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John Hollinger explains his (formula's) Bulls pessimism

A playoff-less future:

Currently, Chicago holds the No. 8 spot in the East and is tied with Toronto in the loss column for No 7; based on this information, you might conclude the Bulls are in great shape for a playoff run.

Not so fast. Chicago has played only 16 road games and has one of the league's worst road records at 3-13; only Indiana, New Jersey and Minnesota are worse. Not only do the Bulls still have 25 road games to go, they're the only team facing two negative evening-out trends at once. Chicago's average scoring margin of minus-3.7 per game is nowhere close to what we'd expect for a 16-20 team; the Bulls should be more like 12-24.

As a result, the Playoff Odds favor No. 9 New York to make up a game on the Bulls and bypass them for the final playoff spot, and projects Chicago's current neighbors in the standings, Toronto and Charlotte, to outdistance the Bulls by five game in the final table.

I still think they'll squeak in, what these projections can't account for are things like injury, or guys like Hinrich and Salmons overcoming terrible months to get more to their career norms. Granted, that assumes nobody else gets injured the rest of the year, which may not be reasonable.

We'll learn a lot in the upcoming road-heavy schedule, including a game in Boston tonight that, without Garnett and Wallace, is actually winnable. Sort of like the entertaining yet not-exactly-well-played playoff series where the Bulls also had a chance. The same series we'll probably hear a lot about (and in bloviating terms) tonight: the game's on TNT, and that's likely the last time their studio crew paid any attention the Bulls.