When Is the Last Time the Chicago Bulls Won a Playoff Series?

We publish independently audited information that meets our strong editorial guidelines. Be aware we may earn a commission if you purchase anything via links on our pages.
Bulls guard Zach LaVine takes the court.

The Chicago Bulls rebuilt their roster, and it’s paid off. For the first time since the 2016-17 season, the Bulls earned a postseason berth. With DeMar DeRozan leading the way, the Bulls finished the regular season 46-36, despite losing four of their last five games.

Chicago earned the No. 6 seed and a date with the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. It’s a tough matchup, but it’s a step up from where they’ve been the last few years. Although they did reach the playoffs in that 2016-17 season, the Boston Celtics bounced them in the first round. When was the last time the Bulls won a playoff series?

The Chicago Bulls have their hands full against the Milwaukee Bucks

When Is the Last Time the Chicago Bulls Won a Playoff Series?
Bulls guard Zach LaVine takes the court in the first half at the United Center on Jan. 30, 2022. | Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images.

The Bulls suffered a blow when newly-acquired point guard Lonzo Ball was lost for the season with a knee injury. Despite his absence, the Bulls nearly pulled off the upset in Game 1.

The Bulls also shot poorly for the game (32.3%) but somehow managed to hold a one-point lead with less than six minutes to play. What hurt the Bulls was the tough start to the game.

The Bucks jumped out to a 9-0 lead early, eventually ballooning the lead to 16 points. Chicago’s poor shooting made things difficult to grab a lead and maintain it.

“We’ve had conversations all week about just staying together,” DeRozan said, per The Chicago Tribune. “There’s going to be parts of the game where it’s going to get hectic, they’re going to hit some shots, the crowd’s going to get into it and we’ve got to pull together. We’ve got to stay the same.

“We were prepared for it. It sucked that it happened in the first couple minutes of the game, but we were ready for it and buckled down after that.”

Center Nikola Vucevic knows a good start is key for the Bulls.

“It’s going to be a very long series if we keep getting down and trying to dig out of a hole,” Vucevic said. “We have to start games better, but we saw what we need to do to play with them.”

When is the last time the Chicago Bulls won a playoff series?

Game 1 was the first time the Bulls played a postseason game in five years. Back in 2017, the Bulls squared off against the Celtics and actually won the first two games on the road.

The favored Celtics took control after getting punched in the mouth. Boston went to Chicago and won the next two games handily. They returned home for Game 5 and won 108-97. The Celtics made it four straight by holding the Bulls to 83 points in Game 6, winning 105-86.

The Bulls missed the playoffs the year before that but earned a first-round meeting with the Bucks during the 2014-15 season. With homecourt advantage, Chicago won the first two at home and then earned a 113-106 win in Milwaukee to claim a 3-0 series lead.

The Bucks didn’t go down fighting, claiming the next two games and heading back to Milwaukee for a pivotal Game 6. The Bulls were all business from the get-go, jumping out to a 34-16 lead after the first quarter and taking a 63-33 lead into halftime. Chicago cruised to a 120-66 victory. That was the last time the Bulls won a playoff series, as they went on to lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games.

The Bulls will need to clean things up in order to win another series

It’s going to take a much better shooting night for the Bulls to hang with the Bucks and pull off the upset. The good news is they hung tough despite the shooting woes.

DeRozan, who shot 6-for-25, insists that won’t happen again.

“Every shot I took felt good. I guarantee me or Zach (LaVine) or Vooch (center Nikola Vučević) aren’t going to miss that many shots again,” he said after Game 1. “Most of the shots I took were wide open. Wide open. No way in hell I shoot 6 for 25 again.”

LaVine said the Bulls had too many wasted chances in the opener.

“I thought we did a good job with us shooting this way and defending the way we did, keeping the game going,” he said. “We had a lot of missed opportunities.”

RELATED: How Much Are the Milwaukee Bucks Worth?