DeMar DeRozan, Bulls Clinch 2022 NBA Playoff Spot with Cavs' Loss to Magic

Erin WalshApril 6, 2022

Chicago Bulls' DeMar DeRozan brings the ball up court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

The Chicago Bulls clinched a top-six seed in the 2022 NBA postseason Tuesday by way of the Cleveland Cavaliers' 120-115 loss to the Orlando Magic.

While Chicago has struggled of late, it no longer has to worry about falling to the Eastern Conference play-in tournament thanks to Cleveland's loss.

This marks the first time since 2017 that the Bulls will be in the playoffs, and it's all thanks to the highly productive combination of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine.

DeRozan, who is in his first season in Chicago, is averaging 28.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game while shooting 50.3 percent from the floor and 35.5 percent from beyond the arc. He has been the perfect complement to LaVine.

However, Chicago's success can also be attributed to the additions of Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, in addition to the emergence of young players like Ayo Dosunmu, Coby White and Patrick Williams.

Unfortunately for the team, Ball has been sidelined since January with a knee injury. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported there is "less and less optimism" he will return this season.

Caruso and Williams also missed significant time this season, but they are both back in the lineup.

While the Bulls are now officially in the playoffs, their work has only just begun. It won't be easy for the franchise to compete with teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers, so Chicago will need everyone outside of Ball healthy and on their game in order to make the most of the opportunity.