A Brief History Of Lebron Vs. The Bulls

With a potential first round matchup with Cleveland & Chicago looming, we look back at a seemingly one-sided rivalry between King James & the Bullies.

December 2009: Joakim & Lebron argue about The Cavaliers dancing

The perception of Lebron James has obviously shifted over the course of his career. One perception that seemed to loom around his first chapter in Cleveland was that he wasn’t quite “serious” enough. In this regular season game Joakim Noah seemed to feel the same, taking exception with Lebron and his teams dancing while they were up big. Watch the video above.

Playoffs 2010: Joakim asks “What’s So Good About Cleveland?”

Noah seems to be money for a good soundbite, and and his diss of the City of Cleveland after 2010 Game 2 loss is probably his most famous one.

Lebron after sealing the 2011 Eastern Conf. Finals

2011 Eastern Conference Finals: The Big 3 vanquishes the MVP Rose Bulls

For many Bulls fans (I being admittedly being one myself) the 2011 season provides memories of hope that may not be replicated anytime soon for the following reasons:

  • It featured third year point guard (Chicago born and raised!!!) Derrick Rose becoming arguably the best at his position in the league and earning an MVP award.
  • A first year head coach Tom Thibedeau who proved himself to be a strong defensive strategist based on the Bulls leading in most defensive categories that year.
  • A 62–10 record and most importantly a 3–0 head to head record versus the mighty Lebron led Big 3 Miami Heat in the regular season.

Alas, none of it mattered against the best team in the East for four years straight. Game 1 at the United Center was a blowout in favor of the Bulls, but the Heat reeled off four straight close wins to send the Bulls packing. The next year seemed poised for a rematch but Rose tore his ACL in the first round of the next years playoffs, sending the franchise into a spin that exists today.

Nate Robinson blocking Lebron’s shot in 2013 playoffs

2013 Playoffs: Nate Robinson shines, the Bulls show “heart”, but again fall to the King.

The 2012–2013 season was supposed to feature Rose’s return. Unfortunately Rose never played a minute that season. However, the Bulls still managed to get out of the first round thanks to tough defense and heroics from a former 3-time Slam Dunk Champion. They even stole another Game 1 against the Heat, but of course they were bounced in the same fashion as 2011.

Playoffs 2015: The Mother’s Day Dagger

In what seems like a spring tradition, the Bulls steal a Game 1 from Lebron, this time in his first year back with the Cavaliers. In probably the most hopeful season since 2011, the Bulls met Cleveland in the playoffs seemingly as the most capable team of knocking off King James and friends. Bulls fans even got to witness a game winner from Rose in the United Center in Game 3 that will last as a classic in Bulls playoff lore.

But alas, Lebron would respond with a game winner that following Sunday, and not a single game would be close again in the series. Game 6 in Chicago was a spanking, and the Bulls missed the playoffs the following season, with Rose, Pau Gasol, and Thibs all on different teams as of today. Though we saw another year of the team, Lebron’s buzzer beater seemingly shut the door on a chapter of Bulls history, and thus the hope of a contending team in the foreseeable future.

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