Chase for the #1 seed, all magic numbers and tiebreak scenarios

Chase for the #1 seed, all magic numbers and tiebreak scenarios

With 10 games to play, the Bulls magic number to win the #1 seed in the playoffs is nine, but it could drop to eight if Chicago wins the tiebreaker. They play Miami twice, and a win in either of those games would reduce the number by two making them critical to lock up seeding.

The obvious

If Chicago were to win both against Miami this thing is all but over with Chicago owning the tiebreaker outright which would reduce the magic number by one (it presently assumes Miami would own the tiebreaker), as well as reducing it by four with the two Bulls wins and two Heat losses.

If Miami were to win both against Chicago, things aren't quite so bleak for Chicago. The teams would effectively be tied, but Miami would own the tiebreaker. The Bulls would still have some chance to win the #1 overall seed in that scenario, but Miami has a fairly light schedule and would need to gack things up for that to happen.

Conference record

Let's assume a split in the head to head, the next tiebreaker is conference record. Both teams play 48 games in conference, and the Bulls have one non conference game left. If the teams finish tied, and the Bulls lose to Dallas, then the Bulls will own the tiebreaker due to better conference record.

If the Bulls and Heat finish tied but the Bulls beat Dallas (meaning they dropped some other conference game), then the tie breaker goes to the next step.

Next it goes to record against East playoff teams

Quick summary:
If Milwaukee wins the 8th spot the Bulls win, if New York wins the eighth spot the Heat win.

Bulls records against playoff teams so far:
Heat: 2-2 (in this scenario presently 1-1)
Orlando: 2-1
Boston: 3-1
Atlanta: 3-1
Indiana: 1-1 (1 remaining)
Philadelphia: 2-1
New York: 2-0 (2 remaining)
Milwaukee: 4-0 (presently not in the playoffs)
Total NYK: 15-7 with 3 remaining
Total Mil: 17-7 with 1 remaining

Miami records against playoff teams so far:
Chicago: 2-2 (in this scenario, presently 1-1)
Orlando: 2-2
Boston: 1-1 (two remaining)
Atlanta: 3-1
Indiana: 3-1
Philadelphia: 4-0
New York: 2-0 (1 remaining)
Milwaukee: 1-2
Total NYK: 17-7 (3 remaining)
Total Mil: 16-9 (2 remaining)

Bulls win the tiebreak here outright if Milwaukee wins, because the best the Heat can do is 18-9 (66.7%) while the worst Chicago can do is 17-8 (68%).

The Bulls could theoretically win the tiebreaker with New York in the eighth spot (win their three remaining games, beat Dallas (otherwise the tiebreaker doesn't get here), and split against Miami which would put them at 18-7. Then Miami could go 2-1 in their remaining three giving the Bulls the tiebreak.

However, this scenario means that the Bulls have to lose three against the scrub teams on their schedule to still end in a tie which is extraordinarily unlikely. As such, we can basically count the tiebreaker to be Miami's if New York takes the eighth spot and it isn't determined above.

Odd fluke

If the Bulls and Heat split their remaining games then the Dallas game is meaningless if New York takes the eighth spot. If that happens winning the game cuts the magic number by 1 by virtue of the win and losing it would cut it by 1 by virtue of getting the Bulls the tiebreaker.

Granted, if the Bulls drop two games to Miami then the game becomes critical because the tiebreaker is no longer at stake, and the Milwaukee/New York battle probably won't be known at the time of the game. If Milwaukee wins the final spot the Bulls would already own the tiebreaker and a loss would no longer give them another spot in the magic number game.

Other Magic numbers

Spurs: 9 (Bulls up by one in the loss column, hold tiebreak outright).
Thunder: 9 (Bulls up two in the loss column, Thunder hold tiebreak outright).
Indiana: 3 (Up 8 in the loss column tie break determined by final matchup)
Lakers: 2 (Bulls up eight in the loss column, own tiebreak outright)
Clippers: 1 (Bulls up nine in loss column, own tiebreak outright)

The Bulls have already locked up seeding against every other team in both conferences.

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  • Losing the Dallas game doesn't "give" the Bulls anything - I disagree that it's meaningless if they split the Heat series.
    I understand that if they end up tied, and Dallas is one of their remaining losses, they'll have the tiebreaker against Miami. However, if Miami wins out (other than the series split) and the Bulls lose out, these tiebreak scenarios don't even apply. A loss is still a loss, so the Dallas game isn't meaningless - even with the Heat split - unless/until the Bulls can lose the last three games of the season and still end up tied with Miami (and right now it's looking close enough that dropping three in a row will give the #1 seed to Miami).

