The #9 seed Bulls will be hosting the #10 seed Hawks in the play-in tournament next week

Bulls vs. Hawks pic
Bulls vs. Hawks pic

In the 2020-21 postseason, the NBA introduced the play-in tournament. This new playoff system gave the top six seeds an automatic playoff bid. However, seeds 7-10 would then fight for the final two spots in their respective conferences. The NBA formally made the play-in tournament a part of the postseason in 2022. 

This year, only one play-in matchup is set with just two or fewer games left for all teams. The #9 seed Chicago Bulls will be hosting the #10 seed Atlanta Hawks next Wednesday. During the regular season, the Bulls and Hawks met three times. Chicago holds the 2-1 season series lead. Which team has more potential to make a deep postseason run?

Chicago and Atlanta will play in the #9 vs. #10 game next Wednesday

With two games left this season, the Bulls already know they’ve locked in a spot in the play-in tournament. At 38-42, Chicago is the #9 seed in the East. That means they will be hosting the Hawks in the play-in. The Bulls are 4-6 in their last 10 games but are coming off a 127-105 win last night vs. the Pistons. That win secured the #9 seed for Chicago.  Heading into the 2024 playoffs, the Bulls are not 100 percent healthy. Zach LaVine and Patrick Williams were both ruled out for the remainder of the season in February.

Head coach Billy Donovan has had to make it work with the players available on their roster. Ayo Dosunmu is one player who’s stepped up this season when his number has been called. Facing the Bulls in the play-in tournament are the Hawks. Atlanta is on a four-game losing streak and is 5-5 in their last 10. Trae Young returned for the Hawks on Wednesday after missing 23 straight games with a finger injury. It’s been a down season for the Hawks and they’ll try and put it all together next week in the play-in.

While Trae Young had been out, Dejounte Murray was taking charge of the Hawks. He is the only other all-star on their roster. Additionally, Trae Young and himself are the only two Hawks players who average 22+ points per game. In his first game back on Wednesday, Young had 14 points, 11 assists, four rebounds, and one steal. That was in a narrow 115-114 loss to the Hornets. Mometum this late in the season favors the Bulls who will be hosting this play-in matchup vs. the Hawks. Do either of these teams have a deep playoff run in them?

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