The Chicago Bulls– who have all but wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference— will play four games in seven days this week. They start the week off with two games against two of the worst teams in the NBA, and finish it by facing the two reigning conference champions.
Though a Derrick Rose/John Wall match up is theoretically tantalizing, there's a good chance that Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau will hold Rose out of Monday night's game after a hard fought, and hard hitting, overtime victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. Rose looked as good as he has since his most recent return from injury, but after getting hacked in the face on multiple occasions, Thibodeau may give him a rest.
The Bulls won by 31 points the last time they were out in Charlotte, and it wouldn't be much of a surprise if they got close to that number again. This could be another game where Thibodeau holds out whichever multitude of Bulls players are dealing with injuries, be it Rose or Luol Deng or Richard Hamilton, especially considering the opponent that immediately follows this one.
Thursday, April 19: at Miami Heat (7:00 p.m. CT, TNT)
The Bulls will wrap up their season series with the Heat, and though TV executives likely hoped at the beginning of the season that the No. 1 seed in the East would be up for grabs at this point, that's highly unlikely to be the case. Both teams may play hard out of pride, or they may take it easy and more or less punt this one with an eye on the East finals.
The Bulls' whirlwind week ends with the defending NBA champs. This game should essentially be meaningless to the Bulls by this point, but the Mavs will likely still be clawing for playoff position in a crowded Western Conference.