Bulls, Pacers grab last 2 spots in NBA playoffs

Vincent De Villiers
Abril 19, 2017

And those doubters looked fairly prophetic a few weeks back.

In a tweet sent before the Nets had publicly announced their lineup intentions for Wednesday, Heat owner Micky Arison said he hopes his squad is focused on closing out the regular season with a victory. The Pacers and Bulls held serve at home against undermanned opponents Wednesday, the final night of the NBA's 2016-17 season.

"Tough team, no question about it". The Bulls, the No. 8 seed, will open the playoffs Sunday night against No. 1 seed Boston Celtics.

What a relief for the Bulls.

Six teams per conference will make the playoffs. OK, perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration.

It would be great if he could because he can't during the regular season.

Lopez leads Brooklyn with 20.5 points per game, but he will sit out and not pose a challenge for twin brother Robin, who starts at center for the Bulls. Bobby Portis added 12 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. With Jeremy Lin, Brook Lopez and four other players out for the Nets, some Miami fans are accusing them of cheating. "Honestly, what I remember about the season is March on", Lin said on Thursday as the Nets wrapped up their NBA-worst 20-62 season. Chicago blew a nine-point lead in the final six minutes and blew a chance to clinch a playoff spot before the final two games of the season were even played. The Miami Heat need a victory over the Washington Wizards and a loss from the Pacers. IN missing the playoffs would help that scenario.

The Bulls should easily win this game, especially given that Brooklyn is not even trying to play their starters. "We're preparing for the (second) season. So, I'm genuinely thankful to God for this season's experience to be able to play alongside them". We got through 82. "It feels like we could be playing for a while, but we just weren't given that opportunity". It makes the decision much more hard.

"You have to go out and worry about your team". But for one of these teams, winning will be a hell of a lot easier. It seemed like chaos. The Wizards shot 41.9 percent from three as a team. The effort also secured Whiteside the first league rebounding title by a Heat player in franchise history.

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The Cavs did get Tristan Thompson back after he missed four games.

The Bulls are fighting the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat for the final two spots in the Eastern Conference.

"Before I got in, I didn't know guys really cared about it that much", Richardson said in an extremely somber locker room "I didn't know that it meant that much". "At times it looked darker than other times; no doubt about it".

They'll be going nowhere else. "Everybody had a challenging season". "We always enjoyed coming to work every day". So I'm happy with this team now. "I know (we) have more basketball left".

All games involving the Bulls' playoff seeding will tip off at 7 p.m. "Obviously I love being on the court with my teammates, playing against Robin and just the situation of the game, super-exciting".

In Butler, former Celtics champion Rondo and Wade, the Bulls have the more celebrated and decorated roster and the most playoff experience. "I like any matchup we go up against".

There has to be a better way to ensure the postseason features only the best teams, and there is.

"We made a little progress, stuck our finger through the ceiling so to speak, yet we have a long way to go". We can't expect for things to just come lackadaisical. "I don't know. It's interesting". I don't think the goal here is just to make the playoffs.

Mirotic and Butler combined for a lot of steals, but I'm not sure that I buy it, given how generally sloppy and lazy Brooklyn was with the ball and how most of the "steals" I saw wouldn't have happened three weeks ago.

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