Chicago Bulls Solidify Hold of 10th Spot with Win Over Raptors

Zach Lavine With Bulls Background

  • The Chicago Bulls beat the Toronto Raptors 122-113 on Thursday night.
  • With the win, Chicago is now three full games aead of Toronto in the race for the 10th seed in the East.
  • The 10th seed will earn the last slot in the Play-in Tournament for the 7th and 8th playoff spots.

The Chicago Bulls’ 122-113 win over the Toronto Raptors on Thursday worked for them two ways. First, they cut the lead of the 8th seeded Knicks to just two games and second, they distanced one full game of separation between them and the 11th seeded Raptors.

Superstars Zach Lavine and Nikola Vucevic each scored 22 points to lead the Bulls. Meanwhile, Daniel Theis had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Lauri Markkanen and Coby White added 18 and 15 points, respectively off the bench.

Three in a Row

With their win on Thursday, the Bulls have now won three straight games and have opened their current five game road trip with a 2-0 record. It’s only the third time this season that Chicago has won three straight games. They have not won more than three in a row this season and will go for their first winning streak of at least four games since December 2017 on Friday in Atlanta. The Bulls are currently listed as two point underdogs against the Hawks at online sportsbook SportsBetting.ag.

The Hawks are currently in 5th place in the East but are just four games ahead of the Bulls who are now in 10th place in the conference team standings so there’s still a chance they can catch up. Even if they can’t, Chicago can still make the playoffs via the backdoor.

If the playoffs were to start today, Chicago would earn the final slot in the Play-in Tournament and still have a chance to get to the playoffs despite a record that is six games below the .500 mark. Right now, the Bulls are three games clear of the 11th seeded Toronto Raptors, so it’s either they can make up ground against the Hawks and make the playoffs outright, or keep safe of Toronto and get one of the four spot in the play-in tournament for the 7th and 8th seeds.

The Play-in Tournament

The NBA first instituted the play-in tournament during the Orlando bubble. But last season, it was just for the 8th seed. This season, it’s a play-in tournament for the 7th and 8th seeds. Technically however, only the 7th and 8th ranked teams can get the 7th seed but at least teams no. 9 and 10 will get a chance to enter the playoffs despite not making the traditional Top 8.

Getting to the postseason from the 10th position however, would need two victories. First, the Bulls need to beat the 9th seed in Game 2 of the tournament. Then they will have to beat the loser of the 7 vs 8 seed who play in Game 1. Although that’s not an easy task, getting a chance to fight for a playoff spot is always better than outright entry to the Draft Lottery. Well, unless of course that’s the plan.

But given that Chicago made the trade for Vucevic who is locked for the next two seasons, the Bulls believe they can win now. Chicago has two stars in LaVine and Vucevic and they have a veteran support group led by Thaddeus Young, Tomas Satoransky, Daniel Theis, and Garrett Temple. Then they also have young talents like Lauri Markkanen, Coby White, Patrick Williams, and Troy Brown Jr. No doubt this team is going to fight for a spot in the postseason, via the backdoor or outright.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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