Bulls finally win; a look at the race for 8th

Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah returned (though Noah barely played), and the Bulls dominated the hapless 76ers.  It was a must win situation for the Bulls to remain in the playoff race.   They now sit two and a half games back.

Derrick was back and didn't miss a beat.   He was dominating prior to the injury and came back dominating again already.   What was particularly amazing was Derrick shot 4 of 6 from behind the three point line.  A healthy, dominant Derrick Rose will be necessary for the Bulls to make a run at the playoffs.

It was interesting to watch James Johnson as my fears of his play with Derrick Rose back came to fruition for at least this once game.  Johnson seemed uninvolved for most of his floor time off the ball.

It was nice to get a blow out on the other end for a change.

With the win, the Bulls maintained their playoff position.   Presently, the Bulls are 2.5 back from the Raptors (8th), 3 back from the Bobcats (7th), and 3.5 back from the Heat (6th).

Here's a look at the remaining schedules:

Chicago 32-37 Toronto 34-34 Charlotte 35-34 Miami 36-34
Houston @Minn @Washington @New Jersey
Miami Utah Minnesota @Chicago
New Jersey Denver Washington @Milwaukee
@Detroit @Miami Toronto Toronto
Phoenix @Charlotte Philly @Detroit
@Washington LA Clippers Milwaukee @indiana
Charlotte @Philly @Chicago @Minnesota
Milwaukee GS Atlanta Philly
Cleveland @Cleveland @New Orleans Detroit
@New Jersey Boston @Houston @New York
@Toronto @Atlanta Detroit @Philly
Boston Chicago @New Jersey Nets
@Charlotte @Detroit Chicago
New York

First, the tiebreaks:
Toronto > Chicago

Winner of Miami/Chicago's final game takes tie break (Chicago owns conference tiebreaker if they split the series which happens with a win)

Charlotte and the Bulls play twice and are presently split 1 and 1.   Either team wins the tie break with two wins, in the case of a split, it comes down to conference record which could go either way depending the path taken where they end up tied

The Bulls might have the toughest remaining schedule left though they do play a lot of their competitors.   They have two against Charlotte, one against Miami, and one against Toronto.  However, they only have four remaining games against the sisters of the poor.   On the other hand, they only play Phoenix, @Cleveland, and Boston for teams that are notably above average, and it's sketchy including Boston in that list these days.    If the Bulls can catch fire, only the road game against Cleveland looks incredibly daunting, but if they play poorly they could lose eight games too.

The Raptors are right there with the Bulls in terms of schedule, and may have it a bit rougher depending on your perspective.   They have two additional games against bad teams, but they play one additional game as well.   They have more road games than the Bulls which somewhat compensates for the slightly easier opponents, and they have five games against "good" opponents as well though they catch most of them at home (Utah, Denver, Boston, @Cleveland, @Atlanta).  

Charlotte has six games left against cellar dwellers, but they have two games left against the Bulls.   Their schedule is fairly light overall with Atlanta being the one really good team they have left.   They do have some middle of the road games, but it's a schedule they should perform well in, especially since it's home friendly.

Then we can just forget about Miami.   They have 36 wins, and they have nine games
left against absolutely atrocious teams.    While it's not technically
impossible the Bulls pass Miami, Miami certainly isn't going to be the
team in 8th who we're trying to pass at the end.

In terms of chasing the eighth spot, Charlotte and Toronto are both within reach still.   Toronto moreso due to the schedule and their recent level of play making them more likely to collapse.   Charlotte, because the Bulls play them twice and with two wins could narrow the gap to where they only need to outperform them by a single game the rest of the season (though given schedule's that'd be a challenge for the Bulls even if they got both head to head wins).

The best case scenario for the Bulls is to pass both teams of course, but the team we want out of the playoffs is Toronto as missing the playoffs will likely push Bosh out of town.   If the Bulls do sneak in, that also strikes me as the most likely scenario as well.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

Comments

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  • The Bulls have no shot without Noah at 100% and even then it will take Toronto continuing to tank as they have been.

