What a chaotic Sunday it was across the NBA — and especially in the Eastern Conference.
Eighty-one games in, all 30 teams in action for No. 82 and way too many questions about playoff seeding to keep track of them all — that’s the sort of day it was. A grand total of zero first-round matchups had been set by the end of play Saturday. Can’t it be like this every year?
All these teams alive with all this possibility, yet somehow it seemed as though the Bulls — even though they were waiting to find out which team would be the East’s No. 3 seed and their first-round foe — weren’t even in on the excitement. The Bulls have backed themselves into a No. 6 ditch and lately don’t seem good enough to do anything other than sleepily watch their own wheels spin.
Entering Sunday, however, the Bucks, Celtics and 76ers still were racing one another for position behind the top-seeded Heat (or trying to outfox one another to land a first-round matchup against the Bulls). The Nets, Cavaliers, Hawks and Hornets each had at least three possible landing spots from seeds 7 through 10. In the West, the Warriors, Mavericks, Jazz and Nuggets still were sorting out seeds 3 through 6.
That’s a good day. Again, let’s have more of this chaos next year, but with one caveat: the Bulls having an actual playoff pulse.
And here’s what’s happening:
WNBA Draft (6 p.m., ESPN)
Whose Atlanta dream comes true at No. 1 overall, slick 6-2 Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard’s or smooth 6-4 Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith’s? And what will the Sky do with … oops, never mind. They don’t have any picks.
Mariners at White Sox (3:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
The Sox are 14-6 in their last 20 home openers but only 2-5 in the last seven of those games, all of which has — let’s face it — utterly nothing to do with what happens this time. No extra charge, friends, for the useless information.
NBA play-in: 7s vs. 8s (6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., TNT)
It’s Cavaliers at Nets in the opening game, with the winning team ticketed for Boston in the first round. It’s Clippers at Timberwolves in the second game, with the winning team headed to Memphis. And the losers? They play on with the play-in, each needing a ”W” on Friday to stay alive.
Kings at Blackhawks (7:30 p.m., NBCSCH)
The surprisingly good Kings are in reasonably solid shape playoff-wise, but they don’t have enough wiggle room to be out there messing around. Remember wiggle room, Hawks fans?
Cubs at Pirates (11:35 a.m., Marquee)
If there’s one thing the rebuilding Cubs can count on, it’s that they’re still better than the Pirates. Wait, they are, aren’t they? Kyle Hendricks takes the bump after a strong effort on Opening Day.
NBA play-in: 9s vs. 10s (6 p.m. and 8:30, ESPN)
Another doubleheader, this one of the win-or-go-home variety. We’ve got Hornets at Hawks in the East, Spurs at Pelicans in the West and — haven’t you figured out how this works yet? — a pair of 7-vs.-8 losers awaiting whoever comes out on top.
Mariners at White Sox (1:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
It was supposed to be Lucas Giolito’s second start, a reminder of how up against it the Sox’ pitching staff might be in the early going. On the other hand, this would be a great day for four or five guys to combine on a no-hitter.
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Cubs at Rockies (7:40 p.m., Marquee)
We didn’t have time to get used to Kris Bryant in a Giants uniform, but this Rockies thing is going to last. Too soon to ask whose cap he’ll choose for his Hall of Fame plaque?
NBA play-in finales (times TBD, ESPN, TNT)
Time to make it official: Which poor suckers are getting served up to the top-seeded Heat and Suns in Round 1?
NBA playoffs begin
Play-in, shmay-in — the real thing is finally here. There are four Game 1s today (check your local listings) and four more Sunday. The best part of all? No more than one of those eight contests will involve the Bulls losing.
Blackhawks at Predators (11:30 a.m., NBCSCH)
The bad news is the Hawks are just playing out the string. The good news is they’ll be getting their rockabilly on by midafternoon on Lower Broadway.
Georgia spring game (noon, ESPN2)
Just in case you forgot what football looks like, might as well take a sneak peak at the defending national champs. Spoiler alert: The Dawgs are still pretty good.
Galaxy at Fire (7 p.m., Ch. 9)
The Fire have given up a league-low two goals in six games. That’s even stingier than your Cousin Earl, who’s been splicing cable off neighboring RVs since before these players could walk.
Rays at White Sox (1:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
Same old, same old: Nobody is picking the Rays in the American League East this season. It gets kind of ridiculous after a while, doesn’t it?
Cubs at Rockies (2:10 p.m., Marquee)
A four-game series concludes, after which it’s back to Wrigley Field to face — hey, would you look at that? — the Rays. What a coincidence that they just happened to be in town already.