Twenty minutes after the final horn of the Bulls' 106-98 victory Friday over Detroit, the visitors' locker room looked like Cindy Lou Who's house after the Grinch was done with it.
Cleaned out, empty, except for center Andre Drummond stopping for a brief media chat as he pulled on a coat and headed for the exit.
That's life in the NBA for a 29-51 team that had just blown an 18-point third-quarter lead. But the Pistons still could play a role in determining the Bulls' playoff seed.
The Bulls' win over Detroit, combined with Toronto's loss to New York on Friday, put the Bulls into the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference. If the playoffs began Saturday, the Bulls would be facing No. 6 Washington in the first round and be bracketed next to an Indiana-Charlotte series.
But the postseason didn't start Saturday. Both the Bulls and the Raptors have three games left. Toronto plays at Detroit on Sunday afternoon, then finishes at home against Milwaukee and at New York. The Bulls will lose any tiebreaker with Toronto on the basis of the Raptors being a division champ.
On Saturday night, Atlanta beat Miami, and that had a couple of repercussions for the Bulls. First, it meant the Hawks clinched the eighth playoff spot in the East and eliminated New York from playoff contentions.
So Sunday's game against the Bulls at Madison Square Garden will mean nothing to the Knicks when it comes to the playoff race.
Also, that means Indiana is back in the driver's seat for the No. 1 seed in the East. If the Pacers win their final two games, they'll clinch the top spot. But the way they've been playing lately, a home game against Oklahoma City and game at Orlando seem far from locks for Indiana.
Miami closes the season at Washington on Monday and at home against Philadelphia on Wednesday.
The Bulls finish with Orlando at home on Monday and at Charlotte on Wednesday. The Bobcats could easily move into the No. 6 spot. They trail Washington by 1 game and would win a tiebreaker.
Bulls use seven starters:
D.J. Augustin and Taj Gibson lead the Bulls in fourth-quarter scoring this season. They took that to another level Friday, combining for 23 points in the final quarter of the 106-98 victory over Detroit.
After the game, Pistons coach John Loyer paid the duo a compliment.
"With Augustin and Gibson, it's like playing against seven starters," Loyer said. "Those two guys -- Augustin is their leading scorer and Gibson is as athletic and active as any power forward in the league. They do that against a lot of people."
Here are a few more reflections on the Bulls' big second half against Detroit. They scored a season-high 68 points after halftime while erasing the 18-point deficit.
"We came out at the end and found a way to get it done," Joakim Noah said. "I just wish we could play the way we played in the fourth for the whole game. Sometimes that doesn't happen."
Pistons center Andre Drummond single-handedly outrebounded the Bulls 19-17 in the first half. After halftime, the Bulls kept Drummond to 7 boards, and he finished with 26 points and 26 rebounds.
"He's just one of those guys, you see a bright future for him," Taj Gibson said. "I'm not used to seeing Joakim really get pushed around, but it happens. You can't let a guy get confidence, and he played with a lot of confidence."