Wednesday , Apr , 18 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Bulls, Nets battle for playoff positioning

(Sports Network) – Two teams headed to the playoffs square off tonight, as the
New Jersey Nets host the Chicago Bulls in the regular-season finale for both
squads at Continental Airlines Arena.

The Bulls are currently tied with Cleveland for the second seed in the Eastern
Conference, while the Nets are locked up with Washington for the sixth spot in
the standings. Orlando is eighth, just one game behind both New Jersey and the
Wizards.

Chicago has won three straight and six of its last seven games, including
Sunday’s 101-68 victory over the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center. Ben
Gordon scored 30 points and Luol Deng added 16 points and seven rebounds for
the Bulls, who hold the tiebreaker for the No. 2 seed if they finish with the
same regular-season record as the Cavs.

If the Cavs win and Chicago loses tonight, the Bulls will drop to fifth in the
conference.

Ben Wallace chipped in nine points and 10 rebounds, as the Bulls improved to
18-22 away from the Windy City this season. Chicago already wrapped up the
2006-07 campaign with a 31-10 home record.

New Jersey has won three in a row and five of its last six games. It posted a
104-95 win over the New York Knicks on Monday at Madison Square Garden.

Vince Carter recorded his fourth career triple-double with 29 points, 12
rebounds and 10 assists for the Nets, who need a win tonight to secure the
sixth spot in the East. If both the Nets and Wizards lose tonight, New Jersey
will still be No. 6 because it owns the tiebreaker over Washington.

Even if New Jersey, Washington and Orlando all finish 40-42, the Nets will
still face the third-seeded Toronto Raptors in the first round of the
playoffs.

New Jersey, which finished the regular season with a 17-24 road mark, has won
five straight at home and owns a 23-17 record at the Meadowlands this season.

Wednesday’s game between Chicago and New Jersey is the fourth and final
meeting of the season. The Nets are 2-1 in the season series and have won 10
of the last 13 encounters.

Chicago has lost 10 straight and 13 of its last 14 trips to Continental
Airlines Arena.

CHI NJN