Bulls fall 2.5 games back in playoff picture; tough road still lies ahead for Pistons

The Chicago Bulls have selected the most inopportune time for an extended losing streak.

In lockstep with the Detroit Pistons for most of the last month, Chicago’s recent four-game slide, culminating in a 102-100 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, has left them 2.5 games behind the Pistons for the eighth and final playoff spot with less than nine games remaining on the schedule.

Chicago’s skid would appear to put Detroit in the driver’s seat, but don’t start planning that “We Finally Made It Back to the Playoffs” party just yet, for the Pistons still have a mini-gauntlet they’ll need to barrel through over their last eight games in order to earn the right to face either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in mid-April.

Detroit’s final stretch kicks off tonight against the 52-22 Oklahoma City Thunder. From there, their remaining seven games will include two dates with the 43-30 Miami Heat and matchups with both the Bulls and Washington Wizards, the latter of whom also stands 2.5 games behind Detroit after winning six of their last eight. The Pistons then face a possible first round foe, the Eastern Conference leading Cleveland Cavaliers, in their regular season finale.

In addition to looking back at the Wizards and Bulls, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a brief glimpse forward. On the heels of winning five of their last six, the Pistons aren’t just in position to snap their six-season playoff drought, but they also now find themselves just a half game back of the Indiana Pacers for the seventh seed.

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However, the most important matter is getting in; we can worry about seeding later. With that, here’s a full look a the remaining slates for the Pistons, Bulls, and Wizards:

PISTONS

Date Opponent Op. Record Series
3-29 Oklahoma City 52-22 0-1
4-1 Dallas 36-38 1-0
4-2 @Chicago 36-37 2-1
4-5 @Miami 43-30 2-0
4-6 @Orlando 30-43 2-0
4-8 Washington 36-37 0-3
4-12 Miami 43-30 2-0
4-13 @Cleveland 52-21 2-1

BULLS

Date Opponent Op. Record Series
3-29 @Pacers 39-34 2-1
3-31 @Rockets 36-38 1-0
4-2 Pistons 39-35 1-2
4-3 @Bucks 30-44 2-1
4-5 @Memphis 41-33 1-0
4-7 @Miami 43-30 0-3
4-9 Cleveland 52-21 2-1
4-11 @New Orleans 27-46 1-0
4-13 Philadelphia 9-65 3-0

WIZARDS

Date Opponent Op. Record Series
3-29 @Warriors 66-7 0-1
3-30 @Kings 29-45 1-0
4-1 @Suns 20-54 1-0
4-3 @Clippers 46-27 0-1
4-6 Brooklyn 21-52 1-0
4-8 @Detroit 39-35 3-0
4-10 Charlotte 42-31 1-2
4-11 @Brooklyn 21-52 1-0
4-13 Atlanta 45-30 1-2
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