With one day left, playoffs still not set

The Chicago Bulls clinched have clinched home court advantage against everyone except for the San Antonio Spurs which they can do with a win tonight or a loss by San Antonio. However, the Bulls first round opponent has yet to be decided.

The Philadelphia 76ers made it clear that they'd prefer to play the Bulls. Evan Turner went on to say a matchup with the Bulls would mean they were dodging the tougher team. However, they didn't play like it last night when they could have locked themselves into a matchup against Chicago with a loss, but instead went on to beat the Milwaukee Bucks on the road.

The Knicks also presumably prefer a Chicago matchup, however, they've beaten Atlanta and the Clippers in the past two games to fight hard to play the Heat. The Clippers win last night (Chris Paul was out) is especially interesting because the game had meaning to the Clippers who are still fighting for homecourt in the first round while New York would probably have been better off losing.

Even so, the Paul-less Clippers were easily defeated by the Knicks who pulled all their good players in the fourth in an attempt to lose but hung on to win anyway.

The Knicks play the Bobcats tonight while the 76ers play the Pistons. Chicago will matchup against Philadelphia with a Philly loss or a Knicks win, and they'll match up against the Knicks if the Knicks lose and Philly wins. Oh, btw, the Bobcats are on a 22 game losing streak currently, so the Knicks may not be able to throw that game even if they try.

Since I get this question on twitter plenty, no, the Bulls do not own the Bobcats pick this year. The assumed protection schedule for the pick is as follows (I say assumed only because I've never seen the schedule from an official source, and people immediately guessed this was the schedule because it was the one used for a similar trade Charlotte did with Minnesota):
2012: lottery
2013: top 12
2014: top 10
2015: top 8
2016: unprotected

How far the pick goes really comes down to how well they do in the lottery. If they get a game changing superstar player, then they can easily move up and make the playoffs. A .500 record at any point in the next four years is enough to give us pick #15. However, Charlotte's an unlikely destination for any worthwhile free agents, doesn't have much in terms of trading pieces, and doesn't have a whole bunch of interesting young talent either.

In short, if you were going to bet on any team sucking for the next four seasons, Charlotte would be a pretty good bet even though we know it can all change with one good draft pick. However, even if they stink, there's a pretty good chance the Bulls end up with pick #9 in 2016 and are unlikely to really hit the jackpot.

Summary of what's on the line

Eastern Conference:

Matchups already set:
3 Indiana vs 6 Orlando
4 Boston vs 5 Atlanta home court TBD

With a win vs Cleveland or Spurs loss at Golden State, the Bulls would clinch homecourt against the Spurs and the #1 overall seed. (SAS and Chicago each already have clinched the #1 seed in their conferences)

With a Knicks win at Charlotte or a 76ers loss at Detroit the Knicks would clinch the 7th spot and Philly the 8th.

With an Atlanta vs Dallas win or Boston loss vs Milwaukee, the Hawks would clinch homecourt for round 1.

Western Conference:

Matchups already set:
1 San Antonio vs 8 Utah
4/5 Grizzlies vs 4/5 Clippers home court TBD

With a win at Minnesota or Dallas loss at Atlanta, Denver clinches the 6 seed and would play the Lakers and the Mavs would play the Thunder as the 7th seed.

With a win vs Orlando, the Grizzlies would clinch home court vs the Clippers


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  • Yeah I don't think even Jordan could keep a team at the very bottom of the league for four years straight. I think odds are we get a mid to late lottery pick at some point assuming Bobcats don't land a stud in any of the next few drafts. Just hoping they don't get the #1 pick this year and grab Anthony Davis.

  • With the Charlotte pick, it sucks that they're currently at the "bottoming out" stage of their life cycle right now. In a perfect World I think we'd probably prefer that they be a bit below .500, with an aging, star-less roster. As it stands, they're in good position to pick up some very talented players in the draft. And as you pointed out, our pick will be very dependent on how they do with those picks.

    One nice thing is that there really is nothing on that team currently, and they're still saddled with Tyrus' bad contract. So what you kinda hope will happen is that they start to overpay, and extend bad to mediocre players like Gerald Henderson, and DJ Augustin. And also hope that a player like Bismack Biyombo doesn't develop into something.

  • Just finished listening to Reggie Miller the new NBA Hall of Famer. He was a guest of WFAN the top sports station here in New York and he was asked by the hosts about New York fans prefering their team tangle with the Chicago Bulls because they feel they had a better chance than they would have against the Miami Heat in this year's playoffs.

    Miller was unequivocal in saying that although he could understand the view of Knicks fans fearing the possibility of taking on the Big Three in Miami, he thought they should fear the thought of tangling with the Bulls more because the Bulls provide more match-up problems for the Knicks, they rebound and dominate the boards, play stellar defence and are disciplined.
    Asked who he thought would come out of the Eastern Conference, he said the Chicago Bulls. Asked who he thought they would face in the NBA finals, he said the San Antonio Spurs.

