Bulls, Pacers get last two National Basketball Association playoff spots

The controversial practice of National Basketball Association teams resting key players during regular-season games took an ugly turn on Wednesday when several teams announced they were resting players in games that will decide the final two playoff spots. Three players will be out because of injury; Sean Kilpatrick with a hamstring, Quincy Acy with an ankle injury and Joe Harris with a shoulder injury.

The Bulls clinched the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference despite being tied with the Miami Heat at 41-41.

The Miami Heat were playoff virgins until 1992 when they got molly whopped by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the first round. The Pacers will also head to the postseason with a win of their own at home against the Atlanta Hawks, who locked up fifth place with a Tuesday night win.

As pleased as the Bulls were with the fact they made the playoffs, Wade delivered another dose of reality when asked if he thought the Bulls had had a successful season now that they qualified for the NBA's big dance.

"I'll be as interested as anybody to see how these talks progress as far as how teams go about resting their players".

Guard Archie Goodwin provided a rare bright spot with a team-high 20 points for the Nets. Sitting their starters for the final game of the season is just another example.

Now, he might help keep the Heat out of the playoffs.

"I don't want to end this season right now", he said.

Still, Spoelstra extracted every bit of talent and winning attitude out of his merry band of castoffs, misfits and journeymen, then meshed them all together to form an unlikely playoff contender. All the things we went through as a team, to continue to stick together and find a way? They have to be happy with the Nets decision to rest arguably their three best players.

"I'm going to be honest as a competitor, I understand it, I understand the point of view that some of you have, some of the press has and maybe other teams, I do understand it", Atkinson said to reporters in Chicago.

Dwyane Wade is proud of the Chicago Bulls for qualifying for the postseason after such an up-and-down season.

Miami needed a win, and either a loss by IN or Chicago, to reach the post-season.

He led Miami with 28 points, Hassan Whiteside scored 24 points and clinched the National Basketball Association rebound crown with 18 boards, Reed scored 16, Josh Richardson had 15 and James Johnson finished with 12 for the Heat.

"We all did our job to get us into the playoffs", said Jimmy Butler, who scored a game-high 25 points against the Nets. We just got unbelievable faith in each other and I got awesome amount of respect and love for these guys.

When everyone was saying tank, they were working to get better. "We have to find a way to win".

"We're still rooting for the young guys from Brooklyn". Most particularly because the Nets themselves are not even playing their best players. "I don't know. It's interesting".

Jokic went nine-of-14 from the field and 11-of-14 from the free-throw line and had 16 rebounds and eight assists. "So, it's hard to build an identity when you're not seeing the results, but I felt like in the last stretch we were able to really figure out, 'Hey, this is our blueprint".

"None of us are handling it well right now", Spoelstra said of not making the post-season.

  • Julie Sanders