Have you seen the standings lately?

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.

9 Responses to Have you seen the standings lately?

  1. Inception March 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    i hope they’ll have enough in the tank come playoff time, but trying to acquire the #1 seed will be worth it….the possibility of playing the pacers is way better than the sixers or even knicks (if they fall to #7)…magic in the 2nd round would still be tough, but it’s better than playing MIA.

    it’s going to be an interesting stretch run….

  2. jth95@cornell.edu'
    Jeremy March 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    I’d love it if the bulls got the 1 seed in the east but I’m hesitant to want them to “go all out every night” in these waning weeks of the season. The post season is going to be a long and difficult battle, and i’d like them to save a little energy for going all out and then some during that 1-2 month period. Of course the counter to this argument is that you don’t want the team to stop playing at high intensity, because come playoff time you want them to keep on rolling rather than having to find that level of play again. Either way thibs is the coach and these guys are going to go hard no matter what, so moot point i guess

  3. Jimmy March 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    Jeremy, In terms of slowing down for the playoffs, I would have to disagree. Having the first seed is crucial…It seems likely that Miami will stay at third, and assuming the top 3 move into the second round, the 2-3 matchup will be alot tougher than the 1-4 (4 being likely orlando, maybe knicks, and even less likely the hawks).

    Besides, if we do be hard nose basketball until playoff time, that means we either clinch the 1st seed, or we have celtics work their tail off for it. They are a bunch of old vets that although talented, have alot of wear on their knees. That paired with their problems at the 5 position, they wont be as scary in the playoffs.

  4. jth95@cornell.edu'
    Jeremy March 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    Boston, Miami, Orlando are all going to be tough matchups. The Bulls are having an amazing season but none of it matters til the postseason

  5. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath March 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    This team has good interchangeable parts. I have watched a lot of the games with the opposing team’s audio feed and they are always praising the Bulls depth. It will be interesting to see what Thibs does as the season winds down, but I don’t expect him to let off much until the very end.

  6. Luvabull March 15, 2011 at 11:56 pm #

    Agree with Jeremy. The Celts, Heat and the Magic are all going to be tough matchups in the playoffs. Anyone who looks at what the Heat have done (or failed to have done) in the regular season is kidding themselves that the Heat won’t be ready come playoff time. The Heat is the real dangerous team, cause even if only one of their big three gets on a roll, they’ll be very tough to beat.

    But I certainly didn’t think at the start of the season or even at the all-star break that the #1 seed is entirely possible. I was looking for a 50 plus wins and a 4th seed as a high mark for this season so it’s absolutely wonderful to be contending for 1st with only 17 games left.

    Don’t take the Nets lightly though. The Bulls have two games against the Nets and those are trap games. Don’t know why but for some reason the Nets have had the Bulls number even when the Nets are/were bad. I actually expected the Nets to compete for the 8th seed at the start of the season so they have underperformed. However, the trade for Deron Williams seems to have breathed a new life into Brooke Lopez and the entire team. They are playing much better. I am going to get my chance to see the Bulls play the Nets on Thursday. And I’ll be rooting loudly for the Bulls to pull off a road win in NJ.

  7. Jimmy March 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    I dont know why I failed to realize this point earlier, but having the 1st seed for the Bulls will be a huge help come playoffs, simply because of home court advantage. Bulls are 30-4 at home, 18-14 away….so clearly Bulls have a psychological boost when playing at home. Sure, it would be great if Bulls can play great on the road (like other elite teams), but this huge advantage at home is common for such a young and highly talented team.

    Hopefully we win the next two games, because if Boston slips one more time, I would not be suprised if Rivers takes the last two weeks easy and coasts for that 2nd seed.

  8. etta-castillo@aol.com'
    Etta December 26, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    This is basically the Sports tours truths your folks does
    not want one to discover !

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