Raptors fall to Celtics; Bulls 1/2 game back

The Boshless Raptors fell to the struggling Boston Celtics allowing the Bulls to pull within a half game of them for the final playoff spot.   The Raptors play Atlanta on Friday where Joe Johnson may make his return to the court after missing some time with a sprained thumb. 
The Bulls square off against the Cavaliers at home on Thursday and have a back to back with New Jersey on the road the next day.  

Let's assume for the sake of argument that Toronto loses their game, and the Bulls split their pair of games.   Then the teams would face off with tied records of 38-41.   If the Bulls were to win their magic number would be two with two games left to play while the Raptors would have a magic number of only one with two games left to play if they won.

On top of that, the schedule appears to be considerably in the Raptors favor as they finish up the season against the Knicks and Pistons while the Bulls play the Bobcats and Celtics.   How hard will their opponents play?   Who knows.   The Pistons may need to lose a game to get more lotto balls while the Knicks have nothing to play for, but nothing to lose for either, so they may play hard.

The Celtics are presently a half game behind Atlanta, but they lose the tiebreaker, so there's a good chance their playoff position will be locked prior to the start of the game, and you have to believe an aging Celtics team is going to start resting guys as soon as their playoff seed is locked. 

The Bobcats are highly likely to be locked into their spot for the finale, so it will just depend what they decide to do in their last game.   While I doubt they want to get anyone hurt, they aren't a team that the coaching staff needs to protect for a 16+ game playoff run, so they may play out the finale at full strength to stay sharp or may opt to rest players.

If it were prediction time, I'd say both Bulls opponents are resting players down the stretch while Detroit is trying to lose to Toronto to secure lottery balls, and the Knicks play as hard as they can which may or may not make a difference anyway.   Look for both teams to have an excellent chance to finish with two wins, with the Bulls having the much tougher schedule only if their opponents show up.

Of course, either team could gum up the works with an unexpected win or loss in the games leading up to the showdown.

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  • The Raptors also lost Turkoglu to injury. But I bet Da Bulls are going to mess up this opportunity. I foresee the Bulls messing this up with losses to the Cavaliers, Celtics and Raptors. The Raptors are still going to hang on to the eight spot I fear :(

  • THIS JUST IN:

    Chris Bosh is out for the rest of the regular season.

    http://realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/65836/20100407/bosh_will_miss_rest_of_regular_season/

  • Like I have said before, I do want the Bulls to make the playoffs but this team is lacking heart and focus and these other teams are playing playoff basketball. I look for Cleveland TO beat them just because of the somewhat bad blood that these two teams have between each other from the LBJ dancing incident,I look for N.J. to brat them cause they have too much confidence playing the Bulls and they already have the worst record secure so they are playing the role of spoiler and for next year. I look for Toronto to beat the Bulls cause they can and the Bulls don't have the offense to keep up with them. They don't want to play team defense and lastly... no heart. So after Sun. they're season will be over meaning that when they play Boston at home, now that game they will maybe win although I don't look for the Celtics to roll over for just because of the playoff series from last year so let me retract my statement about them winning cause based on how they have no desire to get into the playoffs and the Celtics want to go to the playoffs on a winning note, I say the Celtics when that game also. I am sorry for being so negative about this team but this is what they have shown us the fans that they don't have the desire to win.

  • Bulls win tonight.
    You're welcome.

  • The bulls have let me down way too many times this year, I find it hard to beleive that all of a sudden we're going to show up and beat Cleveland and Boston. Plus Toronto has had the bulls numbers for years. I see the bulls losing 3 more games before its all over.

  • They are too inconsistent to win. They probably might win today against Cleveland and then have a tough game against the Nets.
    The main thing is as Vinny says they cannot afford to take it easy and have to play a complete 48 min with focus. They do not have the offense to make up 10/15 point deficits.

  • schaumburgfan said it best above...they probably might win....that's what this Bulls team has done to it's fans this year. Toronto losing Bosh and Turkoglu should give us the edge which is why the Bulls will most likely tank it like they did vs. MIL the other night. Hopefully they pull it together after that last pathetic loss. That MIL game had Doug arguing with people over who sucked more instead of us celebrating that we pulled closer to TOR. Tho I'd argue that the Bulls certainly dont deserve to make it to the playoffs I still want DRose and the boys to get more playoff experience....even if its an all out beat down. It'll give them some fuel for some serious off season work outs. Noah and Taj both need to hit the weights hard and as we saw Tuesday Rose has a ways to go yet...

  • Bulls do not deserve to be in the playoffs this year.

    They have just been terrible, the coach and the team. One night they will dominate and then the next night we will lose to the Nets or lose a 35 point lead against the Kings.But with the current situation we are in now, theres no way we shouldnt make the playoffs. Bosh is done. Theres a good chance Toronto could lose out. Bulls DEFF. need to beat them head to head. We will see if the Bulls really want to make the playoffs or not.

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