NBA: Sunday's Game Will All but Decide the Eighth Seed in the East

Chris Murphy@@SeeMurphsTweetsAnalyst IApril 10, 2010

CHICAGO - MARCH 30: Head coach Vinny Del Negro of the Chicago Bulls talks with Derrick Rose #1 during a game against the Phoenix Suns at the United Center on March 30, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Suns defeated the Bulls 111-105. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees 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

The Chicago Bulls have put themselves in a bad position, losing to the now 12-win New Jersey Nets for the second time this season Friday night, after the Bosh-less Raptors predictably lost to the Atlanta Hawks.

This makes Sunday's game against the Raptors in Toronto a must-win for the Bulls, as the Raptors own the tiebreaker no matter the outcome of the game.

If the Bulls lose, they will be one game behind the Raptors, but in reality it would be two games, due to the Raptors owning the tiebreaker, with two games remaining for both teams.

The Raptors would then clinch the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a win in the team's remaining two games against the Detroit Pistons on the road, directly after playing the Bulls, and the New York Knicks at home, who currently own a combined record of 54-104, or a Chicago Bulls' loss.

The Raptors, however, have simply been lost without Chris Bosh, losing all three games without him.

Those games were against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, and the Atlanta Hawks, who own three out of the four top spots in the Eastern Conference. Not only that, but the Raptors were able to somewhat stay in those games even without Bosh. 

Beating the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks is a whole different ballgame.

If the Raptors lose to Chicago, the Bulls magic number would be two, meaning the team would require either two wins by themselves, two losses by the Raptors, or a combo of a win by itself and a loss by the Raptors in the two remaining games.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, the team's two remaining games are at home against the Boston Celtics and on the road against the Charlotte Bobcats on back-to-back days.

The Bulls have no one to blame but themselves after being handed a win against a Lebron-less Cavaliers, one which the team barely was able to squeak out. Chicago then lost to the Nets with a chance to take a one-game cushion on the Raptors.

Had the Bulls taken care of business against the Nets, then beaten the Raptors Sunday, their magic number would have been one.

Instead, the Bulls find themselves face-to-face with elimination, depending on one road game against a team that has beaten them twice by a combined 42 points.

Bosh put up 28 points and 11 rebounds in one of those games, and 25 and 12 in the other on 18-for-33 combined shooting.

The Raptors, however, are without him, so if the Bulls were to lose Sunday's game, it would just be another tally on the "no one else to blame" board.


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