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The 2020-21 Bulls are dead, but there are still 2 games left

Playing out the string

Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

The Bulls’ hopes of participating in the play-in tournament were officially extinguished on Friday night thanks to the Wizards’ 120-105 victory over the Cavaliers. The Wizards actually started Chandler Hutchison and got another big performance from Daniel Gafford off the bench, so that’s funny in a twisted way.

The Bulls failing to make the play-in after their big trade deadline moves is undoubtedly disappointing. My misguided optimism thought they had a good chance to make the play-in before the moves, and I definitely thought they were going to afterward. But for a variety of reasons, including unlucky ones (namely Zach LaVine’s positive COVID-19 test), they just weren’t able to string together enough wins to make up for the Wizards going on a hot streak to end the season.

The silver lining here is the Bulls can still get lucky in the lottery. Walking away from this season with a LaVine leap, Nikola Vucevic and a top-four pick would be a nice consolation prize. They’re currently sitting in the No. 8 lottery slot, which would give them a 26.3% chance to keep the pick and a 6.0% chance to get No. 1. The Pelicans and Kings are both 31-40, though, so these numbers could change as the season comes to a close.

Oh, yeah, there are still two games left, starting with Saturday’s matinee against a Nets team playing their Big Three for the first time in forever. The Bulls then close up shop at home against the Bucks on Sunday night. Let’s just hope there are no injuries and then we can hopefully look forward to this front office turning over more of the roster around their two All-Stars.

I’m going to have relatively high expectations going into next season, but let’s finish up this one first.