    Unfortunately, Noah will either be limited for the rest of the season, or more likely will reinjure himslef the minute that he has to go all out for an entire game.

    I say Noah finishes the season in street clothes and the Bulls finish it by swapping picks with the Bucks. Start praying for that .005 chance of winning the lottery now.

  • the bulls definitely have the roughest road ahead with the fewest amount of "easy" games... we need derrick and joakim, and to a lesser extent luol to be competitive... even in the east... it doesn't look to promising, but i'm still holding onto some hope... stranger things have happened...

  • Toronto looks like the only team we can catch, but it's a pretty tough ask given we can't expect Deng back or more than spot minutes from Noah. Rose by himself is probably enough to take care of the 4 games against the teams that are tanking, but for the rest of the schedule it's hard to see where the wins will come from. I just don't see how we catch up the three wins on Toronto, they'd have to lose a bunch of games against scrub teams.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Although Houston, Miami and Charlotte at home are all doable. As well as winning in Toronto obviously being a must. I think we really need to win at least one of the next two to make it. I'd be surprised if we win even one of the other five (Phoenix, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Boston, @Charlotte).

    Got to hold out hope I guess (at least until the point where we start talking "mathematically possible", I draw the line at miracles).

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Playoffs? You talkin playoffs? As a season-ticket holder I'm just waiting for the summer free agent derby and the lottery.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Last I checked Miami, Charlotte and Toronto all have 34 losses, so just don't focus on the 8th spot. That being said, the Bulls need to virtually WIN-OUT in order to make the playoffs.

    I'll give them room for maybe 2 more losses, but that's it.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    No they need HEART and DESIRE and they need to MAN UP!!! Derrick Rose needs to MAN UP and average 30 ppg from here on out and we need some HEART and DESIRE out of Noah.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    MAN UP!!!!!!!

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    HEART & DESIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Gar needs to MAN UP and acquire E'TWAUN MOORE & NICK YOUNG!!!!!!!

  • In reply to izroca:

    I haven't heard about that ridiculous Nick Young rant in quite some time.

  • In reply to WearShades:

    The trade deadline is over, but I would still take Nick Young on the Bulls.

  • In reply to WearShades:

    If the Bulls win the rest of their games this month, I could see them tied in the loss column with Toronto and Miami.

    The Bulls just need to worry about WINNING and not Miami, Toronto and Charlotte losing.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Just because we are discussing big picture with Miami, Toronto and Charlotte doesn't mean they aren't taking it one game at a time.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    The Bulls can win all of their remaining games probably besides Cleveland if they get focused and play well. When we play the Celtics, its the 2nd to last game we have...the Celtics might even bench their guys.

    The Raptors and Bobcats are tied right now in the standings...the Bulls are still very much in it if they continue to come back and play well. Vinny bench Pargo PLEASE!!!

  • In reply to izroca:

    GO Purdue! :) They won today.

  • In reply to izroca:

    I think we have a really good shot at passing Toronto, a decent chance at passing charlotte, but Miami looks like a big stretch. I didn't realize how much we're still in it until I saw the schedules together, Thanks Doug.

  • In reply to izroca:

    Correct.

    Rose and Noah do need to MAN-UP. I couldn't have said it better myself.

    And as far as Nick Young and E'Twaun Moore go, I'd take both those guys right now over any of the shooting guards on the Bulls' bench.

    Pargo sucks and Brown doesn't play.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    We're laughing at you not with you.

  • If the Bulls were to get into the playoffs, more than likely they would not get out of the first round. Use the last games left to get ready for next year.

    Play Law, Murray, Warrick and Johnson big minutes. Sit the wounded and hope they will get physically better and stronger for next year.
    Gibson & Noah can lift while staying off their feet. Hopefully, Noah is not more "fragile" than Deng!

    Sit the pathetc Pargo and Hinrich, actually glue them to the bench. These two back ups are highly inconsistent!

  • bulls need to win at least 8 of the 13 games to have a shot

  • Minny is a bit much to hope for, I agree. It's a pity Toronto's road game against Detroit is right at the very end of the season when everyone is shamelessly tanking, if it was sooner you'd at least give Detroit a hope.

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