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News » Bulls-Wizards Preview 2009-03-22

Bulls-Wizards Preview 2009-03-22

Bulls-Wizards Preview 2009-03-22
After blowing a double-digit lead and seeing their long home winning streak end, the Chicago Bulls visit the worst team in the Eastern Conference as they look to rebound.

Trying to improve their tenuous playoff position, the Bulls face the Washington Wizards on Monday night.

Chicago (32-38) had its seven-game home win streak halted Saturday as it committed 23 turnovers and squandered a 16-point, second-quarter lead in a 117-109 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

"We were turning the ball over and when you do that in this league, anyone will beat you," said Bulls guard Derek Rose, who had 25 points but committed four turnovers.

The Bulls sit eighth in the East, one game ahead of ninth-place Charlotte for the final playoff spot. The Bobcats don't play again until visiting Washington (16-55) on Wednesday.

Chicago will try to expand that gap by winning consecutive road games for the first time since a three-game run from Jan. 28-31. The Bulls, 11-26 on the road, beat Oklahoma City 103-96 on Wednesday to snap a seven-game slide away from the United Center.

The skid included a 113-90 loss to Washington on Feb. 27, the Bulls' first in three meetings with the Wizards.

John Salmons has been a major contributor for Chicago since being added to the starting lineup after Luol Deng suffered a fractured right leg. Salmons scored 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting Saturday and is averaging 22.6 points in his last 10 games - all starts in place of Deng.

He averaged 15.0 points off the bench in his first five games after being acquired from Sacramento in a three-team, seven-player trade Feb. 18.

Salmons' production will continue to be vital for the Bulls with Deng struggling to return from injury. Salmons scored 24 and 25 points, respectively, in his last two games against the Wizards on Jan. 21 and 27.

"He's still got some discomfort there," coach Vinny Del Negro said of Deng. "It's going to take a little time. My focus is to go with the guys who are healthy right now."

The Wizards, owners of the worst record in the East, open a three-game homestand after going 0-4 on a five-day trip. The swing was capped by a 128-96 loss to Phoenix on Saturday.

"You look at the schedule, and everybody's done that this year," forward Antawn Jamison said of the busy road trip. "It's no excuse whatsoever.

"It's tough, it's part of what we do and we have to find a way to get it done. That's what separates the good teams from the not-so-good teams, the sub-par teams. The great teams find a way to get it done, they don't make excuses, and they go out there and perform."

Jamison had 25 points and eight rebounds Saturday and has been one of the Wizards' few bright spots, leading the club with averages of 22.1 points and 9.1 boards.

He had 27 points and 11 rebounds against Chicago on Feb. 27.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 22, 2009


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