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Bulls shred Nets, put Pacers in control of final playoff spot in the East

The Pacers enjoyed a night off watching the rival Bulls take down the Nets and temporarily slide Indiana into eighth place in the East. Now John Wall and the Washington Wizards want to ruin the Pacers post-season plans.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers valiant effort to continue grinding out wins while needing help finally paid off on Monday night when the Chicago Bulls blew open a seven point halftime lead with a strong third-quarter surge en route to blowing out the Brooklyn Nets 113-86.

The Pacers officially own a half game lead for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East and will make the post-season party by winning their final two games. For some reason, the Pacers always seem to play better when they don't control their own destiny, but the home crowd at BLF should help keep them rolling at home on Tuesday night when the Washington Wizards arrive with bad intentions.

Washington's All-Star point guard, John Wall views the Pacers as a rival after the good guys knocked out the Wiz in the playoffs last season. Now he is planning to knock the Pacers out of the playoffs before they start.

"We got a rivalry with them," said Wall, who remembers vividly how their season ended in Game 6 of the East semis in a home loss to the Pacers. "We feel like we owe them from last year."

Surely the Pacers will be briefed on the comments for a little extra bulletin board material for motivation. But at this point, after all of the nutty things the Pacers have endured this year, to have a chance to seal up a playoff spot, the motivation should easily come from within.