Wizards vs. Bulls
At United Center
TV: CSN, 8 p.m. ET
Season series: Tied 1-1.
Last meeting: The Wizards won 90-86 at home, as John Wall dominated every facet with 27 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and three blocks. Nene made the clinching play at the end, making an interior pass to Emeka Okafor for a dunk.
Previous game: The Wizards lost at the Brooklyn Nets on Monday 106-101 to fall to 29-52. The Bulls won at the Orlando Magic 102-84 on Monday to improve to 44-37.
Playing to win: Because the Hawks lost 113-96 to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, the Bulls can keep the fifth seed if they beat the Wizards which would mean meeting the Nets in the first round. If they lose and the Hawks in their finale, the Bulls will drop to sixth and face the Indiana Pacers instead.
Projected starting lineups: Wizards -– PG John Wall, SG Garrett Temple, SF Cartier Martin, PF Trevor Booker, C Kevin Seraphin. Bulls –- PG Kirk Hinrich, SG Marco Belinelli, SF Jimmy Butler, PF Luol Deng, C Carlos Boozer.
Pivotal matchup: Temple vs. Butler. The second-year swingman has been in a rhythm until the last three games, but he has shown the ability to make buckets and conversely he doesn't have to score to make an impact. Butler can defend. So can Temple, who has more opportunities to knock down open shots.
Trending upward: Booker, not noted for his shooting, is attacking the rim and aggressive on offensive glass. He made 8 of 12 shots and had six offensive rebounds. ... Seraphin showed signs of contesting in the middle. He has 13 rebounds and four blocked shots in his last two games off the bench.
Trending downward: Without much help on the floor, Wall's shooting has suffered. He hasn't shot 50% or better in the last three games, including just 5-for-19 vs. Brooklyn. ... The perimeter defense has been consistently inadequate in April. The Nets shot 46.7% from three-point range. ... For a bellwether of how well the offense is playing, look at the turnovers. The Wizards just had 20. Ball security on the road has been a season-long problem. ... Okafor sprained his right ankle in Brooklyn and only played 10 minutes. He might not play.
He said it: "I want to get to 30 (wins), at least. We didn't get our other goals. ... Chicago is playing good right now, especially at home." -- Wall