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Bulls sweep the weekend, with Boston well within reach. What would #1 mean?

With two emphatic Boozer-less home victories over the weekend (neither of which I saw much of, though), and even with the Celtics victory on Sunday, the East's top seed looks more and more within reach for the Bulls.

But in reference to this fanpost specifically, and some other similar consternation I've seen elsewhere, it's important to remember during this pursuit that the #1 seed is it's for just that: a seeding. It doesn't 'mean' they're the best team in the conference, or that they need to give up their 'underdog' label, or that the expectations are any more raised, or any other non-essential narrative.

It's a fantastic achievement (and will help Rose and Thibs in their campaign for postseason honors), but not a validation as to how good a team they are. That will occur in the playoffs, for better or for worse.

Of most (and maybe only) importance is that a #1 seed is a tangible help for the postseason to come. The Bulls have proven to be much better in the United Center all season (exemplified over this weekend), and while road performance will likely be necessary as well, more home games are better.

It would also give perhaps the only real gimme 1st-round opponent in the conference, as while I'd expect the Bulls to handle anyone in the bottom half, the projected #8 seed is definitely a tier below even the Sixers, Knicks, or Hawks. That allows for less strain during the series, and more rest between them.

Looking beyond that gets a bit murkier: you could argue that a 2nd round matchup against Orlando (likely at #4) is more favorable than Boston or Miami (and furthermore, would mean the Bulls only have to beat one of those teams to get to the Finals), and I'm inclined to agree. But I don't think it's so much better of a matchup that it would drastically alter my confidence heading into these playoffs: The Bulls could beat any of those teams in a 7 game series, but could lose to any of them as well. Even with a 3-0 head-to-head matchup against the Heat, it tells me more that they're evenly matched than that the Bulls have proved they'll be better in close games.

I suppose that's an obvious and pointless 'prediction', and maybe I'm just bad at having strong opinions. But as good as the Bulls are playing now, there is likely nothing they can do in these final few weeks (including getting that top seed) that would raise my confidence beyond that level. But then again, I'd feel the same way even if they somehow dropped to that 4th seed. To me, their place is secure in that top level of the conference, but I can't see them being placed above it no matter what they do the rest of this regular season.

It's just a number. It helps with matchups, it helps with home court. It doesn't mean they're best (though it will be fun to say so) until they prove it in the playoffs. But if you buy that all 4 teams look fairly comparable, that then means every minor earned advantage is significant. The seed could very well matter, just not because it'd designate anyone a 'favorite'.