grizzlies (Record 41-30).
Game 72, Saturday, March 26th at Milwaukee- Bulls defeat the Bucks and tie the season series at two games apiece (Record 42-30).
Game 73, Monday, March 28th versus 76ers- Bulls get a home win over the Philadelphia 76ers and sweep the season series 3-0 (Record 43-30).
Game 74, Wednesday, March 30th at Minnesota- Bulls get a road win over the Timberwolves at the Target Center (Record 44-30).
Game 75, Friday, April 1st at Detroit- Bulls begin April with yet another win over the Pistons (Record 45-30).
Game 76, Saturday, April 2nd versus Raptors- Bulls beat the Toronto Raptors to win the second half of a back-to-back (Record 46-30).
Game77, Tuesday, April 5th versus Suns- Bulls drop a home game to the Phoenix Suns (Record 46-31).
Game 78, Thursday, April 7th versus Celtics- Bulls get an impressive win over the Boston Celtics and win the season series 3-1 (Record 47-31).
Game 79, Friday, April 8th at Cleveland- Bulls fall to the Cavaliers and drop the second half of a back-to-back (Record 47-32).
Game 80, Sunday, April 10th at Orlando- Bulls drop another game to the Magic (Record 47-33).
Game 81, Tuesday, April 12th at New York- Bulls defeat the Knicks and sweep the season series 3-0 (Record 48-33).
Game 82, Wednesday, April 13th versus Nets- Bulls finish the regular season with a home win over the New Jersey Nets (Record 49-33).
Prediction: The Chicago Bulls will win the Central Division title for the first time since Michael Jordan last wore jersey number 23 for Chicago.
More 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions:
Boston Celtics 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Los Angeles Lakers 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Dallas Mavericks 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Information from ESPN.com’s Chicago Bulls Schedule and NBAUniverse’s Chicago Bulls Records was used for this article.