Although the Chicago Bulls failed to move up the Eastern Conference standings after the final game of the 2013-14 NBA season, they got their wish by not having to face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs.
The Nets, one of the hottest teams in the league since Jan. 1, dropped to the sixth seed after losing their final two games to the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers. Brooklyn will now be matched up with the third seed Toronto Raptors, while the Bulls will face the fifth seed Washington Wizards.
The Wizards are considered to be a team on the rise. Led by dynamic point guard John Wall, Washington has the ability to score quickly and in bunches. However, even though the Wizards are great high-scoring team, they do not pose the same threat to the Bulls as the Nets do. Daron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are all battle tested in the playoffs. No team in the Eastern Conference wanted to face the Nets in the first round.
If the Bulls can escape the Wizards in the opening series of the postseason, Chicago will more than likely go against the Indiana Pacers in the conference semifinals. The Pacers, who have the best record in the east, accomplished their 56-26 record despite losing their last six out of 10 games. Indiana is at their most vulnerable, and if they cross paths with the Bulls, it could result in a second round victory for Chicago.
Nevertheless, bypassing both the Nets and Miami Heat in the first two rounds could benefit the Bulls greatly in the playoffs. Expect a lot more basketball out of the Bulls now that the postseason is finally here.