CHICAGO – For most Bulls’ fans, the drama took place before they even tipped off the game at the United Center.
That’s when reports came out that the team had traded Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis to the Wizards for Otto Porter. Both players were spotted leaving the arena just before the game with the Pelicans tipped off, and provided the biggest story of the day for the Bulls as Thursday’s trade deadline draws closer.
So the game against New Orleans, who is still shopping star Anthony Davis, took a bit of a backseat as fans watched the short-handed Bulls try to end a bad streak: Eight-consecutive home losses.
But like most things this season for the team, it ended up going against them, and they tied a dubious franchise record.
Despite being out of the starting lineup with an ankle issue, Julius Randle came off the bench to spark the short-handed Pelicans by scoring a game-high 31 points in a 125-120 win over the Bulls.
It continues a dreadful stretch for the Bulls at the United Center in which they’ve lost nine-straight games, failing to win at home since December 21st against the Magic.
It ties the worst home losing streak for the Bulls in franchise history at either the current venue, Chicago Stadium, or the Amphitheater, per 670 The Score Bulls radio coordinator Jeff Mangurten. It ties another string of nine-straight defeats at the United Center that was set in March and April of 2002. So far the Bulls are 5-21 at home, two games worse than their road results this season (7-21).
With 15 games to go, the Bulls are currently in range of the worst home record for the team in an 82-game season with 41 games played at their home arena. The record they’re trying not to break is that of the 2000-2001 Bulls, who went 10-31 at the United Center that season.
In the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season, in which only 50 games were played and the Bulls were starting the post-dynasty era, the team won just eight of their 25 home games. In 1967-1968, their first year at Chicago Stadium, the Bulls went 11-22 in a 33-game home schedule, with the team playing 13 neutral site games.
Here are the worst seasons at home for the Bulls since playing at the United Center or Chicago Stadium in a full 82-game NBA season.
2000-2001 – 10-31
1999-2000 – 12-29
2001-2002 – 14-27
2003-2004 – 14-27
In order to best the worst record, they’d have to win six of their final 15 games at the United Center, starting with the Wizards on Saturday, which will feature both Parker and Portis suiting up for the visitors. Only one of those games comes against a team that has a worse record – the April 9th home finale against the 10-43 Knicks.
Yet that bit of futility is just one problem for the struggling Bulls who’ve faced nothing but roadblocks in their second year of rebuilding.