Game On: 'Mental capacity' will determine outcome vs. Bulls

Game On: 'Mental capacity' will determine outcome vs. Bulls
April 20, 2014, 11:30 am
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Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) brings the ball down court against Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (5) during the second quarter at the Verizon Center.

(Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports)

Al Harrington has sat for 47 games because of a knee injury and was able to see from afar what the problem is for the Wizards at times. It wasn't Xs and Os or anything that was coach Randy Wittman's fault.

It was between the ears. In winning six of their last eight regular season games going into the playoffs that begin Sunday at the Chicago Bulls, that mental toughness will be tested in a whole new way. 

“Nothing," Harrington said when asked what has changed with the Wizards. "Like I have been saying all year, our team is only going to go as far as our mental capacity allows us to go. We just got to become mentally stronger. I think we are starting to take those steps now.”

The Wizards has lost twice in a row to the Bulls and Charlotte Bobcats but went on a four-game winning streak. Now it's 0-0 again. 

TV: The pregame show Wizards Central is on CSN at 6:30 p.m. ET. Tipoff is 7 from United Center and Wizards Postgame Live immediately follows the conclusion. Radio: 1500 AM. 

Last meeting: Chicago won 96-78 at Verizon Center on April 5.  Season series: Washington won 2-1.

Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Nene, C Marcin Gortat. Bulls –- PG Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, SF Mike Dunleavy, PF Carlos Boozer, C Joakim Noah.

X-factor: If Nene starts, Trevor Booker goes back to the bench but does he get the call ahead of Drew Gooden or does he slip behind him?

Around the bend: The Wizards will return practice Monday, shoot around early Tuesday and play Game 2 here that evening (CSN, 9:30 p.m. ET).

[RELATED: Schemes to defend John Wall top Bulls' to-do list]