DETROIT −There was movement a top the Eastern Conference standings on Friday as the NAB entered its second to last weekend of the season.
It wasn’t the Bulls moving huge, instead it was who was directly under them. The Miami Heat blew out the TImberwolves in Minnesota Friday night and with Boston’s loss the Heat have now done some leap-frogging of their own; the Heat now are 1/2 game ahead of the Celtics in second place in the East.
This is great news for Bulls fans as Chicago has the edge to win the East even more so now. Regardless of the win by the Heat, the Bulls magic number to clinch the East and the number one seed in the playoffs is 4 1/2. That should drop to an even 4 should the Bulls beat the Raptors Saturday night.
To tilt the regular season conference title even more in the Bulls favor, the Bulls own the tie-breaker over the Heat so even if the teams finish in a tie, the Bulls will win the number one seed and own home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
A perk that the Bulls are not taking lightly.
The Bulls have lost only 5 times at home in the united Center this year, a figure that will be highlighted to no end come playoff time.
But Chicago is just trying to finish out the season on top, as usual with them, first thing is first.
Win the Conference.
“Destiny is in our hands,” Rose said. “We’re just trying to finish the season strong.”
Should that happen, it’s looking more and more like the Pacers will win the 8th seed and earn a (likely) fatal trip to Chicago in the first round. After that, it’s a toss up as to who the Bulls would get in the second round. The winner of the three-four matchup will punch their ticket to Chicago, but who that is really depends on if Orlando brings their A-game or not.
That three-four matchup will most likely be Atlanta and Orlando and the Magic should come out of that one but if Atlanta does, the Bulls may catch a break. The Magic would provide the first threat to a Bulls championship run but a showdown with the Magic wouldn’t derail the Bulls. After that, it will be the showdown everyone will be drooling over; an Eastern Conference Championship game that includes the Bulls and either the Heat or Celtics.
But as Derrick Rose said, first thing is first; before we all get ahead of ourselves the Bulls need to finish the season strong.
Win the Eastern Conference.