This is it, the last week of the 2020-’21 NBA Season. The Bulls hopes for the last play-in tournament slot rest on the most precarious of precipices. There is only one scenario in which the Bulls make the play-in:
The Bulls must win out, and the Washington Wizards must lose out.
Last night, the dream of catching the Indiana Pacers died with the Bulls losing to the Brooklyn Nets (115-107) and the Pacers grabbing an unlikely win from the Philadelphia ‘76ers. With the Wizards losing in overtime to the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, the Pacers leap-frogged Washington and secured the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls are once again chasing the Wizards for the final play-in spot. The Wizards will face off against the Atlanta Hawks again tonight, without the services of Bradley Beal who is dealing with a hamstring issue.
It’s all or nothing for our beloved Bulls.
A tough shooting night from Nikola Vucevic really hurt in last nights loss to the Nets. The normally reliable Vuc missed an uncharacteristically high number of shots from all over the court. The offense was left in the willing hands of Zach LaVine, who happily obliged by dropping 41 points on the Nets. But without the help of Vucevic, the Bulls were doomed to fail.
You need to play a nearly perfect game to beat the Nets, and the Bulls were far from perfect last night. They got down by double digits early, and anytime they tried to close the gap with a run, Brooklyn would answer with a run of their own.
I have to say, even with the Bulls on the brink of elimination, it’s been a lot of fun watching this final stretch of games. It is entirely possible for this team to win out. They have the talent on the roster to do it. You couldn’t say that about the Bulls these past 3 seasons. The way LaVine and Vucevic are beginning to gel on the court is making me excited about next season. We will get into my expectations for the future in much later posts, but it’s hard to imagine the Bulls missing the playoffs next year. We’ll see.
I don’t have much more to say today. I’ll be keeping an eye on the Wizards and Hawks tonight, cheering for Trae and company. The odds of the Bulls making the play-in are not good, and they haven’t been since LaVine went out with Covid, but there is still a chance. As long as the Wizards keep the door ajar, I’m looking for that miracle.
Until it happens, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!