The Bulls have established an odd, but longstanding streak: they’ve won every regular-season home game played on a Thursday TNT special since 2013. And they’ve taken down all formidable opponents while establishing this super-specific dominance in a talented league.
Chicago found themselves down 10 at halftime against the Cavaliers on Thursday and it looked as if the TNT Bulls streak may finally come to an end. But thanks to 28 points from Nikola Mirotic and another 25 points from Jimmy Butler, the streak lives. It was a strong second half for the Bulls, as they went on a 15-2 run late in the third quarter that would put them ahead of the Cavaliers for good. That gave Chicago 20 straight wins on TNT Thursday night games.
Through this impressive stretch, the Bulls transitioned from a roster built around Derrick Rose to a team re-tooled around Rose and emerging Jimmy Butler. Now, the streak lives on with Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo as Butler’s veteran supporting cast.
Let’s take a quick look at each of the Bulls’ home wins on TNT during this remarkable streak:
Feb. 28, 2013 vs. Philadelphia: 92-83
Remember when Joakim Noah was good? This was a reminder of the kind of player he once was.
April 11, 2013 vs. New York: 118-111
Nate Robinson scored 35 points off the Bulls’ bench, and Jimmy Butler added another 22 in Chicago’s streak-starting win over the Knicks in 2013. The win snapped New York’s 13-game winning streak.
Oct. 31, 2013 vs. New York: 82-81
Joakim Noah grabbed 15 boards and dished out five assists, and Derrick Rose hit a floater with 5.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give Chicago a one-point win over New York.
Dec. 5, 2013 vs. Miami: 107-87
Carlos Boozer scored 27 points, Luol Deng added 20, and Taj Gibson put up 19 off the bench in win over LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
Feb. 13, 2014 vs. Brooklyn: 92-76
Five Bulls players scored 14 or more points, and only one Nets player scored more than 13 in Chicago’s show of defensive excellence.
March 13, 2014 vs. Rockets: 111-87
Mike Dunleavy led the Bulls with 21 points and four threes, and Kirk Hinrich added 19 points in win over Houston.
Dec. 18, 2014 vs. Knicks: 103-97
Butler torched Carmelo Anthony-less Knicks for 35, and Pau Gasol added 20 in win over Knicks. Aaron Brooks and Nikola Mirotic combined for 31 off the bench.
Dec. 25, 2014 vs. Lakers: 113-93
Butler, Gasol, and Rose each scored 20 or more points, and the Bulls beat the Lakers by 20 on Christmas.
Jan. 22 2015 vs. Spurs: 104-81
Brooks scored 15 off the bench and Rose put up 22 points in Chicago’s blowout win over the Spurs.
Feb. 12, 2015 vs. Cleveland: 113-98
Rose scored 30 points on 12-for-24 shooting to power the Bulls to a win over LeBron and Kyrie.
March 5, 2015 vs. Oklahoma City: 108-105
Chicago put up 36 fourth-quarter points and outscored the Thunder 9-2 in the final 66 seconds, while an E’Twaun Moore triple with 2.1 seconds remaining was the dagger for the Bulls’ win.
Oct. 27, 2015 vs. Cleveland: 97-95
LeBron James put up 25 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists with President Barack Obama watching. But Obama’s hometown Bulls held off the Cavaliers with five players scoring in double figures, led by Mirotic’s 19 points and nine rebounds.
Nov. 5, 2015 vs. Oklahoma City: 104-98
Rose torched OKC for 29 points, and Butler chimed in with 26. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 53 points but didn’t have enough help to come away with the win.
Dec. 10, 2015 vs. Clippers: 83-80
Gasol carried Chicago with 24 points and two blocks. The Bulls’ defense held the Clippers offense to just 80 points.
Jan. 7, 2016 vs. Celtics: 101-92
Gasol put up 17 points and 18 rebounds, leading Bulls to win over Boston.
Oct. 27 vs. Boston: 105-99
Hometown hero Dwyane Wade hit a clutch step-back three in his Bulls debut, leading to a throat-slashing gesture he later regretted. He and Butler combine for 46 points as Chicago got first win of the season.
Dec. 8 vs. San Antonio: 98-91
The entire Bulls’ starting five scores in double-digits led by Wade’s 20 points, as Chicago rakes in 16th TNT Thursday night win.
Feb. 16 vs. Boston: 104-103
It seemed the like the streak might be over, but a controversial foul on Boston with 0.9 seconds left gave the Bulls one more chance and Butler gave them the win.
Mar. 2 vs. Golden State: 94-87
Going up against the Western Conference’s top team would be daunting for any team, but still the Bulls came out on top. The game was close throughout three quarters but Chicago pulled away with a few minutes left in the fourth. Maybe there is something special going on here.
Mar. 30 vs Cleveland: 99-93
The Cavaliers dominated the first half but it was all Chicago in the second half. Nikola Mirotic hit six three-pointers and finished with 28 points while Jimmy Butler finished with 25 of their own. The Bulls were down by 11 in the second half but the TNT Bulls found a way, like they always do.