The Chicago Bulls still have a puncher’s chance to make the playoffs. They are the very last team that is out of the latest 2021 NBA playoff picture but still not mathematically eliminated from contention.

The league’s new play-in tournament is Chicago’s only path to the playoffs. With two games left on the schedule, three of the four play-in tournament spots have already been secured. The Bulls are competing with the Washington Wizards to be the Easten Conference’s final play-in team.

There is only one scenario in which the Bulls pass the Wizards in the standings. Chicago must win its final two games, and Washington has to lose its last two games. 

If the Bulls manage to take the No. 10 seed from the Wizards, they’ll have to win two straight play-in games in order to make the playoffs. Chicago would be the No. 8 seed in the postseason.

Chicago’s hopes could be dashed Friday night. The Wizards host the Cleveland Cavaliers, who recently snapped an 11-game losing streak. Washington ends its season at home against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.

The Wizards are significant favorites over Cleveland, though the Cavaliers did beat the Boston Celtics in their last game. Charlotte could be looking to solidify the East’s No. 8 seed in the regular-season finale.

Wizards star Bradley Beal will miss his third straight game with a hamstring injury Friday. Washington has lost two straight contests in Beal’s absence. 

The Bulls’ schedule is much more difficult. Chicago visits the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday and hosts the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. Brooklyn and Milwaukee are battling for the No. 2 seed in the East. 

Chicago defeated the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night for its fourth victory in five games. The Bulls’ only loss during that span was a 115-107 defeat at the hands of the Nets.

The Bulls last made the playoffs four years ago.

Chicago Bulls Zach LaVine The Chicago Bulls in one of their huddles in a win over the Charlotte Hornets. Photo: Chicago Bulls/Twitter