History has no problem repeating itself when it comes to Bulls injuries.
But for last-second, game-tying 3-point baskets, there was no three-peat Monday.
The Bulls had a chance to knock down a game-tying 3-pointer for the third time in five days. C.J. Watson got a great look from the top of the key after pump-faking John Wall. But the ball bounced off the front rim and the Bulls let a winnable game get away, losing to the lowly Washington Wizards 87-84 at the United Center.
Injury issues returned as the Bulls played without their two all-stars — Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. Rose was out with a sore right foot, while Deng suffered from bruised ribs. Both players suffered the injuries Sunday against Detroit.
There’s no firm guess on when those two might be back in the lineup. The Bulls leave today for a two-game road trip at Charlotte and Miami.
The unfamiliar lineup might have played a part in the Bulls’ 17 turnovers, which led to 27 points for Washington (15-46). The Wizards beat the Bulls in fast-break points 20-2.
“Hit the first open man, that’s all you have to do,” an agitated coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game. “(We) put them in the open floor — 17 turnovers, 27 points. Beat ourselves. Beat ourselves.
“We’re 60 games into it. You have to eliminate all the ways where you beat yourself first.”
Turnovers have been an issue for the Bulls lately, as they’ve rotated between two backup point guards and a rusty Rose, who’s now missed 14 of the last 17 contests.
“A certain amount of mistakes are going to happen in a game,” Thibodeau added. “But it doesn’t absolve you from sprinting back and protecting your basket and not conceding 2 points. So right now we’re doing both — we’re turning it over and not getting back and giving up the easy buckets.”
“I think we’re just trying to get a little too cute,” said Kyle Korver. “Sometimes it’s fun to make the assist, to make the pass that makes the assist. Sometimes, you’ve just got to swing the ball. I think we’ve been making too many ‘assist’ passes instead of making the easy play.”
The Bulls (46-15) were in big trouble once they gave up a rapid-fire 13-0 run early in the fourth quarter. In just six possessions, the Wizards went from 11 points down to a 2-point lead.
From that point, it was a battle. Richard Hamilton checked in for some rare fourth-quarter action and hit a couple of baskets, but a 3-point play by Maurice Evans, hook shot from Kevin Seraphin and fast-break dunk by James Singleton sent Washington up 82-77 with 1:40 left. Not exactly household names, but they got the job done.
“At the end, we scrambled to try to get back in position,” Thibodeau said. “To be honest, that’s the way we’ve been playing. That edge and that sense of urgency has to be there from the start of the game. We’re scrambling at the end and executing well at the end, but that’s not the way you win.”
Showing some polished post moves, Seraphin finished with 21 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Hamilton led the Bulls with 22 points.
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