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Bulls Earn 7th Seed

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 20, 2006 4:13AM

The final day of the NBA season was a crazy one, at least in terms of the Eastern Conference playoff seeding. Chicagoist certainly wasn't a math major in college, so we had to wait for the media to explain to use the scenarios and outcomes. They could end up anywhere from 5th to 8th, depending on the outcomes of Wednesday's games.

For the Bulls to have moved up to the 5th seed, the Bulls would have had to win and the Wizard would have had to lose to Detroit. Somehow that scenarion would leapfrog the Bulls ahead of Washington and Indiana, in spite of identical 41-41 records. But a Washington win would push the Bulls to 6th if Indiana lost, or 7th if Indiana won. Milwaukee lost Tuesday night, so they fell down to the 8th seed unless the Bulls lost on Wedneday, which would have dropped the Bulls back to the 8th seed. Got it? Neither do we!

What's important is that the Bulls finished the season 41-41, and earned the 7th seed in the playoffs. They will face the 2nd seed Miami Heat. In their three regular season meetings, the Heat won 2 of 3. The Bulls lost by 3 in December and by 1 in March. The beat the Heat by a convincing 24 last week, although Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade played only 20 minutes each.

Still, we feel that the Bulls have some chance of winning at least a game or two. We feared, had they played Detroit, they've have been swept out of the first round.

All in all, Chicagoist was pleasantly surprised to see the Bulls finish the season at .500, at least given what we saw for the first 5 months of the season. While we'd predicted 45 wins before the season began, we underestimated the impact losing Eddy Curry and Antonio Davis would have on the team. We thought Tim Thomas and Micheal Sweetney would fill the void. Thomas played in all of 3 games before being exiled, and Sweetney took a while to buy into Scott Skiles' system. It was only as Loul Deng and Andres Nocioni really came on in the last quarter of the season that the Bulls dramatically improved.

They finished 12-2 in their final 14 games, and head into the playoffs on a 6-game winning streak. And besides, how many other playoff teams also stand a very decent shot at landing the #1 pick in the draft lottery? Things are looking even brighter for the Bulls next season.