If Chicago had beaten the Bobcats, it would have left the door open for the Bulls to slip to No. 3 with a Toronto loss in New York. But in losing, Chicago and Toronto are both locked into their respective playoff seeds, and both positions come as a bit of a surprise.
Both Toronto and Chicago traded away a key player midseason, yet each team kept trudging along. Toronto traded away Rudy Gay and improved immensely on both ends of the floor in the process. Chicago shipped Luol Deng to Cleveland, but pushed to the top of the East.
Coach Tom Thibodeau and Joakim Noah wouldn't let the Bulls sink. Noah put together a string of triple-double performances after the All-Star break, putting the Bulls on his back and serving as the team's anchor on both ends of the floor.