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NBA Playoff Standings: Where The Bulls sit with 10 games left

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The Bulls are in a decent spot to make the playoffs...if you’re into that sort of thing

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls have just 10 games left and are currently in a battle for their playoff lives. They sit at a positively mediocre 34-38 on the year, but thanks to the yearly disaster that’s the Eastern Conference they’re not only just a game out of the No. 8 seed but 3.5 games behind the fifth-seeded Hawks:

Even with the Hawks free-falling and the Bucks and Pacers within arm’s reach, it still seems unlikely the Bulls catch any of those teams. The Bulls have a cozy close to the year and play both the Hawks and Bucks one more time, but they’ve already lost the tiebreaker against both those teams. The Pacers tiebreaker is still up for grabs and their schedule isn’t exactly a cinch, but the Bulls are still three back in the loss column there.

So it’s most likely that the Bulls will be fighting for the No. 8 seed with the Heat, Pistons and a Hornets team making its last gasp. The Heat have been surging for months now after their dreadful 11-30 start to the year, going 24-7 since that start. However, they just got smoked by the Raptors (after holding an early 15-point lead) and are dealing with some recent injury issues. That has them only a game ahead of the Bulls, who own the tiebreaker by virtue of a 2-1 season series win.

And the Heat’s closing schedule isn’t exactly easy:

The Pistons looked dead in the water against the Bulls (losing that tiebreaker in the process), and that embarrassing performance came after a loss to the lowly Nets. They’ve lost five of six games, with the only victory coming over a tanking Suns team. Stan Van Gundy just benched Reggie Jackson and is looking for answers. I wouldn’t bet on them turning things around, but they have an opening over the next week to make a move:

The Hornets have won three games in a row and close March with four home games out of five, but April is rough. The Bulls own this tiebreaker as well:

And finally we have the Bulls. They play the 76ers tonight, have one last #TNTBulls game against the Cavaliers and close the year with five games against four of the worst teams in the league:

Given the Bulls’ propensity to choke games away against bad teams, nothing is a given here. But it sure feels like they’re in line to nab that last playoff spot so Gar Forman can call this season a rousing success even if they get demolished in the first round. For what it’s worth Basketball-Reference gives the Heat a 50.4 percent chance of making the playoffs, while the Bulls come in at 48.5 percent. FiveThirtyEight has it 56% Bulls over 55% Heat. So basically a coin flip.

I’ve been leaning in the direction of wanting to miss the playoffs in order to get a shot in the lottery, although at this point it’s not like that lottery pick would be great. I’ve just been too frustrated by this season and have grown sick of watching this team. Apathy has mostly set in. I have the probably misguided hope that missing the playoffs would spur on some meaningful change, even if it’s not where we want it most (front office).

But if the Bulls do make the playoffs, I just hope it’s not another first-round series against LeBron. We’ve seen that song and dance too many times, and we know how it ends...badly. At least give us a series against the Celtics (just a game behind the Cavaliers) where Jimmy Butler puts a scare into his possible future employer. I could at least be entertained by making them squirm a bit, even if the ultimate result would probably be a loss.