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22 April 2017, 12:44 | Andy Ferguson
All signs are pointing to the Bulls being gift-wrapped a playoff spot, which they will clinch with a win over the Nets or a loss by the Miami Heat to the Washington Wizards. Miami also was in the running and won, but was eliminated. It's obviously different dynamics, some teams getting ready for the playoffs and resting players, some teams are going into the summer making sure they're healthy with their rosters.
"I don't know if I've ever wanted something more for a team", an emotional Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The result: a brutal 112-73 loss to Chicago in front of a sellout crowd of 21,648 at the United Center, most of whom spent the evening celebrating their team's postseason berth at the expense of Brooklyn's short-handed unit.
In the final game of the season, the Nets chose to rest Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin and Trevor Booker, while Quincy Acy, Sean Kilpatrick and Joe Harris sat out due to injury.
PACERS 104, HAWKS 86: Paul George finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds, Jeff Teague added 19 points and IN clinched a playoff spot with a victory over visiting Atlanta.
This would match them up with the Boston Celtics who now sit at the number one seed and have won all four regular-season games against the Heat. They will face Cleveland in the opening round.
It doesn't look great for the Heat, though they could potentially catch a break if their opponents rest players. But as a fan of the game, I do want whichever teams to make it to have to earn it. The NBA should be embarrassed. They also had eight turnovers in a 27-13 first quarter. The Bulls also have an easy path to make the playoffs as all they need to do is beat the Brooklyn Nets, who now sit last in the Eastern Conference and are also resting three of their players which include, Trevor Booker, Jeremy Lin, and Brook Lopez.
Washington started the season 2-8, and ended up with the No. 4 seed in the East.
Archie Goodwin put up 20 points and K.J. McDaniels added 15 for Brooklyn, which committed 18 turnovers and was outscored 37-17 during the final 12 minutes.
While their crown appears shaky, the Cavs, who dropped their last four and the top seed, feel like they can defend it. "So, we have a nice mix of young kids that are trying to come up and then a veteran group that cares a lot", Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said, via the New York Post. We just got unbelievable faith in each other and I got wonderful amount of respect and love for these guys.
The NBA playoffs start this weekend. "I'm excited now. But once you get the playoffs, the seedings go out the window".
The 1-8 and 2-7 matchups in the East can not be finalized until Wednesday (Thursday in Manila). The last time the teams met in the playoffs was the incredible, record setting 2009 seven-game series that saw four overtime games, including a triple overtime Game 6 and seven overtime periods in the series.
Washington, which is locked into the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, is in that same mode.
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