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NBA Playoffs- Bulls capture East's No.1 seed


PhilBoxing.com




AFTER weeks of looking over their shoulders and constantly finding the Miami Heat closing on their heels, the Chicago Bulls can finally rest easy.

It's official, the Bulls will enter the NBA playoffs as the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference. And they didn't need a single basket to attain the top ranking as the Boston Celtics crushed the Heat, 78-66, Tuesday night at the TD Garden in Boston.

The loss dropped Miami's won-lost record to 46-19, making Chicago uncatchable at 48-16 with two games left in the schedule. But the Heat did lock up the No.2 seed when the playoffs kick off April 28. The Bulls and Heat are in a collision course to meet in the Eastern Conference Finals, which will be a rematch of last year's battle won by the Heat in five games.

The Bulls play the Pacers in Indianapolis on Wednesday before closing out the season Thursday night at the United Center against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both games have now been been rendered meaningless since the Pacers have already clinched the No.3 seed while the Cavs are out of playoffs contention with a dismal 21-43 record.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau had planned to play his starters at full force but now that the No.1 seed is on hand, Derrick Rose and company might not play "extended minutes."

Miami's Big 3 did not see action in Tuesday night's debacle. LeBron James nursed minor injuries, Wade tended to a dislocated finger while Chris Bosh was still bothered by hamstring problems.

The Celtics also had their share of injuries which led to stars sitting out. A hip flexor sidelined Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo was downed by a sore lower back while Ray Allen was hindered by a bad ankle.

Paul Pierce did play for 17 minutes and scored eight points, but it was seldom-used Sasha Pavlovic who carried the day for the Celtics. The former Cavalier drilled 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter where Boston turned a 52-52 tie into a 78-60 blowout with 1:07 left to play. (Fakhouri Amjid)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Fakhouri Amjid.


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