CHICAGO — The Bulls had a chance to take over first place come Monday, but that all rested on what the Celtics did.
Well the Bulls aren’t in first but they got the next best thing: a first place tie.
Chicago needed to win on Saturday and have Boston drop two straight games over the weekend. Boston went one for two, but that places the teams on even ground in the wins and loss columns. It’s down to the grind and Chicago actually has a pretty good chance to overtake first. Of Boston’s remaining 17 games, 10 of the are on the road with crucial road games in Chicago and Miami near the end of the season. Chicago has 9 of their last 17 on the road with big games in Atlanta, Orlando and New York.
This upcoming week is a crucial week for both teams as it gives each one an opportunity to get a leg up on the other. Chicago holds the cards now as they play three games in the next four days and Boston plays just two. The Celtics are matched up against the Pacers on Wednesday and Rockets on Friday while the Bulls get the Wizards on Tuesday, Nets on Thursday and Pacers on Friday.
The teams schedule evens out again n Saturday with the Bulls resting and the Celtics playing in New Orleans, but for the remainder of the season, it will a bitter back and forth between the two teams with most of the ground being made up when on team doesn’t play. That’s why it is so important for neither team to slip up, because when one team does the advantage will swing the other way.
And with the way both these teams are playing, when one of them gets the upper hand, they may not let the other get back in. It’s looking more and more like the squaring off between the Bulls and Celtics in the United Center on April 7th may just be the game that decides the Eastern Conference.
But there is a lot of basketball left, and a lot of things can happen.