SAN ANTONIO — The Heat is on. Miami rolled into San Antonio reeling from blowing a 24 point lead the previous night to the Magic and the effects of that hangover were apparent against the Spurs.
The Heat fell behind bug early and never fully recovered. This news is music to the ears of Bulls fans and sets the stage beautifully for this Sunday’s showdown with the Heat. With Chicago winning in Orlando on Friday and the Heat losing in Texas, Chicago and Miami now find themselves on even ground.
Tied for second place in the Eastern Conference.
It has been a long time coming, but the two teams are finally dead even in the standings and it couldn’t come at a more opportune time. Especially if you’re ABC and ESPN. The mathcup Sunday between the Heat and Bulls now becomes more than just the rubber match bewtween two of the conference’s elite squads, it’s a boarder line playoff game.
In fact it is a playoff game. The winner gains sole control of second place in the Eastern Conference and the loser falls back to third place a full game behind their victor.
All season long the Bulls have been aggressively chasing the Heat and Celtics both. But with a win Sunday, they will finally do what no one expected and put the Heat in their rear-view.
Chicago could then focus their aggressive push for the first seed on the Boston Celtics. After Sunday, the Bulls have no more matchups against the Heat, and only one more against the Celtics. Chicago can really set themselves up nicely for a final push for the number one seed should they win Sunday and take sole control of second in the East.
Second place would be Chicago’s to lose.
If the Bulls fail to win the East, but manage to finish second all is not for nothing. Finishing in second rather than third is the difference between heading to Miami in the second round or hosting the Heat. If the Bulls win the East, which is ideal, then they let Miami and Boston duke it out and host the winner. It’s a tough ride to the Finals in the East, but the first seed route is less of a hassle than that of a second or third.
All eyes are will be on Miami Sunday and at days end, the hope is those eyes follow the second place Bulls back to Chicago.