If not, go take a look.
The Bulls are now in a first place tie with the Boston Celtics at the top of the Eastern Conference dog pile. Technically speaking, Boston is still ahead of the Bullies because they currently lead the season series 2-1. The Celts visit the United Center on April 7.
Speaking of which, check out Chicago’s remaining schedule: 17 games left, 9 on the road, 8 at home. The Bulls will face 10 sub-.500 teams (Wizards, Nets, Pacers, Kings, Bucks, Timberwolves, Pistons, Raptors, Cavaliers and Nets again), a couple fringe teams (Grizzlies and Suns), a few solid playoff teams (Hawks, Sixers, Knicks) and two potential title contenders (Celtics and Magic).
Despite a season of doubt (specifically about the quality of the team’s starting two guard) and injuries (to Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah), the Bulls could actually finish with the number one seed in their conference.
Can you believe it?
There are some potential stumbling blocks, though.
Next Tuesday, the Bulls play the Hawks in Atlanta one night after playing the Kings in Chicago. Road games against playoff teams jockeying for seeding are always tough. Plus, the Hawks will probably be looking for revenge for last Friday night’s blowout loss in the UC.
Following that back-to-back, the Bulls play another tough set of back-to-backs on Friday and Saturday, at home against a surging Memphis Grizzlies team and then on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Griz are trying to secure the final playoff spot out West. The Bucks are trying to fight their way up to the eight spot here in the East. I expect both games will be played with postseason intensity.
The Bulls have two more potentially disastrous back-to-back situations. As noted, they play the Celtics in Chicago on April 7. They then have to travel to Cleveland for a game the next night. If the Celtics game is as rough as I think it’ll be, and the Cavaliers are trying to salvage a little pride, the Bulls could fall into a classic trap game.
The Bulls then finish the season in a back-to-back set at New York (and you can bet the Knicks would like to move up to the fifth seed to avoid a potential matchup with the Heat) and then at home against a suddenly red-hot Nets team (last night they helped the Bullies out by beating the Celtics for their first five-game winning streak since 2008).
What I’m saying is this: The Bulls have a great chance to finish with the East’s top seed…but their margin of error is smaller than Earl Boykins. And even some of their “easy” games — like against the Cavs and Nets — could be dangerous.
If they want to finish first, they’re going to have to go all out every night until the end of the season.