Butler Scores 24 points, Helps Bulls Secure Playoff Spot

CHICAGO, Sporting Alert — Jimmy Butler had 24 points and Paul Zipser scored a career-high 21 off the bench and the Chicago Bulls clinched their playoffs spot with a crushing 112-73 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.

Chicago entered Wednesday’s final set of regular season fixtures needing a win to secure a place in the postseason and easily grabbed the needed win, as the Nets struggled to shoot the ball from 3-point range.

Butler, who played a team-high 35 minutes, also had six rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks for the Bulls (41-41) to finish as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference and will face the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

Bobby Portis added 12 points and 10 rebounds and Rajon Rondo ended with 10 points, six rebounds and five assists in the win, as Chicago won the season series 3-1.

“Everybody had a challenging season. That’s what happens when you play in a talented league,” said Dwyane Wade, who had seven points and four assists for the Bulls.

“Every team, especially in the Eastern Conference, has had its ups and downs, has had a challenging year.

“At the end of the day, our goal was to get to the playoffs and we were able to accomplish that. I’m happy with that, with this team right now,” Wade said.

Archie Goodwin led the Nets with 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists off the bench with KJ McDaniels adding 15 points and six rebounds for Brooklyn (20-62), which has the worst record in the league and played without several key players.

The likes of Trevor Booker, Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez were all rested, while Joe Harris (shoulder), Quincy Acy (ankle) and Sean Kilpatrick (hamstring) missed out due to injuries.

The Nets, who had already been eliminated from the NBA playoffs race, missed 30 of 33 shots from 3-point range in the defeat and shot just 32.6 percent from the floor overall.

The NBA playoffs start this weekend.

Chicago Bulls will face No. 1 seed Celtics in Game 1 on Sunday night.

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