Mavericks 100, Grizzlies 93: Nicolas Brussino and Devin Harris each scored 15 points and Dallas snapped a five-game losing streak.
Maybe that's why the Bulls' first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics is so important for Butler.
What's at stake: With a win, Celtics clinch the No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference.
Avery Bradley, a former teammate of Rondo, concurred. "He'll be ready for us".
And the victor of that series will get to play the Warriors in the next round.
Since then it's been a tour of one-season stands.
This isn't going to be an easy game for Chicago.
But no one around the Celtics is insane enough to think Rondo isn't capable of going insane against them. Butler will definitely need fellow backcourt mate Dwyane Wade to turn back the clock and produce some vintage Wade outings for the Bulls to have a chance in this series.
CLEVELAND - Jonas Valanciunas made his first career 3-pointer and the Toronto Raptors closed the regular season with a win over the Cavaliers, who didn't play their "Big 3" All-Stars so they're playoff ready. When Head Coach Brad Stevens was asked about the Chicago Bulls, he responded by giving praises to their offensive rebounding ability and having guys like Wade and Butler on the roster.
With the Big Three out for the Cavs, they simply struggled to score.
Dealing with Jimmy Butler, one of the best two-way players in the National Basketball Association, is going to be tough. "You always want to play your best when the lights are the brightest".
Rondo, it was said around the team and league, had some attitude issues. Meaning, Thomas will have the advantage when he is matched up with one of those two. "If there's anything that would have been used to describe this group of guys, both early on and throughout, it's they have a chip on their shoulder". "He's really good at what he does".
Behind Thomas' efforts on the court, the Celtics have gone great lengths and they may not be finished yet.
In short, all the pressure in this matchup falls on the Celtics, a team good enough to get to the conference final and unpredictable enough to lose in the first round.
Stevens certainly believes in his team, but he probably isn't too upset to see them find some extra motivation heading into the playoffs.
Rockets 123, Timberwolves 118: James Harden had his 22nd triple-double with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists to help Houston wrap up the regular season with a victory over Minnesota. "I mean, however tall he is. he's mastered it".
The team can not afford to lose Thomas, but these five players are also essential to the team's playoff hopes and must play big to go deep into the playoffs. "We're going to have our hands full, but I guess it's the playoffs, that's what's supposed to be the case". "The fans are one of the best I've ever seen, especially at this time of the year". If the Pacers win, they'll get the No. 7 seed and face the Cavs. "Isaiah was a huge addition from the standpoint of he brought something to the table that we needed badly and that complemented the rest of our players". They guard, they rebound, pass the ball. Taking down the Celtics as an eighth seed would solidify things for him.
In this case, familiarity could breed a far more interesting series than your average 1 vs. 8 matchup.