Previous ArticlesBen Gordon a Finalist for the NBA's Kennedy Award
Bulls Have Best Night of Week Not Playing
by Sam Smith
Posted on Apr 1
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or their Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
We’ve been through this with the White Sox a few times now in the last few years, and here we go again with the Bulls. You could say it’s different in basketball because 16 teams make the playoffs. But it’s the same in that an entire season’s work now can rest on a play or two, and there’s a heck of a lot of scoreboard watching.
After the downer of the Bulls last second loss in Indiana Tuesday, the Bulls got a huge break Wednesday when the Charlotte Bobcats blew a seemingly sure victory over the Boston Celtics and lost in double overtime in a heck of a game. It’s another of those, like with the Bulls the last few nights, the team may remember well into the summer.
That’s because the Bobcats, almost pulling off a rare back to back sweep of last year’s NBA finalists, were outscored 8-0 to finish regulation. Charlotte then blew leads in the terrific back and forth two overtimes that Ray Allen saved for the Bulls.
Go rent “He Got Game.” Maybe Allen still gets royalties.
Still, playing a game like the Bobcats did in Boston on the second of a back to back suggests the Bobcats are playing perhaps the best of the seventh and eighth place contenders and will be a factor the rest of the way.
Still, the Bulls moved 1.5 games ahead of the Bobcats. In addition, the Pistons lost badly in New Jersey and now are just a half game ahead of the Bulls. The Bobcats hold the tiebreaker over the Bulls while the Bulls lead the Pistons 2-1 with one game left. After head to head, division record is the next tiebreaker for the Bulls and Pistons with the Bulls now a half game better. Detroit leads Charlotte 2-1 with one game remaining, Sunday in Detroit. If those three teams are tied, the tiebreakers are better winning percentage in all the games among the teams and then winning percentage against teams in their own conference. If it comes down to the latter, the Bulls would be at a disadvantage with a stronger record this season against Western Conference teams.
Like the Bulls—at least on paper, as it’s said—the Pistons have a relatively easy schedule. But as the Bulls found out in recent losses to the Raptors and Pacers, there are no easy games when the pressure is on to win.
The Bulls remaining opponents have an average record of 33-42. The Pistons remaining opponents have an average record of 34-41. The Bobcats remaining opponents have an average record of 37-38.
The Bulls had off Wednesday, and it’s likely there won’t be much activity the rest of the week before the team hosts the Nets Saturday. Derrick Rose has wrist, back and hip problems and Kirk Hinrich added a twisted ankle to his gash above the eye against the Pacers. John Salmons probably won’t practice the rest of the week with a sore groin in hopes of being ready for Saturday and Tim Thomas still has back problems. It’s doubtful Luol Deng will return. The Bulls don’t have any back to backs left, which is a break. But they are thin and it’s likely with the seven and eight-player rotation, coach Vinny Del Negro will stick with that the rest of the way rather than try players who haven’t played much in weeks. So it’s going to be a grind.
And it looks like you’re going to have to watch that scoreboard for a few more weeks.