The Bulls aren’t in the business of hitting the West Coast and winning a bunch of basketball games. Nobody in the Eastern Conference is. It just doesn’t happen, at least not often. Put it this way: When the Nets completed a 5-0 swing out West last season, their fans and the media all but threw them a parade.
So, yeah, the Bulls got a five-game trip started Friday — with an all-too-rare national TV appearance — and caught the business end of Steph Curry’s wizardry and the Warriors’ overall excellence. It was a blowout, a mismatch, an unsightly display by the visitors. No surprise.
But most teams have problems, small ones and big ones. The Bulls, as pleasing as their play has been, certainly do. No Nikola Vucevic on this trip, for one. No Patrick Williams for months to come, such a bummer.
Problems? The Clippers, whom the Bulls visit Sunday, are — at best — pretend contenders without Kawhi Leonard, who might not be back on the court this season. The Lakers, whom the Bulls meet the following night, might be the most miserable bunch in the league. Can LeBron James stay healthy anymore? Will Russell Westbrook ever get it together? Is Anthony Davis just a big softy? Does this alleged Western Conference favorite lack heart?
Heading west is no excuse for getting your rear end kicked in. There’s absolutely no reason the Bulls can’t get a win — or two — in L.A. before moving on to Portland and Denver and, hopefully, not behaving as if those places are worlds apart from, say, Toronto and Boston.
Here’s what’s happening:
Seahawks at Packers (3:25 p.m., Ch. 2)
Back from injury: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. Back from you know darn well what: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. There is absolutely no truth to the rumor the Packers let Rodgers’ pal Joe Rogan script the team’s first 15 offensive plays.
NWSL semifinal: Red Stars at Portland (4:30 p.m., CBSSN)
Hurdles get no higher than this one on the home pitch of the best team in the league. The Red Stars remember all too well a 5-0 defeat at Providence Park in May.
Chiefs at Raiders (7:20 p.m., Ch. 5, Peacock)
Looking up at their biggest rivals in the AFC West standings? That’s a strange spot for the Chiefs to be in. KC goes for a 14th win in the last 17 meetings in this series.
Bulls at Clippers (8:30 p.m., NBCSCH)
Lately, the Clips of Paul George, Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum are proving to be a pretty tough out. The Bulls are just happy Curry isn’t in the building.
CBB: Illinois at Marquette (6 p.m., FS1)
Still no Kofi Cockburn — who’s serving the final game of a bogus three-game NCAA suspension — in this Gavitt Tipoff Games matchup of the Big Ten vs. the Big East. The Illini might as well bring home a “W” anyway.
Rams at 49ers (7:15 p.m., ESPN)
Let’s have our first look at newly acquired linebacker Von Miller and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in Rams uniforms, shall we? You might find this hard to believe, but first-year QB Matthew Stafford never had this kind of star power around him in Detroit.
Bulls at Lakers (9:30 p.m., NBCSCH, NBA)
Ultimately, it boils down to one question: Will there be more Alex Caruso Lakers jerseys or Alex Caruso Bulls jerseys in the house?
“Man in the Arena” (ESPN+)
It’s the premier of a nine-part documentary series about Tom Brady styled in the manner of “The Last Dance” and focusing mainly on his years in New England. It turns out Brady won a whole bunch of Super Bowls with the Patriots. Who knew?
Warriors at Nets (6:30 p.m., TNT)
Kevin Durant and the Nets are the betting favorites to win the NBA title. Curry and the Dubs have been the best team in the league so far. Strap in for a mighty good one.
CFB: Northern Illinois at Buffalo (6 p.m., ESPN2)
One more win and the surprising Huskies put the clamps on first place in the MAC West. Exciting, isn’t it? Oh, come on, like you have anything better to do on a Wednesday night than watch the clutchest football team in the state get after it.
Blackhawks at Kraken (9 p.m., TNT)
Those lovable screwballs in Seattle really went and named their team the Kraken, didn’t they? Man, it’s almost as fun to say that name as it is to chant “DEREK KI-ING” (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).
“Hard Knocks in Season: the Indianapolis Colts” (9 p.m., HBO)
This is a fun new idea, isn’t it? Peek behind the curtain at Carson Wentz, Jonathan Taylor and a bunch of other dudes who aren’t going to the playoffs.
MLB awards: MVP (5 p.m., MLB)
We’re going way out on a limb and projecting the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani as the American League winner. You heard it here first, folks.
Patriots at Falcons (7:20 p.m., Fox-32, NFL, Amazon)
It’s probably too soon for a documentary series on Pats rookie QB Mac Jones. Maybe Bill Belichick, though?
Bulls at Nuggets (8 p.m., NBCSCH)
Not to tell coach Billy Donovan how to do his job, but we recommend he instruct his players not to challenge Nikola Jokic’s brothers to a fight in the parking lot.
CFB: Purdue at Northwestern (11 a.m., BTN)
A football game at Wrigley Field? You’ve got to see one of these if you haven’t before. Cubs scouts can put away the radar guns when the Wildcats are on offense.
CFB: Illinois at Iowa (1 p.m., FS1)
What’s left of the Illini’s bowl hopes is on the line as coach Bret Bielema returns to his alma mater. The man has a Hawkeyes tattoo on his leg and everything.