DEERFIELD, Ill. -- While not expressing a preference for who they would like to face in the playoffs, the Chicago Bulls have been making preparations for one of two options.
Because they have known for some time now that they were likely to face the Brooklyn Nets or Indiana Pacers in the opening round of the postseason, the Bulls have been able to take a peek ahead while still focusing on that task at hand as the regular season comes to a close.
Barring some unexpected turn of events Wednesday night, the Bulls will face the Nets to open the playoffs either Saturday or Sunday at Brooklyn. The only way they can face the Pacers is if the Atlanta Hawks beat the New York Knicks Wednesday night, while the Bulls lose to the Washington Wizards.
"The thing is, you just worry about who you're playing and usually down the stretch you're going head-to-head with them so you get a recent look at them also," head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Look, if you're in the playoffs, you're a very good team. We know whether it's Brooklyn or Indiana we're going to have to play well."
The last time the Bulls faced the Pacers was on March 23, when they were able to grind out an 87-84 victory. The last time the Bulls faced the Nets was April 4, when they won 92-90. The Bulls have beat the Nets three times in four tries this season.
Thibodeau has repeated numerous times that he is only worried about the next game on the team's schedule, which would be Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards. That doesn't mean that playoff possibilities have been ignored ... at least by the coaching staff.
Jimmy Butler was asked if he was aware of the playoff implications heading into the regular-season finale.
"To tell you the truth, I had no idea," Butler said. "They sent me a text last night but I don't know the situation of winning or losing. I just know we want to win this game. You want to win every game. If it helps to play whoever, I feel like we can beat any team. So it's all about us playing our style of basketball."