Bulls head to Miami for business trip


Oct 28

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The Bulls aren’t certain what they’ll be doing when the Miami Heat receive their championship rings and raise their 2013 title banner before Tuesday’s NBA season opener between the Bulls and Heat.

Though it would be hardly surprising if there’s some Black Eyed Peas lyrics making the rounds:

“Let’s get it started in here;

Let’s get it started in here.”

“It’s tough,” said Luol Deng of the general plan of the Bulls will return to their locker room after warmups to sit through the pregame activities. “You’ve got to go through the whole ceremony. It’s a great day for them. The fans are alive, the fans are excited. Mentally, you’ve just got to be ready. It takes forever for the game to start. You’ve just got to stay ready and stay locked in. I think you just have to find ways to stay loose. You don’t find yourself in that situation much. You get a few minutes to warm up when you come back. You’ve got to do a good job staying with your routine.”

Deng and the Bulls will take on the Heat in Miami Tuesday night at 7 p.m. CT on TNT.

Deng and the Bulls will take on the Heat in Miami Tuesday night at 7 p.m. CT on TNT.

Though it’s been just a month of preseason, it feels like more with the travel to South America, the anticipation and excitement of Derrick Rose’s return and the return to injuries with Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich.

And though Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau declined to disclose after Monday’s practice the plans for Noah and Hinrich, Deng acknowledged both were playing and Noah was starting.

And so it was time to really get it started as the team lifted off for 80-degree Miami with only their own icy cold stare.

“I think we’re all excited everyone is healthy,” said Deng. “To have our first five out there and get going.”

It’s basically something the Bulls haven’t seen since Rose’s injury 18 months ago. And with a nice bonus of Jimmy Butler at shooting guard to provide a young, aggressive athlete to enhance the defense and provide additional offense.

The Bulls aren’t a bombastic group, but you sense a quiet excitement about putting this group to the test, as complete a starting five as they’ve had in some time.

It’s dramatic to begin with Miami, and the national media is out in force with the most national reporters the Bulls have seen in a regular season game in more than a decade.

This is just the second time in franchise history the Bulls are playing the defending champion on opening night. The only other time was 2006 in Miami when the Bulls blew out the defending champion Heat 108-66.

The Bulls have obviously played six season starting games as defending champions. Their record in those openers is 4-2.

“That’s their ceremony,” said Rose. “It’s not ours. I’d say if we were getting our rings it would be a little bit of a distraction. But for us, we know that we’ve just got to stay focused, come together as a team and really take their first hit because they’re really going to be on charge.”

Just like it being a long season, it is a long game. The home crowd, even in relaxed Miami, tends to want to end the game in the first quarter. But the Bulls know, just as they do for the season, it’s a marathon and they feel they are ready.


“I’m looking forward to it, but I’m going to take it as any other game,” said Rose of madcap Tuesday. “It’s the first game. It’s the next game, of course, and we’re just trying to sharpen things up, play the same way and get our chemistry a little bit better.”

Sounded almost Thibsesque.

Thibodeau said there is no playing time restriction on Rose and didn’t think there would be on Noah. But Thibodeau said he’d more observe Noah regarding conditioning given he’s missed most of preseason with his groin strain. Kirk Hinrich seems recovered from his concussion and shoulder issue.

But Thibodeau isn’t skipping steps and not letting reporters push him to do so.

“You can’t talk about it,” Thibodeau said when asked about displacing Miami. “You have to do it. You have to put the work into it. There are 30 teams that are talking. I’m looking for the guys who are willing to commit to it. That involves a lot of work and sacrifice.”

But Rose said he and his teammates are excited and optimistic.

“No disrespect to any of my old teammates, but it seems like we’re way more focused this year,” Rose said. “I think we’re a different team than last year. Of course they learned how to win games without me. But I think we’re a totally different team where all the guys, they’re focused in. Everyone knows their role and I told you this team is totally opposite, where every guy comes in. Even the rookies, they’re acting like professionals when they come in. So for us, we have a great chance to contend for a title.”

Let’s get it started.

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