By Nick Shepkowski-
(CBS) With just nine regular season games remaining for the Bulls and 11 for the Miami Heat, things are expected the heat up as both teams race for the #1 seed and home court advantage in their potential Eastern Conference Finals showdown. Sure, home court didn’t mean much as the Heat disposed of the Bulls in five games a year ago, but if the Bulls are to get by Miami, it would seem locking up home court advantage is a must.
The Bulls currently hold a two game lead in the standings over the Heat, but two games left against Miami could easily make up that differential. Here’s a deeper look at what remains before the playoffs for both teams:
Bulls – 9 games:
5 vs. above .500 teams (NYK, MIA, @MIA, DAL, @IND)
4 vs. under .500 teams (@DET, WAS, @CHA, CLE)
5 home games
4 road games
3 back-to-backs (@DET/vs. WAS, @CHA/@MIA, @IND/vs. CLE)
Heat – 11 games remaining:
6 vs. above .500 teams (BOS, @CHI, @NYK, CHI, HOU, @BOS)
5 vs. under .500 teams (CHA, @NJN, TOR, WAS, @WAS)
6 home games
5 road games
4 back-to-backs (@CHI/vs. CHA, @NYK/@NJN, vs. TOR/vs. CHI, vs. WAS/vs. HOU)
The #1 seed is much more important to the Bulls who will enter the potential series as the underdog barring an unforeseen injury to LeBron James. It seems at first look that it will take a minor miracle for the Bulls to not end up with the top seed in the east, but with Derrick Rose struggling to stay healthy all season and his ankle giving him more problems of late, falling to the #2 seed wouldn’t be the most surprising thing in the world.
And if that’s the case, the Bulls could be in for a world of hurt.
In addition to covering the Bulls for 670TheScore.com, Nick Shepkowski is the associate producer on The McNeil and Spiegel Show, weekdays 9am-1pm on 670 The Score. You can follow Nick on Twitter at @Shep670.