The NBA regular season came to a close on Sunday, and now, it's time for the postseason. The race for the championship seems pretty open this year, and the next two months of NBA playoffs should provide a ton of excitement. First up we have the play-in tournament, and the Chicago Bulls have made it for the second year in a row. This time around, the Bulls are the nine seed in the East, and they will be hosting the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night in Chicago.

Heading into the season, people didn't have high expectations for the Bulls. It didn't end up being a great year and Chicago fans are more than fed up with mediocrity, but not a lot of people expected them to be playing postseason basketball.

Last year, the Bulls lost in their first play-in tournament game on the road against the Miami Heat. This season, they have put themselves into a little bit better of a position to advance past that first game and have a shot at the playoffs.

The Bulls finished this season with a 39-43 overall record despite dealing with bad injury trouble throughout the year. Chicago lost Zach LaVine to a season-ending injury earlier in the year, and he wasn't the only one either. The Bulls have had horrible injury luck, but they were still able to make it to the postseason.

After starting the season 5-14, it looked like this was going to be a miserable season for the Bulls. It hasn't been the type of year that their fans are longing for, but the ingredients were there for a much worse season. Now, they have a chance to compete in the postseason. Here is how the Bulls will continue to surprise some people and make it into the playoffs.

Play-in tournament vs. Atlanta Hawks

Apr 14, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) drives past New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) in overtime at Madison Square Garden.
© Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

First up for the Bulls is their home play-in game against the Hawks. Chicago is expected to win this one as they are favored by 3.5 points. Home-court advantage is big, but the Hawks did split the season series in Chicago as they went 1-1 on the road. The Bulls won the full season series as they won the lone game between the two in Atlanta.

Expect the Bulls to get past the Hawks on Wednesday and advance to the next stage of the play-in tournament.

Play-in tournament vs. Miami Heat/Philadelphia 76ers

The other play-in game in the East is between the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers. Expect the 76ers to win and make the playoffs, and that would set up a matchup between the Heat and the Bulls in Miami. The Heat are known for turning it on this team of year even as a low seed, but the Bulls are more than capable of knocking them off. Even last year in the play-in they had a lead late in the game in Miami. It will take a big effort from a lot of guys, but the Bulls can get this win and move on to the playoffs.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, if they do make it to the playoffs, they will take on the Boston Celtics, the far and away best team during the NBA regular season. Anything is possible, but it's highly unlikely that Chicago pulls off that upset.

Bulls postseason MVP

The reason why the Bulls will make it past the play-in tournament is because of a guy named DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan is in the running to win Clutch Player of the Year, and Chicago will likely need him to step up big again in the play-in tournament. His ability to take over a game in the fourth quarter is something that most players don't possess. He is made for big moments, and he will be why the Bulls make it into the playoffs.