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.
Jul 29, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT
“I think someone who would watch this would think there is something wrong with me and something wrong with my friends.” — Chris Kaman
Jul 29, 2015, 8:47 PM EDT
Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are about to be finishing alley-oops from the best lob passer in the game.
Jul 29, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT
Manu Ginobili is a stud.
Jul 29, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT
Kerr says Luke Walton is a future head coach in the NBA.
Jul 29, 2015, 6:31 PM EDT
Toronto has shifted the roster to be more defensive, and be able to go smaller.
Jul 29, 2015, 5:21 PM EDT
Jimmy Kimmell is the best part.
Jul 29, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT
Rex Kalamian and Andy Greer also join Dwane Casey’s staff
Jul 29, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT
Enter Andrei Kirilenko to save the day?
Jul 29, 2015, 2:48 PM EDT
Will anyone claim him?
Jul 29, 2015, 2:03 PM EDT
Cavaliers star has avoided making a public decision
Jul 29, 2015, 1:04 PM EDT
If Brazil qualifies through FIBA Americas Championship, that could close door for another North/South American team from qualifying
Jul 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT
Lakers were in a bad place when Jackson first stepped away
Jul 29, 2015, 11:11 AM EDT
Brooklyn owner praises Adam Silver for filling in
Jul 29, 2015, 10:13 AM EDT
Cavaliers star also addresses his favorites – including place to play, rapper, and teammates
Jul 29, 2015, 9:26 AM EDT
He’ll likely compete with Aaron Harrison to make regular-season roster
Jul 29, 2015, 8:31 AM EDT
Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith head the list.
Jul 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Bounce passes are less effective in baseball.
Jul 29, 2015, 12:05 AM EDT
Cuban said presidential candidate is ‘probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time’
Jul 28, 2015, 11:09 PM EDT
Could former summer-league standout fill Golden State’s need for an off-the-bench shooter?
Jul 28, 2015, 10:11 PM EDT
Hint, hint, hint
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- Wisconsin State Assembly passes Bucks arena deal, clearing the way for Gov. Walker to sign 39
- Phil Jackson says Knicks wanted Goran Dragic at trade deadline. Because he’s such a triangle fit? 16
- Report: Cavaliers sign Matthew Dellavedova 10
- Heat trade Zoran Dragic, second-rounder to Celtics 11