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How the Bobcats Could Knock the Bulls Out

As it always seems as we get closer towards the end of the year, the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference is up for grabs and will be given to a team that, in all reality, does not deserve to be there.  This year’s lucky contestants include the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Bobcats, and Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers.  For the sake of argument, I am throwing the Bucks and Pacers out of the argument as they are both three and a half games out with seven games to play in the season.  As for the other three teams, the Pistons currently stand at 36-38, a game up on the Bulls and two games ahead of the Bobcats.  Let’s go ahead and break down all three teams and see who will come out on top in the East standings, and get those coveted first round matchups against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic.

Detroit Pistons, 36-38, 7th in East

My oh my, what a season it has been for the Detroit Pistons.  Expected by many to compete for the Eastern Conference crown, Michael Curry has had this team under-achieving all year and are fighting just to stay alive in the playoff hunt.  The big news came when they traded for Allen Iverson on November 3rd, a move made to give the Pistons that “star” player that could carry them in the playoffs.  What they lost in the deal has turned out to be a much bigger deal in Chauncey Billups.  The Nuggets have Billups running the show in Denver and currently stand at 48-26, good for 3rd place in the Western Conference.  Iverson has not meshed well with the team all year and have survived on Rip Hamilton’s outstanding season and Rodney Stuckey’s breakout year.  The Pistons have eight games left on their schedule with just two games against teams with a winning percentage over .500, along with crucial games against the Bulls and Bobcats.  Five of their games are on the road, where the Pistons are just 17-19, but when this team is on they play the best basketball of the three teams in discussion.  Here is a breakdown of how I see the rest of their games playing out:

@ New Jersey- W

@ Philadelphia- L

Charlotte- W

@ New York- W

New Jersey- W

@ Indiana- L

Chicago- W

@ Miami- L

Final Record (projected): 41-41

Chicago Bulls, 36-40, 8th Place in East

The Bulls have been an interesting team all year that have been led by the presence of rookie Derrick Rose and the great play of Ben Gordon and the emergence of Tyrus Thomas.  Trade deadline transactions of John Salmons and Brad Miller have also helped the team in March.  Chicago won seven of eight starting on March 14th but have dropped two straight to Toronto and Indiana and now find themselves in a tight race to end the year.  To finish their year, five of their last six games are at home and they play just one team with a winning record.  On paper, it seems as though the Bulls will take the final playoff spot, but I’m not so sure that it’s a given this team will find its stride going into the playoffs.  Key games include at home versus Charlotte and at Detroit that could decide if they play in the second season.  Their great home record of 24-12 should help secure a spot, but it will be close and the game against Charlotte will be important.

New Jersey- W

NY Knicks- W

Philadelphia- L

Charlotte- L

@ Detroit- L

Toronto- W

Final Record (projected): 39-43

If the Charlotte Bobcats are able to sneak into the playoffs this year, Boris Diaw will be a big reason why.

If the Charlotte Bobcats are able to sneak into the playoffs this year, Boris Diaw will be a big reason why.

Charlotte Bobcats, 34-40, 9th in East

The Bobcats are a very interesting team that also have really had two different seasons.  In early December, Jason Richardson was traded in return for Raja Bell and Boris Diaw.  Bell has been alright, but the story has been Diaw, who has been outstanding and brought the Bobcats back into the playoff race.  The Bobcats have gone 27-23 since the arrival of Bell and Diaw but probably have the hardest road to the playoffs of the three teams mentioned.  They play six road games to just two home games and play four teams with a winning record.  Still, winning three in a row including wins over Philadelphia and the Lakers has this team rolling at the right time and will stay in the hunt until the finals game.

@ Boston- L

Miami- W

@ Detroit- L

Philadelphia- W

@ Oklahoma City- W

@ Chicago- W

@ New Jersey- W

@ Orlando- L

Final Record (projected): 39-43

Looking at the standings, it will take an excellent performance from the Charlotte Bobcats to sneak in the playoffs but it isn’t out of the question.  They are playing very well right now and the Bulls are in a bit of a lull.  Winning on the road is never easy but it is something they will need to do if they want to get into the playoffs.  Detroit should be in and it makes sense as they are the best team out of these three.  Time will tell.

March 31, 2009 - Posted by | Basketball, Chicago Bulls, NBA | ,

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