Sunday, May 22, 2022

Bulls Magic Number Drops To One, Let’s Talk Playoff Scenarios


The Bulls only have four games remaining on their schedule. They are currently the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference and have the same record as the 6th seeded Toronto Raptors. On top of that, the Bulls have a 2.5 game lead on the 7th seeded Cleveland Cavaliers. If the Bulls want to avoid the play-in portion of the NBA playoffs it’s going to be pretty easy. The magic number for the Bulls to avoid the play-in is 1. All it will take for the Bulls is 1 win or 1 loss.

Thankfully for the Bulls, the task is simple. Win one of your last four and you are guaranteed at least the 6th seed. Alternatively, have the Cavaliers lose one game and you are guaranteed at least the 6th seed. Sure crazier things have happened but the Bulls only need to win ONE out of their last four and they are out of the play-in. That will be enough motivation for this team to turn things up in these last four. Now I’m not saying the Bull’s last four games are easy because they aren’t. But the Bulls certainly can get a win considering the next three are at home.

Home court advantage to close the season

With the season coming to a close and the Bull’s chances of getting home court advantage in the playoffs being slim to none they will need to take advantage of the next three games. The Bulls play three straight home games before playing the final game of the season in Minnesota. 

It’s not going to be an easy three-game stretch at home for the Bulls. They face off against the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the East who are both fighting for the #1 seed. Then they have the play-in Charlotte Hornets who are likely going to be looking to build momentum as they head into the play-in. To round out the season the Bulls head to Minnesota to take on another play-in team who may be fighting for a guaranteed spot at that point. While the road isn’t easy the Bulls are lucky that they could also lose all four and just need the Cavaliers to lose one. With that being said there is still a possibility of a worst-case scenario.

Worst case the Bulls will need to fight

Let’s say the Bulls do in fact lose their next four. Let’s also say the Cavaliers win their next four. In that scenario, the Bulls will find themselves in the play-in spot unless the Toronto Raptors also lose the rest of their games. If the Bulls fall to the play-in spot at 7 they could be facing the Hawks, Nets, or Hornets. It’s too close to know where those three will end up in the play-in seeding. The Bulls luckily can’t fall to the 9/10 spot so they would have two chances to secure a spot in the playoffs if that were to happen. If you are noticing something here it’s that A LOT more needs to happen for the Bulls to not get a guaranteed playoff spot than to get one. I don’t see it happening but it’s something that has to be covered. The Bull’s road to securing a playoff spot is a simple one but anything can happen. The main focus for this team should be figuring out the best game plan as they head into the playoffs.

Four games left to figure it out

Anyone who has been watching the Bulls this season knows they have declined over the last month and a half. This team was riding high as the #1 seed for quite a while. The offense was clicking and while the defense wasn’t great the offense made up for it. Then the injuries came and wouldn’t stop. Here we are wondering where the Bulls will land in the playoffs. On top of that, we are still in limbo when it comes to guard Lonzo Ball. 

It sounds like there really isn’t any news when it comes to Lonzo returning. That seems like a bad sign at this point. He was intensifying his workouts over the last few weeks and then had to stop working out entirely. At this point, it seems like Lonzo will get shut down for the remainder of the year. With the playoffs coming up quick it’s hard to see a realistic scenario where Lonzo is back on the court in full force before the first round is over. With that being said the Bulls need to figure out what works best over these next four games.

On to the postseason 

This team is going to need to move forward thinking Lonzo won’t be with them. Four games left to try and make things click and go into the playoffs with some momentum. The Bulls are 4-6 in their last ten games and 8-12 in their last 20. This team isn’t exactly surging right now. But rallying off some key wins to end the year is exactly what they need to be ready for the playoffs. The Bulls are certainly going to put up a fight this postseason but it’s going to be an uphill battle. Who knows, maybe they will make it out of the first round and we will see Lonzo return. That’s the best-case scenario for the Bulls if they want to make it anywhere this postseason. For now, this team just needs to win 1 game or have the Cavaliers lose 1 game and they secure their playoff spot.

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