Bucks, Bobcats, Raptors, Bulls: The Race For Eighth Isn't Over!

Stephen BrotherstonAnalyst IApril 5, 2010

MILWAUKEE - MARCH 1:  Andrew Bogut #6 of the Milwaukee Bucks slam dunks over Ime Udoka #5 and Bruce Bowen #12 of the San Antonio Spurs during the game on March 1, 2008 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The Spurs 96-94.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agreees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


When Derrick Rose said the Bulls were going to make the playoffs, there seemed to be a disconnect with reality.  But last few days may have changed everything.

The unlikely has happened to everyone involved.  The fight for eighth in the East could go down to the final day of the season.

Milwaukee Bucks

The once sure-fire Bucks suffered a shocking and unexpected set-back when their starting center and second-leading scorer Andrew Bogut was lost for the season.

The Bucks magic number to secure a playoff spot is down to just two games.  If they can take care of the Bulls on Tuesday, their worries are over and any worries in Charlotte and Toronto just got a little easier.

The Bucks still have New Jersey and Philadelphia to take advantage of this week if Chicago proves too tough at the moment.  So their playoff aspirations seem to be assured.

But if the Bucks don’t win two of three this week, as unlikely as it seems, the Bucks could be out!

Charlotte Bobcats

Charlotte had their chance to beat down the Bulls last week but couldn’t manage to get it done on the back-to-back night.

The result is this could be a very scary week for Bobcats fans as there is a good chance they go 0-3.  And with a magic number of four (because of the tie-breakers), an 0-3 week puts their fate into Chicago’s hands!

The Bobcats finish the season against Detroit, New Jersey, and the Chicago at home.  Unless Chicago losses a couple of games, the Bobcats could be playing for their playoff lives on the final day of the season.

Toronto Raptors

The only good news for the Toronto Raptors is that they own the tie-breakers against both Chicago and Charlotte.

Toronto had a chance to put a little distance between themselves and the Bulls on Sunday.  But Chris Bosh missed the lay-up as time expired after Sonny Weems stole the in-bounds pass under the Warriors basket and the Raptors lost by one.

Like the Bobcats, the Raptors face their own challenge this week as they play the Cavs, Celtics, and Hawks.  An 0-3 week is likely.

And like the Bobcats, the Raptors will be counting on the Bulls to drop some games so next week’s easier schedule holds some meaning.

The Raptors finish the schedule playing the Bulls, Pistons, and Knicks.  A win this week and a win against Chicago next week is imperative if the Raptors want to remain in control of their own destiny.

Chicago Bulls

After dropping 10 games in a row, the Bulls have gone 6-2 and couldn’t have wished for a better opportunity to sneak back into the playoffs.

The Bulls kept their playoff hopes alive by beating Charlotte on Saturday.  A win that gives them the tie-breaker if they can beat Charlotte again on the last day of the season.

And the Bulls start this week playing the suddenly weakened Milwaukee Bucks in a game that could change the face of the race for sixth place.  Then next week, the Bulls should have a chance to secure a playoff spot by beating Toronto and then Charlotte.

The only problem with this scenario is that in-between those big games, the Bulls can’t afford to lose to Cleveland or Boston and those games against Toronto and Charlotte are on the road.

But the opportunity is there for Derrick Rose’s  Bulls playoffs promise to come true.

 Milwaukee 42-34Charlotte 40-36Toronto 38-38Chicago 37-39
Magic #245 
Tues 6@ Chicagovs Atlanta@ Clevelandvs Milwaukee
Wed 7vs NJ@ NOvs Boston 
Thur 8   vs Cleveland
Fri 9@ Philly@ Houston@ Atlanta@ NJ
Sat  10vs Bostonvs Detroit  
Sun 11  vs Chicago@ Toronto
Mon 12vs Atlanta@ NJ@ Detroit 
Tues 13   vs Boston
Wed 14@ Bostonvs Chicagovs NY@ Charlotte
Projected6th Place 44-387th Place 42-408th Place 40-429th Place 40-42


Every team in this race faces a tough schedule.  It is unlikely even one of them gets through the next week without at least one significant scare or some measure of panic.

But the most likely result is the teams will end up in precisely the same playoff positions they find themselves now.  Possibly a win or two better than predicted, but still stuck in the same place.