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Nets Drop Bulls, Bulls Drop to Fifth Seed

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 19, 2007 3:20PM

2007_04_sports_bulls_nets.jpgOne night, one game, but three seeds lost on the final night of the NBA's regular season for the Bulls. Heading into the final game, the Bulls had the upper hand in winning the second seed in the Eastern Conference. All they had to do was win. Or Cleveland had to lose. But neither came to fruition.

The Bulls lost to the Nets 106-97, which combined with Cleveland's win against Milwaukee, dropped the Bulls down to the fifth seed. Cleveland finished the season at 50-32 while the Bulls finished one game back at 49-33. OK, not quite the 55-win season we predicted back at the start of the year.

So why the big drop in seeding because of just one loss? Actually, under the previous rules the three division winners received the top three seeds. However, following an early playoff meeting of the Western Conference's top two teams last season, the league changed the rules so that the top teams wouldn't face off until the conference finals. With Detroit having locked up the top seed, the Bulls and Cavs were fighting for the second seed. The Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat, on account of winning their divisions, received the third and fourth seeds. The Bulls dropped down to fifth.

While the lower seed in the 4-5 matchup, because of their better record the Bulls will hold home-court advantage in their opening round matchup against the Miami Heat. During the regular season, the Bulls won three of the four meetings between the two teams. However, Miami is the reigning NBA champ, and they played much of the regular season without at least one of their two big stars, Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade. Their opening round series will begin at the United Center on Saturday.

Photo via AP Photo/Bill Kostroun.