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.
Oct 25, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
Warriors hold (almost) all the leverage, because Thompson will be a restricted free agent next summer.
Oct 25, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
Oct 25, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT
Lineup data shows Green greatly improves his team’s chances when playing with the starters.
Oct 25, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
Is Stephenson ready for responsibility that comes with going from Pacers to Hornets?
Oct 25, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
No surprise, and Lakers fans feel the same way.
Oct 25, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
It might be because short of an insane offer of a max deal, Thompson would rather take his chances as a restricted free agent next summer.
Oct 25, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Nice job of McCallum to stay active on a play where he had already missed a shot.
Oct 25, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Will Thomas make Kings regret choosing Darren Collison over him?
Oct 25, 2014, 12:01 AM EDT
Thunder will be very short-handed the first month of the regular season.
Oct 24, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
It’s far from guaranteed that they will use it.
Oct 24, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
And it was probably the smartest possible play
Oct 24, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT
76ers forwent any guaranteed salary to hit free agency sooner
Oct 24, 2014, 8:20 PM EDT
Bucks point guard Nate Wolters makes heads-up play
Oct 24, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT
Can’t say I ever pictured that.
Oct 24, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT
This is a minor trade, even in Sam Hinkie’s world.
Oct 24, 2014, 5:31 PM EDT
Clippers owner affirms reputation
Byron Scott says Lakers may need to trade for point guard. For now, Ronnie Price starts, Jeremy Lin off bench.
Oct 24, 2014, 4:41 PM EDT
Expect the Lakers to try and trade for a point guard… no, not Rajon Rondo.
Oct 24, 2014, 3:50 PM EDT
Nash was everything we want as a fan in an NBA player.
Report: Tobias Harris won’t sign contract extension, would get Nike bonus by playing in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles
Oct 24, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT
Could forward leave the Magic in 2016?
Oct 24, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT
The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order. JaVale McGee played just five games last year after injuring his leg. How did we…
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