You thought the UConn’s women’s basketball team had an impressive winning streak? Pfft, let me introduce you to the TNT Bulls. No, they’re not the Chicago Bulls. We all know what the Chicago Bulls are. Bad. However, the TNT Bulls play the best in the league and they beat the best in the league.
LeBron James owns the Bulls in the playoffs, but even he cowers when the TNT Bulls are on the schedule. They are elite. The best. They give fans confidence. Too much confidence.
The TNT Bulls are also the biggest tease in the NBA.
Jason Patt, managing editor for FanRag NBA and a contributor to BlogABull, started the TNTBulls hashtag a few years ago when he noticed a trend. The Bulls kept winning games on TNT.
If you were on social media at any point during Thursday night’s game when the Bulls hosted the Boston Celtics, then you already know about this true super team. The overall streak is incredible, winning 17 games in a row at home when the game is televised on TNT. Yet, during the last two years, this version of the Bulls and that streak has been even more ridiculous.
The last nine home wins on TNT have come against top teams from each respective conference.
— ✶ Sports Mockery ✶ (@sportsmockery) February 17, 2017
Star after star, the Bulls beat them all.
Did Jimmy Butler get fouled by Marcus Smart last night? It doesn’t matter because the Bulls had no business being in that game. But no, the TNT Bulls rise up to the competition and more often than not produce entertaining games.
We saw that again last night, when Butler was going head-to-head against Isaiah Thomas in the fourth quarter. That was wonderful. Butler rising to the challenge, defending Thomas and Thomas coming back beating Butler a few times. Ultimately, Butler won the duel, drawing a controversial foul in the last second of the game, leading to his two made free throws that kept the TNT Bulls’ winning streak alive.
In a vacuum, that game was awesome. You had big-name players, controversy and drama all the way to the end of the game. A lovely, exciting game, with a favorable result for the Bulls. Nothing more a Bulls fan could ask for.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 17, 2017
HELL YEAH! THE BULLS ARE BACK!
Then, you go back to reality. The 104-103 win brought the Bulls one game closer to being .500, as they enter the All-Star break with a 28-29 record. They’re going nowhere, destined for early exit in the playoffs, if they can hold on to a spot in a dreadful Eastern Conference. They’ve been stuck in mediocrity, which makes games like the one last night more frustrating.
It’s been the same story for years. Beat the elite teams, then shit the bed against average and bad teams. This TNT streak emphasizes that perfectly. Every so often the Bulls look like they can actually compete down the road in the postseason and the tease was bigger in previous seasons because most of the fan base knows better by now. That doesn’t mean some fans aren’t immune from the facade.
After each one of these “statement wins” during the last four years all the Bulls have accomplished by the end of the season is at best lose in the second round of the playoffs. Each time, a segment of the fan base fell for the tease and were left with blue balls.
The good thing is, this season the Bulls have made it easier to not fall for it. So, even after an exciting win over the Celtics, the overall joy is tamed.
Following the win, Butler was asked about the 17-game winning streak at home on TNT broadcasts and here’s how he responded.
Jimmy Butler isn't as excited about the #TNTBulls streak as all of us are: "Y'all come up with the dumbest statistics."
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) February 17, 2017
Sure, it’s a meaningless stat, but sadly that’s all Bulls fans have to talk about nowadays because the TNT Bulls are must-watch TV. That team cares. That team gives effort. That team makes fans happy.
Then, the schedule goes on, the TNT crew leaves Chicago and the Bulls revert back to what they really are, while keeping the illusion of greatness alive with some fans.
Here’s a summary of the Bulls winning streak at home on TNT.
- 2/16/17 Bulls win 104-103 over the Celtics. Boston entered the game, winning 11 out of their last 12 games. The Bulls had no Wade and were only 5-5 before beating the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference because of course.
- 12/8/16 Bulls win 95-91 over Spurs. SA had won 13 straight road games, entered game with an 18-4 record. Bulls were 11-10.
- 10/27/16 Bulls win 105-99 over Celtics. Opening game of the season with a bunch of players who don’t fit the coach’s system. Wade with the dagger. Raise hopes, classic Bulls.
- 12/10/15 Bulls win 83-80 over Clippers. LAC were 13-9 and had won six of their last seven games.
- 11/5/15 Bulls win 104-98 over Thunder. OKC loses 3rd in a row, Bulls improve to 4-2. Early season game, so not much of a tease.
- 10/27/15 Bulls win 97-85 over Cavs. Opening game of the season. Bulls love beating LeBron in the regular season.
- 3/5/15 Bulls win 108-105 over Thunder. OKC had won nine of their previous 11 games.
- 2/12/15 Bulls win 113-98 over Cavs. CLE was 14-1 in their previous 15 games. It didn’t go so well when they met in the playoffs.
- 1/22/15 Bulls win 104-81 over Spurs. Bulls were 2-6 in previous eight games, while Spurs had four-game winning streak and won 8-of-10 games.
- 12/25/14 Bulls win 113-93 over Lakers. Kobe didn’t play, LA sucked. Expected result.
- 12/18/14 Bulls win 103-97 over the Knicks.
- 3/13/14 Bulls win 111-87 over the Rockets. HOU was 15-3 in previous 18 games. Had a 44-20 record entering game vs. Bulls.
- 2/13/14 Bulls win 92-76 over the Nets. Brooklyn wasn’t the dog shit team they are now and actually made it to the second round of the playoffs this season. They had won 4-of-5 games entering their game against the Bulls.
- 12/5/13 Bulls win 107-87 over the Heat. Miami started the season 14-4, so of course the Bulls beat them by 20.
- 10/31/13 Bulls win 82-81 over the Knicks. Derrick Rose with the game-winner. Oh, the good times that ended three weeks later when he tore his right MCL.
- 4/11/13 Bulls win 118-111 over the Knicks. This win actually snapped New York’s 13-game winning streak. Pretty impressive for the Derrick Rose-less Bulls.
- 2/28/13 Bulls win 93-82 over the 76ers. And the streak begins. Joakim Noah with a ridiculous triple-double of 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocks.
The first couple wins dating back to the 2012-13 season were actually fine because at the time expectations were lowered, when Derrick Rose was recovering from his torn ACL. So, those games were all fans had. Regardless, the TNT Bulls are dangerous and have made some fans delusional about what the team can do when the postseason comes around.
Just watch, some fans will fall for the tease again in March, when the Bulls could possibly be higher in the standings and then look who comes to the United Center.
Watch out Warriors, the TNT Bulls are invincible.
Just a warning, don’t fall for it anymore.
See, I told you.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) March 3, 2017