With just nine games left to play, let's take a quick look at how the Bulls' and Raptors' schedules shake out down the stretch.
The Bulls come into Tuesday night's game against the Suns trailing the Raptors by a game for the final playoff spot in the East. In theory though, the Bulls are actually two games behind, since the Raptors own the tiebreaker between the two teams. Here's how each team's schedule breaks down:
Bulls' last nine:
Raptors' last nine:
at Cleveland Cavaliers
Neither team has a particularly easy stretch, although, at least on paper, it would appear that the Raptors have an easier game or two. But both teams have been so inconsistent that you never know what's going to happen. Did you really ever think the Bulls would win five in a row, on the road, against five pretty solid Western Conference teams? I didn't think so. If the Bulls are going to make the playoffs, obviously they have to win every game they can. Having said that, they absolutely must win at Toronto on April 11. That might as well be a de facto playoff game. If the teams come into that game even and the Bulls can squeak out a win in that game, they will control their own destiny. If they lose that game, the season will probably be over because there is too much ground to make up.
Of course, if the Bulls come out and play the way they did against Miami a couple more times then it's a moot point anyway, because it probably won't matter at that point. Either way, the berth is there for the taking.