The Chicago Bulls have a reprieve against the Detroit Pistons tonight. It's not an automatic win. As the their loss to the Garnett-less Nets proved, there are no automatic ones. However, things are about to get real after tonight's game.
Chicago has a nice home stretch after Detroit, too bad all the teams they're playing are a bunch of bad asses. They start by welcoming Memphis, whom at 34-26 has a better record than Chicago but is presently sitting outside the playoffs in the West.
They follow it up with games against Miami, San Antonio, and Houston. They then play OKC and Indiana twice over the next six games, sandwiched in between some very winnable games against the Kings and 76ers twice. They then end the stretch with a tough game against the Blazers.
This next stretch probably decide whether Chicago makes the playoffs. They could probably lose all of those games and make the playoffs easily.
However, it might show whether or not they're going to be the three, four, five, or sixth seed. The nice thing for Chicago is after this brutal stretch is over, it's smooth sailing the rest of the way. After their March 28th game against Portland, Chicago closes out the season with 10 games that they'll be favored or evenly matched.
Only @Washington and @Minnesota likely even fall into the evenly matched section. Chicago certainly isn't guaranteed to win all of those games, but NBA teams that are out of the playoffs have a tendency to give up at the end of the season against teams that are. They've got nothing left to fight for, and Chicago likes to pound the fight out of teams as it is.
This should put the Bulls on a nice win streak to end the season and perhaps a bit of feel good attitude into a playoff chase. However, if we want to know what the Bulls playoff odds really look like, we should look at the next 10-12 games instead.
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