The Chicago Bulls clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference for the second consecutive season in about the most anti-climactic way possible on Tuesday night: with the rival Heat -- sitting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh -- falling 78-66 to the Boston Celtics, who were resting Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. I don't think any Bulls fan is complaining.
It's certainly a whimper of a way to go out for the Heat, who could have made things interesting for a banged up Bulls team had Miami decided to play its stars and try to win out. Of course, the Bulls had home-court advantage over Miami last season, and it didn't stop the Heat from steamrolling through Chicago in five games. Pretty sure Miami is well aware of that.
Regardless, it's a remarkable accomplishment for Chicago and coach Tom Thibodeau, who turned around a team that finished eighth in the conference each of the previous two seasons before he arrived from the moment he was hired. If Thibodeau doesn't win his second Coach of the Year award after leading this team to the top seed -- minus Derrick Rose for 26 games, minus Richard Hamilton for even more and Luol Deng for a few less -- something might seriously be up.
Thibodeau is as every bit as much the reason for Chicago's success as Rose is. This top seed is a testament to his will, and his team's willingness to buy-in.