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Bulls Nip Nets, Regain Hold of 8th Seed

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 12, 2006 5:43PM

It took a while. A really long while. But the Bulls finally seem to have discovered that scrappy instinct that led them to a 47-35 record last season and their first playoff appearance since MJ left town.

2006_04_sports_ben_gordon.jpgLast night, the Bulls beat the white-hot New Jersey Nets 104-101 at the United Center. The Nets had come into the game winners in 15 of their previous 17 games. The Bulls were playing without 40% of their starting lineup. Loul Deng and Eric Piatkowski remained out because of their Saturday collision during practice, and theirensuing concussions. Chris Duhon sat because of on-going back pain.

Fortunately, Andres Nocioni and Ben Gordon each had among their best games of the season. Nocioni grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds to go with 20 points. Gordon scored 36 points, including 21 in the 4th quarter.

With the surprising win, the Bulls reclaimed final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Tied with Philly at 36-41, the Bulls hold the tiebreaker because of a better conference record.

With 5 games to go for each team, the Bulls look to be better positioned to make the playoffs. They play Atlanta, Washington, Miami, Orlando and Toronto. Only Miami and Washington are playoff teams this year from that group. The 76ers finish out the regular season with two more games against the Nets, Miami, Orlando and Charlotte. All it takes is one more victory for the Bulls than the Sixers, over the final five games, and the Bulls end up in the playoffs. Chicagoist realizes that the Bulls will quickly get bounced by Detroit once the playoffs begin, but we'll worry about that next week.

Image via Yahoo!News