    So there you have it from someone without a dog in this fight. I want to hear from all the naysayers on this blog who claim they are bulls fans but feel the Miami Heat are better and the Heat will be in the NBA final.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Long time bulls fan here but until i see the bulls knock the heat from the playoffs, the heat are better.

    According to espn the bulls will open the playoffs saturday. i wonder what time they will play?

  • In reply to rob32:

    Someone else reported the Bulls have the 1 o'clock (presumably that was Eastern, and the Bulls tip off at noon).

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Oh no, the dreaded noon start, we might not wake up before we are down 1-0.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Ugh, I hate noon games, they're 3am for me. :(

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Are all, or any NBA playoff games broadcast live in Japan, or do you have to try to find it on the net?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm in Australia not Japan. I think they show like 5 games live a week on TV, the net is the only way to go.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    How does Reggie Miller have a dog in this fight?

    I'm glad to see more analysts picking Chicago. I think the reality is that the Bulls and Heat are clearly the best two teams in the conference and either one could emerge.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    SlamDunk said Miller was without a dog in this fight.

  • The Heat are tough because of their extreme (although very concentrated) talent and athleticism, but have some serious team flaws that are impossible to completely compensate for.

    I fear the Spurs and Thunder more than the Heat. With that said, beating Miami will be a challenge, only the first of two very big obstacles in the way of a Chicago championship.

    Also, these 7/8 seeds saying they prefer the Bulls in round 1 over the Heat is stupid. They are going to be crushed in either scenario. The Bulls have as good a chance as anyone else, and are clearly elite. If Rose comes around, and the other guys keep producing like they have been, well...anyone who beats the Bulls are truly a great team and much deserving champion.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    I think much of the hope against playing Chicago is that Rose may not be healthy. The Bulls with a banged up Rose are definitely more beatable than Miami.

    In terms of a potential finals, the only team that scares me out west is the Thunder. I think we'd take out the Spurs without too much difficulty.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    The Lakers are a tough match up if Kobe gets out of gunning for the scoring title mode. I think the Bulls win but it wouldn't be a cake walk. That's a pretty big if at the moment though, he's been Iversonesque this year.

    I know all the Knicks fans were hoping to drop and get the Bulls but I really think they might have a better chance against the Heat (which admittedly is still not a lot). They really don't match up well with the Bulls with Lin out, they can't run with Baron Davis and Mike Bibby, but if they grind it out the Bulls bigs will destroy them on the boards. Against Miami you obviously want to grind it out, and there I think Chandler by himself is more able to deal with Miami since they don't have the same sort of frontline the Bulls have.

  • When I listened to Reggie Miller the faces of Michael Wilbon and Scoop Jackson flashed before me and how they don't have the guts to give this Chicago Bulls team it's due because, according to their apologists, they have to appear neutral because they are "journalists" and don't want to appear biased because they are from Chicago. Trying to appear "fair" be damned! If your hometown team is great, don't be afraid to say it.

  • I think Reggie Miller kind of has a soft spot for the hard working Chicago Bulls. It's still going to be tough to beat out the star power of the Heat who also play stiffling defense. I think most fans are wondering if the offense will be there during the later stages of the playoffs( will Hamilton, Korver and Brewer) showup to help Rose out who is not 100% and probably won't be the entire playoffs. The one thing is our bigs are playing outstanding basketball and that should make us a completely different team from last year's playoff squad. The offense is the only thing that worries me, shooting low 40% ish FG is this team's weak spot when role players like Korver miss their open looks.

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    I think as a knicks fan the knicks should be hoping to get the heat in the first round! The heat are alot better matchup for them and according to the sixers the bulls are better for them! haha i have the full argument on my blog if u wanna check it out! http://nbawagers.com/2012/04/who-is-the-better-matchup-for-the-knicks-heat-or-bulls/

  • Derrick Rose is the top jersey seller. Pretty neat. Now we'll see how he performs in this postseason.

    Rip sucked against wing athleticism again last night. It's a disturbing trend.

  • Knicks might be tanking tonight, not playing Melo or Chandler. Are they really going to let the Bobcats break their 22 game losing streak against them? Knicks want to play the Bulls in the first round.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    It's not going to matter because the 76ers meant it when they said they wanted the Bulls, getting blown out by Detroit.

  • Thibs is doing the unthinkable - for Thibs! Rose and Deng (and Korver) are sitting tonight against Cleveland! I'm very happy about that.

    So Rose and Deng played only 1 game in 6 days before the playoffs. Every other contending team is resting their stars, glad to see Deng and Rose getting some too.

    I think Bulls need to b

  • In reply to Edward:

    I think Bulls need to baby Rose - restrict his minutes and have him play non-agressively - throught the first and possibly second round of playoffs to see if he can regain a measure of his health.

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