Evan Turner, when asked which team he would prefer the 76ers to face, Chicago or Miami, said he wants the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs.
On Thursday night, Turner got his wish.
The Sixers' season-ending loss to Detroit dropped them to the eighth seed. As a result, the Sixers begin play Saturday in Chicago against the East's top-seeded team.
The Bulls took the season series from the Sixers, two games to one.
Prediction: Bulls, 4-2.
Reigning MVP Derrick Rose is ailing. He has a sore right foot. Arguably the best point guard in the league when healthy, Rose had been shooting just 26 percent heading into the regular-season finale against Cleveland on Thursday. After missing just six games because of injury in his first three seasons, Rose has missed 24 in 2011-12 because of an assortment of injuries.
Word out of Chicago is that he is regaining some of his explosiveness. The bad news for the Sixers is that even at 80 percent, Rose will be the best player in this series.
For the better part of the season, no team was better defensively than the Sixers. However, they lost that title with some horrendous defensive performances in the last month.
The Bulls have been consistently tough at the defensive end. They allow a league-low 88.4 points per game. How good is that? The franchise record - granted, it was accomplished over an 82-game regular season - was set during the 1997-98 season when Michael Jordan and Co. held the opposition to an average of 89.6 points per game.
The Bulls have been the best rebounding team in the league this season, and Joakim Noah is not the lone reason.
Carlos Boozer contributes just under nine boards per game, second on the team to Noah's 10-plus, and small forward Luol Deng averages almost seven.
After 12 seasons in the league, there was some concern that Coatesville's Richard Hamilton might not be the same player he had been in Detroit.
But Hamilton has played well for Chicago, and was stronger as the season progressed. His mid-range game is still among the best in the NBA. Averaging just less than 12 points per game, Hamilton had scored 20 or more points three times in the Bulls' last eight games heading into Thursday.
There is something to be said about the quiet excellence of Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Last season, Rose played at an incredibly high level to become the team's first MVP since Michael Jordan in 1998. But the Bulls have shown little slippage despite Rose's injuries.