Can Bulls Hold Off Heat in Race for No.1 Seed in 2012 NBA Playoffs?
Desperately trying to hold on to a 2½ game lead atop the Eastern Conference standings, the (47-15) Chicago Bulls travel to sunny South Florida for their last meeting of the regular season against the (44-17) Miami Heat.
After dropping the head-to-head series opener, the Bulls have come back strong, winning two straight against the Heat. The last time these teams met dates back to April 12th in Chitown, when the Bulls defeated Miami 96-86 despite not having Derrick Rose on the court.
“Of course I would want to come back as soon as possible to get my rhythm going,” said Rose, who has missed two games in a row and a total of 25 for the season. “My biggest thing is my heath now. Just getting me healthy I should be able to iron out the wrinkles. I would want to play as soon as possible. I miss the game.”
A win would secure Chicago the top seed in the upcoming NBA playoffs with just about a week left in the regular season. The problem is that the Bulls come into tonight’s game losers of three straight at the American Airlines Arena.
Unfortunately for Bulls fans, a fourth straight loss in South Beach may not be so far-fetched, especially considering Rose (foot) and All-Star Luol Deng (ribs) are still pretty banged up. Nonetheless, Chicago would still have a chance to secure the conference’s top spot, as a total collapse would be the only way Miami could catch them.
After Miami, Chicago will finish the season at home versus Dallas and Cleveland, with a trip to Indiana sandwiched in between. Home court all the way through the NBA Finals is exactly what the Bulls are aiming for, but jeopardizing the health of their key players would not take priority over anything else.
“You try to put as many things in your favor as possible,” said Bulls head coach, Tom Thibodeau. “Is (the No. 1 seed) a must? I always think if you can get it, you get it. If not, whatever your circumstances are you make the best of those circumstances.”