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 1, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
“I approach scoring like apple picking,” says Durant. “Keep the good ones and leave the rotten ones.”
Oct 1, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Jackson is out for the season due to injury, but will be getting a nice payday from Philadelphia nonetheless.
Oct 1, 2014, 12:06 AM EDT
New floor should be in place for the start of the 2014-15 season.
Sep 30, 2014, 10:51 PM EDT
Professional sports franchises are businesses above all else, and typically would rather avoid politics.
Sep 30, 2014, 9:44 PM EDT
Sep 30, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
Everyone wants to derail the 76ers’ plan
Sep 30, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT
I don’t know whether this helps Kentucky’s players. It opens Calipari’s options, though.
Sep 30, 2014, 6:28 PM EDT
Now we know what show promos TNT is going to beat us over the head with during the next playoffs.
Sep 30, 2014, 5:44 PM EDT
Expectations are reduced, but Miami still has the chance to be pretty a pretty good team — even without LeBron James.
Sep 30, 2014, 4:59 PM EDT
Sep 30, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT
John Wall fires back: ‘They haven’t seen a playoff game yet. When they make one they can start talking.’
Sep 30, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT
Thunder center has a new, um intense, loook
Sep 30, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT
Mike Miller being amnestied may have been the first domino to fall in LeBron bolting.
Sep 30, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT
Sep 30, 2014, 1:40 PM EDT
Is Melo even a superstar?
Sep 30, 2014, 12:59 PM EDT
LeBron could miss Cavaliers’ practice tonight
Sep 30, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT
The NBA is just more fun with Swaggy P in it.
Sep 30, 2014, 12:26 PM EDT
It does — at least Kobe’s
Sep 30, 2014, 11:40 AM EDT
Manning leads by detailed preparation and then an ability to read a defense, a good example for any point guard.
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- Kobe Bryant thinks he could physically play beyond contract extension 14
- Trey Burke, in wake of nude-photo scandal: ‘My judgments will be much better’ 11
- Report: Kevin Durant says he wants to play in 2016 Olympics (his free agent summer) 5
- Morris twins sign four-year extensions with Suns 11
- ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Washington Wizards 3
- Rockets’ Daryl Morey fires back at Mark Cuban: If you care about chemistry, why break up a title team? 36