All Bull - Chicago Bulls
Only two of the eight first-round NBA playoff matchups are settled heading into the final night of the regular season. But the league did announce some of the starting times for Game 1.
The Bulls will host either Brooklyn or Washington on Sunday at 6 p.m., on TNT and Comcast Sports Net.
The full Sunday lineup is at San Antonio at noon (TNT), at Miami at 2:30 (ABC), with Portland at Houston the nightcap at 8:30 (TNT).
The Saturday lineup will include Atlanta at Indiana; along with games at Toronto, Oklahoma City and the L.A. Clippers.
More details will be available later tonight.
Brooklyn had a chance to clinch the No. 5 seed on Tuesday at home against New York, but missed badly. Despite starting most of their regulars, the Nets lost 109-98 in a game that wasn’t very close in the second half.
The Bulls’ first-round playoff opponent remains in doubt heading into Wednesday’s final night of the regular season, but a scenario where the Bulls are No. 4 and Washington moves up to No. 5 has become more realistic.
If Brooklyn loses on Wednesday at Cleveland and the Wizards win at Boston, then Washington
will be No. 5, while the Nets drop to No. 6. There’s a good chance Brooklyn rests many of its regulars against the Cavs and coach Jason Kidd didn’t place much importance on the outcome when speaking to reporters after Tuesday’s game.
This video of Joakim Noah learning about the snowfall after Monday's win over Orlando is getting a lot of play nationally. Some strange reporter comments put a little bit of a damper on the moment. I astutely kept my mouth shut while this was going on. Sometimes, you should just sit back and let things happen.
Interesting news out of Indiana, where coach Frank Vogel will try resting his players to solve the team's bewildering slump. All five Pacers starters are expected to sit during Wednesday's game at Milwaukee.
Does this mean Indiana is conceding the No. 1 seed in the East to Miami? Actually, no.
The Heat has a tough game on Wednesday at Memphis, while the Pacers could conceivably win without their starters in Milwaukee. It's the Bucks, after all.
Indiana's starters will be back on Friday at Miami. If the Pacers can somehow win that one, they'd win the season series 3-1 over the Heat.
Joakim Noah dished out 120 assists in the month of March. The Bulls played a ton of games in March (16 in 31 days), but that's still an impressive average of 7.5.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, that is the most assists by a center in a single month since Wilt Chamberlain had 155 in March, 1968. That was the year Wilt decided he'd done enough scoring in his career, so he led the league in assists with 8.6.
Among all players, Noah finished tied for 7th in assists during March. Here's the list:
1. Rajon Rondo, Bos 11.1
2. Chris Paul, LAC 10.3
3. John Wall, Was 9.0
4. Ty Lawson, Den 8.8
5. Ricky Rubio, Min 8.6
6. Kendall Marshall, LAL 7.9
7. Joakim Noah, Bulls 7.5
(tie) Kemba Walker, Cha 7.5
Fred Hoiberg and Kevin Ollie never made the playoffs with the Bulls. But on a night when those two former Bulls squared off as coaches in the NCAA Tournament, the current Bulls clinched a playoff spot.
The Bulls turned in a lackluster performance Friday and lost to Portland 91-74 at the United Center. But when New York lost at Phoenix later in the night, a playoff berth became official.
By the way, Ollie's Connecticut squad beat Hoiberg and Iowa State in the East regional semis. Some might say Hoiberg was at a disadvantage having lost one of his top scorers last week to a broken foot. I say he had more than enough to win with.
Since Stevenson guard Jalen Brunson is the son of former Bulls player and assistant coach Rick Brunson, this is an appropriate topic for All Bulls.
Brunson was spectacular in Friday's state semifinal loss to Whitney Young, scoring a state finals record 56 points, including 26 in the fourth quarter. The 6-4 junior guard hit 16 of 30 shots, 7 of 14 3-pointers and 17 of 23 free throws.
The Peoria Journal Star ran a photo from the game where Brunson appeared to be raising middle fingers to the crowd. Here is video of that moment late in the contest. Brunson swung his arms in frustration after a made 3-pointer was waved off due to a foul coming before the shot. Judge for yourself, but it didn't appear that he was gesturing at Whitney Young fans, as has been depicted by some.
Joakim Noah left the United Center before tip-off of Monday's game against Minnesota due to an illness. Noah has built a career-long streak with 16 straight double-figure rebound games.
This would have been a good matchup with Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, who ranks second in the league in rebounding at 13.0 per game. Also, Minnesota center Nikola Vucevic has averaged 22.5 points and 12 rebounds in his last four games.
Instead, the Bulls will start a front line of Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. After this game, they'll leave town for the six-game, ice-show road trip.
The Bulls' record for most consecutive double-figure rebound games is 43 by Dennis Rodman.
Another day, another injury for the Bulls.
Carlos Boozer will sit out Saturday's game against Atlanta at the United Center because of a sore right knee. Coach Tom Thibodeau said the injury occurred sometime during Thursday's win over Boston and an MRI exam was negative. Boozer did not practice on Friday.
The Bulls are down to two players who have played in all 32 games this season -- Taj Gibson and Mike Dunleavy.
Another storyline for this game is ex-Bull Kyle Korver trying to extend his NBA record streak of 102 straight games with a made 3-pointer.
It's not unusual for NBA players to stop by the opposing locker room after games, usually to greet former teammates.
Joakim Noah met some resistance, though, when he walked into the Oklahoma City locker room after Thursday's 107-95 loss. Noah was there to greet former Bull and fellow French speaker Thabo Sefolosha, no doubt. But he was stopped by a former enemy from Boston, Thunder center Kendrick Perkins.
There were still players and reporters in the locker room at the time, so plenty of witnesses to the verbal exchange between Noah and Perkins. Anthony Slater from The Oklahoman sent this account:
Perkins: "They just let anybody in the locker room?"
Noah: "Come on, man."
Perkins: "I'm just asking."
Noah: "Come on, man."
Perkins: "Just let anyone in the locker room now?"