Opening Tip: The Circus Trip begins

DENVER -- The Chicago Bulls come into Thursday night's game against the Denver Nuggets having won five straight contests. So it should come as no surprise they have come out west with a lot of confidence, even while they'll be without Jimmy Butler for the entire six-game Circus Trip.

"We've got good feelings that we're going to go out here and have a good trip," Bulls guard Derrick Rose said recently. "We're staying positive. Thank god we've been winning some games, so it's helped with our confidence and I think we're going to have a good trip."

That's exactly the outlook Tom Thibodeau wants his players to have. No matter which players might be in the lineup, the veteran coach believes his team has a great chance to win.

"We're not looking at it as a long road trip," Thibodeau said, "we're just looking at it as, 'get ready for Denver.' And that's why you want to establish a routine for preparation and you approach it the same way every game. So if you look at it that way and you prepare yourself the same way and you do the right things, the results will take care of themselves.

“We're just going to look at one game, get ourselves ready for Denver. We know how good they are, and we're going to have to be ready to go."

Bulls excited to face Nate: There is no doubt Nate Robinson enjoyed playing for the Bulls last season. The lifelong Michael Jordan fan repeatedly talked about how thrilled he was to be playing in Chicago. Now, as a member of the Nuggets, Robinson's former teammates know they have to do a good job of keeping him in check on Thursday night.

"He's a hell of a competitor," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "I know he's going to come ready to play against the Bulls. A great teammate. I wish him nothing but the best, just not [on Thursday]."

Noah knows the Bulls have to keep a close eye on the diminutive guard.

"If he gets hot, you got to get the ball out of his hands," Noah said. "He's proven that he can score. When he gets hot, it's something else, so we're going to have to do our best to slow him down."

The last word: Rose, on what kind of shows or movies he'll be watching during the trip.

"I don't know, I got to get my iTunes account ready, man. I got to at least find something to watch. I haven't been watching that much TV, so it's going to be pretty tough."