CHICAGO, April 19 (Ticker) --
The Chicago Bulls could prepare themselves
for Dwyane Wade
and Shaquille O'Neal
scored 24 points as the Bulls clinched the seventh
seed in the Eastern Conference with a 127-106 rout of the
Toronto Raptors in the regular-season finale for both teams.
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added 21 points, Kirk Hinrich
17 and 10 assists and
14 and 11 rebounds for Chicago (41-41), which
closed the regular season by winning six straight and 10 of its
last 11 games.
"It means a lot to make the playoffs my first two years in the
NBA," Gordon said. "We felt pressure to make it back after last
year. Most importantly though it what we wanted to do as a
Chicago's hot finish set up a first-round playoff series against
the Miami Heat. The Heat won two of three meetings during the
regular season, although the Bulls clinched a playoff spot with
a 117-93 victory at Miami on Sunday.
"This will be a tough matchup for us, so we have to play our
game and just give ourselves a chance to win at the end,"
Holding a 68-58 lead at the half, the Bulls took control of the
game in the third quarter by making 14-of-22 shots. Gordon
scored 14 points in the period that ended with the Bulls holding
a commanding 103-78 advantage.
"I felt like we did what we had to do," Bulls coach Scott Skiles
said. "We did come out with alot of energy. Overall, it was a
well played game."
Chicago shot 54 percent (44-of-90) and held a commanding 57-40
and rookie Charlie Villanueva
scored 29 points
apiece for the Raptors (27-55), which lost 12 of its final 13
"I didn't want the season over so soon," Villanueva said. "Next
year I will come back ready, I'm not a rookie anymore. I
learned a lot starting out 1-15 and digging out of that hole. It
was a tough year though."