It all ends – and begins – in Charlotte tonight.
The Bulls regular season ends with a game against the playoff-bound Bobcats, fighting for position with the Washington Wizards.
Chicago can take the third seed with a win and Toronto Raptors loss in New York.
However, no matter the atmosphere of never giving up Tom Thibodeau has cultivated over the last few years, the Bulls will likely concede this game with little fight.
Chicago has it’s heart set on the fifth seed and likely playoff matchup with the Brooklyn Nets, or, should results go their way tonight, the Washington Wizards.
Should the Bulls make it through the first round, the unstable and unfancied Indiana Pacers would await, a much more palatable series than a meeting with Miami, the consensus pick to return to the NBA Finals.
Tonight’s game should be a strange affair for Bulls fans not used to seeing their team play with no drive to win. Joakim Noah should sit, and although most teams would rest entire starting fives, Tom Thibodeau will probably still play most of them.
Kirk Hinrich should sit, as should the likes of Jimmy Butler and D.J. Augustin. Expect the likes of Jimmer Fredette, Tony Snell and Ronnie Brewer to see larger minutes allocations tonight.
While I think Thibodeau will sit his stars, there’s a chance they start and play few minutes.
Probable (these are just guesses) Starters:
PG: Kirk Hinrich, 11th season. 9.1 points per game, 3.9 assists per game.
SG: Jimmy Butler, 3rd season. 13.1 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game.
SF: Mike Dunleavy, 12th season. 11.3 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game.
PF: Carlos Boozer, 12th season. 13.7 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game.
C: Joakim Noah, 7th season. 12.6 points per game, 11.2 rebounds per game.
PG: Kemba Walker, 3rd season. 17.6 points per game, 6.1 assists per game.
SG: Gerald Henderson, 5th season. 14.1 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game.
SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, 2nd season. 7.2 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game.
PF: Josh McRoberts, 7th season. 8.5 points per game, 4,8 rebounds per game.
C: Al Jefferson, 10th season. 22.0 points per game, 10.8 rebounds per game.