So much for suspense. About a week ago, this game looked HUGE on the schedule. It would be billed as the “game of the season” for the Bulls. They’d be playing the team nipping at their heels in the playoff chase. MJ’s former organization versus his current organization. Alas, all we get is game #80 of the season, a mere tune-up for the playoffs. The OKC Thunder took care of all the drama for us last night as they defeated the Bobcats 84-81, thus ensuring the Bulls’ ticket to the postseason. So the question is which Bobcats team shows up tonight: the spoiler (though there isn’t much to spoil since it’s not as though they can somehow keep the Bulls out of the playoffs) or the team playing on the end of a back-to-back who just had its playoff heartbeat put to rest? Honestly, I think Charlotte has no chance in this game. What possible motivation can Larry Brown possibly give to this team at this point? They’ve climbed out of the depths of the Eastern Conference throughout the entire second half of the season to even get to this point, but that climb is over for them as they can’t possibly climb any higher in the standings. Plus, the way the Bulls have been playing at home, I don’t see the Trojan army coming in the UC and having a fighter’s chance.
All that being said, the Bulls can land anywhere between the 5th seed and the 8thseed. They currently sit 7th in a virtual tie with Detroit while only a game behind Philly, whose lost 4 in a row, and two games behind Miami, whose lost 2 in a row. Miami still has the Knicks (which is always a tough match-up for the Heat) and two playoff teams to play (ATL, DET), so they aren’t out of reach yet.
Philadelphia has two road games left, including the season finale @CLE, and a home date versus Boston. I’m guessing Boston is still playing hard to find their rhythm heading into the playoffs, and Cleveland could easily rest some players in that last game, but Philly could go 1-2 or even 0-3 and allow the Bulls to move up.
Detroit also has two road games left, including Indy and Miami. I feel as long as the Bulls take care of business on Monday @DET, they shouldn’t be jumping ahead of the home team.
As you all might’ve noticed, I enjoy coming up with useless little debates in the previews. They usually have no real bearing on the outcome of the games themselves, and my friends usually rag on me for getting into useless sports radio banter. Either way, my debate for these final 3 games is this: should VDN rest some guys now that their spot in the postseason is assured or should he stretch this already-thin rotation for the sake of “momentum” heading into the playoffs? I think many of you would say that whomever we play in the first round, we’d lose. That’s probably true, but at this point, why not just go for broke with this rotation and make sure to avoid playing the Cavs in the first round. Yes, I have changed my mind about who to play in Round 1. The Celtics seem vulnerable and the Magic’s shooting could go cold thus making them susceptible. What good would it do to break the rhythm this team has found? I say just keep steamrolling. Maybe this team goes in with some swagger, as TT’s comments suggest. Whatever. Keep it goin’!
GAMETIME: 7:30pm CST