    PS - didn't the Bulls clinch the best record in the NBA last season in the last game? Oh, Thibs, how I love your constant seal bark and balding head.

  • In reply to Gringo Rican:

    The Dallas game is meaningless in terms of seedings in certain circumstances, this is a fact, not an opinion. I outlined those circumstances (the Bulls/Heat split their remaining two games and New York make the eighth spot).

    There's always meaning in wins in terms of confidence etc..

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I should say it also helps them in terms of chasing seeding against the Thunder/Spurs as well, so it still has some meaning there.

  • I don't think the final seeding means that much. The Bulls dropped home games they were expected to win in the playoffs last year. The keys will be: health and focus! Sometimes the Bulls seem more focused on the road, where their record is almost as good.

    Plus a fair shake from the refs. That last one might be toughest of all.

  • It is very important the Bulls get HCA against Miami. Miami seems to be like two different teams at home and away this year. It was different last year where they just went through a bad stretch and lost everywhere in a stretch. This year it is totally different for whatever reason.
    I also hope we have some close games with Rip/Rose healthy and all five starters playing in the reg season. It will be good for them to run some plays and play together in those moments.

  • Actually, for the first time since the end of the dynasty era, the only magic # that any of us really give a shit about is 16, if you know what I am saying.

  • the single most common image of the Bulls from the past 2 seasons

    the Matapussy watching someone(typically Noah) else do work.

    and some commentary from Tony Allen of the Griz.
    Tony Allen@aa000G9
    He always eye ball sandwiches noah

    By the way, yes I would trade the Matapussy for Tony Allen in a heartbeat. Allen was the guy that I wanted instead of Brewer.

    Speaking of guys that I would trade for the escort,

    Byron(BJ) Mullens line last night, 31 & 14, that is why I thought the guy should have been the 16 pick for the Bulls instead of James Johnson or even the miniature Elton Brand(DeJuan Blair)

    You can never have enough guys who are 7 feet tall and can do more than walk and chew gum at the same time. and in Mullens case he is still young(23). Think we can steal him from MJ, I imagine that he would take his #1 back.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yes, I had BJ Mullens at No. 16 too! He got zero playing time at OKC so he is just now beginning to develop with playing time at Charlotte.

    That was a very good move by Jordan to pick up Mullens for their 2nd in 2013. So I doubt he wants to trade him.

    Mullens is very soft in the paint and a poor defender. His numbers might be inflated by playing for a horrible team - but he is an excellent jumpshooter. Would you give up the treasured Charlotte pick for Mullens?

    James Johnson eventually became Nikola Mirotic, so maybe Bulls turned a lemon into lemonade and made a nice recovery. Time will tell. Bulls covet those future assets - Charlotte pick and Mirotic - and are loathe to give them up. But we do need help now, I just don't know that Mullens is the answer.

    I'd certainly give up a future 2nd for him, but I understand Sam Presti at OKC was kind enough to make sure to trade Mullens to a poor team that would give him extended minutes.

  • At this point I think you have to seriously consider the scenario where both NY and MIL make the playoffs and it's the 76ers that miss out. Which would result in the Bulls winning the playoff team tie break too.

    I think the Bulls are home so long as they beat the next two against the Knicks then the home game against the Heat. Ideally they can lock it up early then take the last two games easy, which would give players about a week to rest up for the playoffs.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Philly has the easiest schedule left of the three teams and a fairly sizeable lead. They could fall out of it, but I would be surprised.

  • Philly must also be included in this analysis as they could easily be the 7th or 8th seed. It is a 3-way competition for the 7th and 8th seeds, not just a two-way race between NY and Milwaukee.

  • If Rose comes back and is healthy and doesn't reinjure himself then the bulls should win by more than a few games. The thing that wasn't mentioned is that the Heat still have to make up two games in their schedule that the bulls have already won and the Heat have an extra back-to-back. So while the bulls schedule gives them two extra days of rest, the Heat will have to continue to grind. Given that Wade is already sitting out games and LBJ is accruing nagging injuries I don't see how they close out 10-2. In fact, I'd love to see them end up playing Milwaukee in the first round because Skiles will guarantee another grind-it-out series. Of course, none of this matters if Rose doesn't come back healthy.

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