Pacers to rest all five starters
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.
So here's the scenario: If Miami loses at Memphis while Indiana beats the Bucks, then if the Pacers beat the Heat on Friday, Indiana would have to win just one of its last two games to clinch the No. 1 seed. Of course, nothing is guaranteed these days for the Pacers, who have gone 3-8 in their last 11.
Miami also has games at Atlanta and Washington, which can be unpredictable with one team looking to rest up for the playoffs and the other still battling for playoff position.
Would the Heat rest players and settle for the No. 2 seed, thereby avoiding the winner of a potential Bulls-Nets series in the second round? Well, the Heat is 2-6 against those two teams this season, having been swept by Brooklyn on Tuesday.
There's another game on Wednesday that could affect the Bulls' playoff opponent: Charlotte at Washington. The Bobcats are a game behind the Wizards for sixth place and a victory tonight would clinch the season series 3-1. So there's a chance Charlotte could end up in the No. 6 slot.
As far as the Bulls, they need to keep winning to have a chance at the No. 3 seed, because Toronto has an easy schedule -- home against Philadelphia tonight, then hone and home with New York, at Detroit and Milwaukee at home. The Raptors might lose before the season ends, but since the Bulls lose the tiebreaker with Toronto, winning out provides the most realistic chance of landing the No. 3 seed.
After playing the Timberwolves tonight, the Bulls finish with Detroit at home, at New York, Orlando at home and at Charlotte.