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The Bulls give themselves an ‘opportunity’ and seal their place in the play-in sports

jamal collierESPN23:52 Eastern Time3 minute read

Nikola Vucevic falls at y-1

Nikola Vucevic falls at y-1.

CHICAGO — The The Chicago Bulls clinched their spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament on Tuesday, clinching at least the No. 10 seed in the conference despite a 123-105 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

A 117-113 loss to the Orlando Magic on Tuesday helped clinch the Bulls’ postseason spot and finalized the top 10 teams to reach the postseason in the East. However, the Bulls blew an opportunity to move up the standings with a home loss to the Hawks, who were playing without All-Star guard Trae Young (illness).

“At least we’re happy to be in it,” Bulls center Nikola Vucevic said after the loss. “Obviously, it hasn’t been the season we wanted so far. We were hoping to be higher in the standings, but it is what it is. It will give us a chance to make the playoffs.”

The Bulls are locked into the play-in tournament with Miami’s win on Tuesday, and could have moved up to ninth with a win. However, Chicago never led this game as the Hawks opened the game on a 13-2 run.

That made securing a postseason berth Tuesday bittersweet for Bulls guard Zach LaVine.

“Every one of these games is a must-win game for us,” LaVine said after scoring 26 points. “Obviously we didn’t do well enough. They wanted it more than we did. It sucks to have that kind of result at this point in the season.”

Meanwhile, the Hawks improved to 3-5 without Young and have the same record as the Toronto Raptors. Chicago is two games behind Atlanta and Toronto in the standings with three games remaining in the regular season.

“There are still three more games to go,” Vucevic said. “Obviously, we are in a difficult situation.

“We can keep fighting until the end. Keep fighting these next three games, focus on ourselves, try to play better and improve the things we need to improve and get into the play-in and try to play the best we can.” .”



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