Bulls not thinking playoffs ... yet

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Sitting just two games out of the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs, it looks to be as good a time as any for the Chicago Bulls to start looking toward the postseason.

Or, perhaps not.

“No, I’m not even thinking about (the playoffs) ... we go game-to-game here,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We’re not looking ahead.”

For Thibodeau, concentrating on the Denver Nuggets for Monday’s game at the United Center and then the Portland Trail Blazers for Thursday’s game at home is more than enough to fill his days.

There actually is plenty on the line for the Bulls in regard to the postseason, even if Thibodeau doesn’t want to put much thought into it at this point. The Bulls, Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks shared the same 36-29 record heading into Sunday’s NBA action.

That means that while they are two games from moving up to the fourth spot, the Bulls are also one game away from falling as far as seventh in the Eastern Conference standings.

“As far as we’re concerned, we’re not in it,” Thibideau said. “Until we’re in, we’re not in. So we have to keep driving and improving.’’

The only Eastern Conference team to have clinched a playoff berth is the Miami Heat. The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have clinched a spot in the Western Conference.

The good news for the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference is that their chances of making the postseason appear secure. The ninth-place team, the Toronto Raptors, started the day eight games out of the eighth spot, currently held by the Milwaukee Bucks.