Previous ArticlesBulls continue late season climb; move to 3rd in East
Miami becomes a potential early Bulls playoff opponent
by Sam Smith
Posted on Apr 12
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The Bulls game in New York Sunday suddenly, and surprisingly, became, at least in theory, a lot easier.
Though it may make the playoffs a bit more difficult.
That’s because the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night defeated the Miami Heat 98-85. And Dwyane Wade played this time. The Atlanta victory eliminated the Knicks from the playoffs with the Hawks clinching the eighth spot.
That means, according to what the Knicks have said, Carmelo Anthony’s season—and perhaps Knicks career as he is a free agent—is over. That’s because the Knicks reportedly planned to sit out Anthony for the rest of the season once they were eliminated from the playoffs because of a shoulder injury. Thus Anthony likely will not play against the Bulls Sunday night.
But with the loss, the Heat fall into a tie for the Eastern Conference lead with Indiana. The Pacers, however, own the tiebreaker by virtue of a better conference record. If the Pacers can win out, which won’t be easy with a Sunday home game against the Thunder, the Pacers would take the No. 1 seed in the conference.
That would mean the Pacers opening the playoffs against the Hawks to play the winner of the Toronto/Brooklyn series, the Nos. 4 and 5 seeded teams.
The Bulls currently are a game ahead of Toronto for the No. 3 seed, which for now would mean an opening series with Washington with the winner to play the Miami/Charlotte winner.
Playing against the Knicks without Anthony would presumably make it an easier potential victory for the Bulls. Then the Bulls would have Orlando at home Monday and in Charlotte Wednesday to close the season. Should the Bulls win out they would clinch the third seed.
If the Pacers win out against Oklahoma City and Orlando, they would clinch the No. 1 seed and put Miami in the bracket with the Nos. 3 and 6 seeded teams, which now include the Bulls.
So, no, you can never figure the last few weeks of the NBA season.
Stay tuned. It’s not over.