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  New-look Bulls seek fresh beginning

New-look Bulls seek fresh beginning

Published : Oct 28, 2016, 1:36 am IST
Updated : Oct 28, 2016, 1:36 am IST

Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives into Gerald Henderson of the Philadelphia 76ers during their NBA match on Wednesday. (Photo: AFP)

Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives into Gerald Henderson of the Philadelphia 76ers during their NBA match on Wednesday. (Photo: AFP)

Chicago, Illinois, is a happening place, politically. US president Barack Obama cut his political teeth as an Illinois senator before he won the most powerful executive post in the world. Hillary Clinton, most likely the country’s next president, was born in Chicago. In basketball, however, the city has been unremarkable in recent times with the Bulls failing to reach the play-off for the first time last season since 2008.

 

Chastened, Chicago Bulls have assembled a new-look roster with eight fresh faces for the 2016-17 season. Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah have all bolted the Bulls stable while veteran free agents, Dwayne Wade and Ranjon Rondo, have come on board. Youthful Jimmy Butler, a two-time All-Star, will be Chicago’s pivotal player in an unpredictable season.

Chicago host Boston Celtics, the most successful franchise in the NBA with 17 titles, at the United Center on Thursday. Although the regular season is rather long with 82 matches for each team, the Bulls will look for a positive start in their quest for a play-off place in the competitive Eastern Conference.

 

The six titles Chicago won in the 90s in two three peats when Michael Jordan was the reigning god of the city is now a distant memory. Maybe the Bulls have to take inspiration from Chicago Cubs who have reached the baseball World Series final for the first time since 1945. For the record, the Cubs’ third match against Cleveland Indians will be played here on Friday with the Series tied at 1-1.

Wade has three championship rings but, at 34, he has his best years behind him. But his decision to come home after leaving Miami Heat has reinvigorated the franchise.

Followed by a couple of injury-plagued years, Wade started 73 matches in 2015-16. His scoring average of 19 wasn’t bad either. Rondo, who topped the assists charts with 11.7 in the previous season, will be hoping to steady the rocky Bulls ship along with Wade. Above all, Butler has to serve something special this season.

 

Results: Miami Heat 108 bt Orlando Magic 96 (HT: 27-26); Dallas Mavericks 121 lost to Indiana Pacers 130 (HT: 31-26); Brooklyn Nets 117 lost to Boston Celtics 122 (HT: 27-31); Detroit Pistons 91 lost to Toronto Raptors 109 (HT: 23-25); Charlotte Hornets 107 bt Milwaukee Bucks 96 (HT: 24-17); Minnesota Timberwolves 98 lost to Memphis Grizzlies 102 (HT: 27-21); Denver Nuggets 1-7 bt New Orleans Pelicans 102 (HT: 30-24): Oklahoma City Thunder 103 bt Philadelphia 76ers 97 (HT: 28-27); Sacramento Kings 113 bt Phoenix Suns 94 (HT: 27-19); Houston Rockets 114 lost to LA Lakers 120 (HT: 33-25)

Location: United States, Illinois, Chicago