Wishful Thinking

Ihmoud%27s+Moods

Ihmoud's Moods

By Media Relations Editor

The NBA is in the final stretch of the season as teams such as the New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks battle for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Immediately following the April 7 NCAA National Championship game on CBS-TV, the nation’s focus will shift from college to professional basketball. Chicago Bulls fans will be tuning in to see which team the Bulls will face during the first and second rounds of the playoffs.

As of press time, the Bulls are the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and could enjoy a home court advantage in a matchup against the Brooklyn Nets, who the Bulls have defeated in two out of three games this season. If the Bulls land the third seed, they will be matched up against the Washington Wizards, a team they have not beaten this season as of press time.

The Bulls can get past the Wizards or the Nets in the first round without a question. However, being the third or fourth seed could make a difference when it comes to which team the Bulls face in the Eastern Conference semifinals. That team will likely be the Indiana Pacers or the Miami Heat.

The Heat and Pacers have the top two seeds respectively, and either team would be tough for the Bulls to beat without injured point guard Derrick Rose. Still, Chicago won’t be an easy sweep in the postseason against any team, either.

The Bulls have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA lately. As of press time, the team boasts its best winning percentage of the season. The Bulls have not lost more than two consecutive games since their first two games in February. The Heat and Pacers, on the other hand, haven’t been as dominant as they were in the beginning of the season. Their struggles might allow for an upset in the playoffs.

Because of the Pacers’ recent disappointments—they have only won four of their last 10 games—it would behoove the Bulls to move up to the third seed. Once Chicago gets past Washington in the first round, they will be matched up against the second-seeded Pacers team, who the Bulls defeated 89–77 March 24.

A lot of folks tend to argue that the regular season holds no stock once the playoffs begin. I disagree. The regular season allows teams to see how they match up against each other.

The Bulls match up better against a team they have to defeat in the half court. It doesn’t hurt that the Bulls have one of the best frontcourts in the league—center Joakim Noah and forwards Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson.

Bulls fans are far too familiar with facing LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the playoffs. The Bulls were ousted in five games last season because they were unable to keep up with the Heat’s stars

Fans should still be aware of the long shot of beating either the Heat or the Pacers, but for those hoping and wishing for a miracle when the playoffs start, the Bulls’ best bet is against the Pacers.

Listen to Nader Ihmoud every Monday as he hosts The Benchwarmers Show 7–9 p.m. on WCRX 88.1 FM.