Chicago Bulls have clear-cut way to avoid play-in tournamentRyan Heckmanon April 5, 2022 at 12:00 pm

With just four games to go in the 2021-2022 regular season, the Chicago Bulls have yet to clinch anything more than just a spot in the play-in tournament.

However, with the way the season began, getting stuck in the play-in tournament would be a monumental letdown. The Bulls want and deserve more than that, at this point.

Sure, they have been in the midst of a serious backslide over the past month or so. At one point, they were in first place in the Eastern Conference just a little over a month ago. But, the Eastern Conference is as tight as it’s ever been.

To be fair, the Bulls are only 5.5 games out of first place with a record of 45-33. Obviously, they don’t have a chance to get back to the top spot with four games remaining. But, that goes to show just how close the conference is this season.

If the Chicago Bulls want to avoid the 2022 NBA play-in tournament, they have a clear-cut way to do so.

Tuesday night, the Bulls take on a bitter division rival in the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are still playing for playoff positioning, a couple of games behind the first-place Miami Heat. If the Bulls were to beat Milwaukee, they are guaranteed a top-six playoff spot which would mean they do not have to participate in the play-in tournament.

Should the Bulls lose, though, they will have to depend on some help in order to guarantee a top-six spot on Tuesday night.

The Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Orlando Magic tonight, and the Bulls own the tiebreaker with Cleveland. With the Cavs sitting in the seventh seed at 43-36, they would guarantee the Bulls a top-six spot if they lost to the Magic.

Now, the Magic are currently losers of six in a row and are dead last in the Eastern Conference. Depending on Orlando to get the job done is not ideal, therefore the Bulls should do their part in beating Milwaukee.

Not only would a win over the Bucks guarantee a surefire playoff spot, but it would give the Bulls some much-needed confidence down the stretch. They have had a tough time beating any of the top three or four teams in either conference, but a win over the Bucks would do wonders for this group.

Chicago has clearly lacked a voice and physicality over the past month and a half, and if they can muster up the energy and effort to win a game like this, maybe that will carry them into the postseason.

After all, when the postseason starts, it’s a whole new game. The Bulls have the talent to compete with some of the top teams in the league, but where they need to find a new gear is in the grit department. Beat Milwaukee, and go from there.

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