CHICAGO – It was just a matter of when for a few days now, and despite a little luck that kept their slim hopes alive the last two days, the inevitable finally happened on Friday night.
The Wizards’ 120-105 victory over the Cavaliers in Washington DC, the Bulls have officially been eliminated from postseason contention. It marks the fourth-straight season in which the team has failed to make it to the playoffs, with their last appearance coming in the 2016-2017 season under Fred Hoiberg.
It’s the longest such streak for the team since they missed the postseason six-straight times following the end of the Bulls’ dynasty from the 1999 through the 2003-2004 season.
Now Billy Donovan’s team looks ahead to two more games in the 2020-2021 season: A road game against the Nets on Saturday then the season finale against the Bucks at the United Center on Sunday.
It’s a disappointment considering the team made a significant amount of moves at the trade deadline to make the playoffs, including the acquisition of All-Star center Nikola Vucevic. To acquire him, the Bulls had to give up their protected first round pick for the 2021 NBA Draft.
Unfortunately, the group never was able to gel together in the last two months of the season, and Zach LaVine’s COVID-19 diagnosis kept their leading scorer out for a few weeks.
Now the Bulls have to hope for some luck in the lottery to get back that first round selection, which they get back from the Magic if the pick in one of the first four. Right now the Bulls are the eighth-worst team in the league as they now have to root for the ping pong balls to go their way to get back in the first round.