Tied for seventh place but now with a three-game lead for eighth and just five to play, it's time to begin glancing at how the Bulls match up against their three potential first-round playoff opponents.
"We have to stay focused because we're capable of beating the best teams and we're also capable of losing to the worst teams," center Joakim Noah said. "We've just got to come with the right mind-set every day and we'll be all right."
With four of their last five games at the United Center, here's assuming the Bulls will do that. If the Cavaliers wrap up the No. 1 seed, a seventh seed will match up the Bulls with Orlando or Boston, an eighth seed with Cleveland.
I've asked this to some different guys in different sports, but I'm curious what you'd have to say, because you're a guy that's got a lot of interests. Do you ever sort of get bored, I guess, with basketball, bored with being a professional athlete? Because it's kind of the same thing over and over.
It is. It is. And sometimes it's hard, like when you're in Utah and you get in at like 2 o'clock in the morning, and you're far from your friends and everybody that you know. You've just got to realize that you're lucky. You're lucky. You're fortunate to be doing what you love to do. Not a lot of people can say that. There's times where your body's tired, your body's achy, your ankle hurts, and you just don't want to.
But I used to talk about that with my pops a little, because my pops went through the same thing, and he always said would you trade it for anything else? And there's no way. There's no way. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I mean, even though sometimes it's hard--you're leaving home, you're leaving your boys at home, they get to drive your car or have the house to yourselves. You know? They're doing big things, having fun. I mean, it's the life we chose, and I wouldn't have it any other way, even though sometimes it's hard.
Do you ever think it's silly at all, that what you do for a living is try to put a ball in a basket?
Do I think it's silly? Yeah, I think it's overrated, because people make a big deal out of it. But I mean, at the same time, it's such a big part of the culture. You know? Such a big part of the culture. It's so funny to me, I remember when I was a kid how much I admired basketball players. I think that it's important to have good things to say to the kids, and just help them understand what it took to get here, because nobody had it easy.
Even though you might be tall or whatever, everybody had to sacrifice in order to get to this level. Nobody had it easy. And sometimes it's like, "Oh, he's just a spoiled athlete," but nobody really understands that it took a lot of work. You had to stay away from a lot of things, you had to sacrifice a lot to get where we are.