Apr 17, 2013, 11:47 PM EDT
There were still a couple of playoff positions in play on the final night of the regular season in the Eastern Conference, but the Bulls made sure that they ended up with the more advantageous first round matchup.
By taking care of the Wizards 95-92, Chicago locked up the five seed in the East, and a first round date with the Brooklyn Nets in a series which will begin on Saturday.
It wasn’t easy for the Bulls, however, and given the way their entire season has gone, it seemed fitting that they’d struggle in this one.
Chicago got out to a lead of as many as 21 points in the first quarter, before giving back just about all of it in the second and waiting until the game’s final few possessions to clinch the victory.
The win was meaningful for the Bulls, because it allowed them to avoid a much tougher first round matchup with the Pacers, who would have been the opponent had they fallen to sixth in the Eastern Conference standings.
The rest of the playoff matchups in the East are now official, as well.
The Heat will face the Bucks in the one-eight matchup, but we’ve known that for a few days now. The defending champs will open their title defense by hosting Game 1 on Sunday.
The Knicks will meet the Celtics in the postseason, which on paper may be the best and most intriguing first round matchup in the East.
New York will host Boston for Game 1 of their series at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday.
The Pacers will face the Hawks in the three-six matchup, and that series will open in Indiana on Sunday.
Chicago’s win ensures them a winnable matchup against the Nets in the four-five matchup, but they’ll open on the road in Brooklyn. The good news for the Bulls is that Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Marco Belinelli all returned for limited minutes in the season finale on Wednesday, which means they should be available to play without restrictions once the playoffs begin on Saturday.
Apr 19, 2014, 4:06 PM EDT
Playoff games are played in the halfcourt and the Nets owned that in Game 1.
Apr 19, 2014, 2:39 PM EDT
A rare and raw show of emotion from a team’s GM was caught on camera.
Nash to Nowitzki: ‘What would you do if you were me? Would you come back?’ Dirk: ‘I’m not sure, bro.’ (VIDEO)
Apr 19, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
Dirk Nowizki is brutally honest.
Apr 19, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
“Garnett and Pierce are so old the Raptor had to ask his dad about them.”
Apr 19, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Words continue to be exchanged between two teams that clearly don’t like each other.
Apr 19, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT
The owners are behind Silver’s effort to raise the age limit. Now there’s just the pesky matter of negotiating with the players’ union.
Apr 19, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
You can construct a scenario where the Pacers are in trouble… except they play the Hawks.
Apr 19, 2014, 2:15 AM EDT
Making your playoff preview reading convenient.
Apr 19, 2014, 1:54 AM EDT
Grizzlies’ guard will definitely be missed in the rotation.
Apr 19, 2014, 1:50 AM EDT
We may not see him on the sidelines of TNT games these playoffs.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:55 PM EDT
This should be the East’s most competitive first round matchup.
Apr 18, 2014, 10:31 PM EDT
How quickly can Miami flip the switch?
Apr 18, 2014, 9:16 PM EDT
Can the Pacers regain their early-season swagger now that the playoffs are here?
Apr 18, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT
Expect a fight by the end of Game 2.
Apr 18, 2014, 5:50 PM EDT
People shouldn’t sleep on the Raptors, particularly the Nets.
Apr 18, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT
Dallas has lost nine straight to San Antonio. Don’t expect that streak to stop now.
Apr 18, 2014, 4:19 PM EDT
All the draft lottery odds are here, so Lakers fans can look and see what that little run of wins to close out the season did to their odds.
Apr 18, 2014, 3:27 PM EDT
We look at all 8 first round series.
Apr 18, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT
Memphis’ grit and grind will make it hard on the Thunder.
Apr 18, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT
Rockets in 7
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