Advertisement

One play-in match officially set: Bulls vs. Hawks for East 9/10 game

NBA: APR 01 Hawks at Bulls
NBA: APR 01 Hawks at Bulls

We've seen it coming for weeks, but the Philadelphia 76ers win over the Grizzlies made it official:

The Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls will face each other in the East 9 vs. 10 seed Play-In game on April 17. Where they will play that game remains undecided, although Chicago is most likely (the Bulls are two up in the loss column and own the tiebreaker between the teams).

The loser of that 9/10 game is done for the season. No playoffs, just a lot of speculation about stars being traded (Zach LaVine and Trae Young are expected to be available again for the right price) and a lot of questions about what comes next for a franchise at a crossroads.

The winner of the game advances to take on the loser of the 7/8 Play-In game (currently Miami and Philadelphia, although Indiana could fall into one of those slots). The winner of that second game — the best outcome for Chicago or Atlanta — will be rewarded with a first-round playoff matchup with No. 1 seed Boston.

The Bulls lead the season series against the Hawks 2-1 (they play three times), but Atlanta won the most recent matchup last Monday 113-101.

Chicago was in the play-in a season ago as the No. 10 seed, where they beat Toronto, then in the second game had a fourth-quarter lead against Miami before falling (the Heat went on to make the NBA Finals).

The play-in matchup became official when the 76ers beat the Grizzlies on Saturday, making it impossible for Chicago to climb over Philly into the No. 8 seed (Brooklyn, sitting in 11th, is too far back to catch the Hawks for the No. 10 seed).