For the first time since the final year of the Michael Jordan era, the road through the Eastern Conference playoffs will again go through Chicago.
Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and the Bulls clinched the top seed in the East with a 93-82 win over the Cavaliers on Friday night in Cleveland.
Chicago (59-20), which has won 18 of 20, will have home-court advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs. The last time the Bulls had the best record in the East was 1997-98, the last of Jordan’s six NBA title teams.
However, there were no celebrations in Chicago’s locker room.
“It’s good to be the No. 1 seed, but at the end of the day we understand that there is a bigger picture,” center Joakim Noah said.
The Bulls, who barely made the playoffs last season and were eliminated by Cleveland in the first round, have made major strides under coach Tom Thibodeau.
“Last year we qualified on the last day and now we are the No. 1 seed.” Noah said. “That feels pretty good.”
Flint native and California billionaire investor Tom Gores has agreed to buy the struggling Detroit Pistons franchise from longtime owner Karen Davidson. The tentative deal also includes The Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre. Terms were not disclosed, but the deal is expected to close by June 30. ... The NBA fined the New Jersey Nets $50,000 because hip-hop mogul and part-owner Jay-Z went into the Kentucky locker room March 27 after the Wildcats clinched a berth in the Final Four. NBA rules prohibit contact with players who are not yet draft eligible. ... Nets point guard Deron Williams will have right wrist surgery and miss the final week of the season. ... Milwaukee’s Andrew Bogut will miss the last four games of the season and have right elbow surgery. ... New York’s Amare Stoudemire, Boston’s Jermaine O’Neal, Dallas’ Jason Kidd and Atlanta’s Josh Smith sat out games Friday to rest up for the playoffs.