With four games remaining in the NBA regular season, the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors have already clinched a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
But the race is only just beginning for the Bulls and Raptors. Entering play today, the Bulls are tied with the Raptors for the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls and Raptors both currently possess a record of 46-32, and that mark is good enough for the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
The problem is only one team can be the third seed, a spot that might be the most valuable in the Eastern Conference.
The reason why the third seed in the Eastern Conference is valuable is because of the current implosion of the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are currently the top seed in the Eastern Conference but the expectation is that they will be overtaken by the Miami Heat before the season concludes next week. That means that the Pacers, the team that has gone 3-7 in their last 10 games, will be the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
Given the implosion of the Pacers, there is a growing belief that the Bulls would be able to best Indiana in a 7-game series in the second round of the playoffs.
But, first the Bulls have to secure the three seed. In order to do that, the Bulls have to outplay the Raptors in their final four games of the season. Fortunately, the Bulls and Raptors play on the same days until the end of the season.
On Friday, the Bulls have a home game against the Detroit Pistons. Meanwhile, the Raptors play the New York Knicks.
After a disappointing start to the season, the Knicks have improved their play in the second half of the season. Neither the Knicks nor Pistons are playoff teams but the Knicks are the better team of the two. Needless to say, the Bulls have the favorable matchup on Friday.