What seemed to be a foregone conclusion finally came true, but not without a battle.
The Bulls used a late push to hold off the Wizards and finish the regular season with a 95-92 victory at the United Center.
The Bulls finished with the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and will face the Nets in the 1st round of the playoffs. Even if Chicago had lost to Washington, the Bulls (45-37) would have the same playoff matchup, because the Hawks (44-38) also lost.
Washington finished its season with a 29-53 record and 6 straight losses. Washington showed some promise after getting point guard John Wall back from a knee injury in early January.
Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich added 18 points, while center Nazr Mohammed scored a season-high 17 points.
Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis) and Taj Gibson (left knee sprain) played limited minutes due to injuries, but the Bulls are hoping those two will be prepared for the playoffs. Gibson played well (8 points, 4 rebounds in 21 minutes), but Noah didn’t look great, with no points and one rebound in 15 minutes. Football betting lines
The Wizards, missing 5 regulars and long eliminated from the playoff chase, trailed by as many as 21 points. However, they kept battling and tied the score at 85-85 on a 3-pointer by A.J. Price with 3:16 remaining.
Chicago came right back with an alley-oop dunk by Jimmy Butler. After a couple of Washington misses, Hinrich added a runner in the lane, and Luol Deng canned a 3-pointer to put the Bulls ahead 92-85 with 1:42 left.
The Wizards clawed back inside 94-92 with 26.1 seconds left on a runner by Price. Hinrich hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it a 3-point game. After a Price 3-pointer was blocked by Gibson, Wall’s final attempt to tie the score missed the rim at the buzzer.
The game looked as though it might be a breeze for the Bulls when they jumped to a 29-8 lead. While Washington missed its first 6 shots of the game, Bulls shot 58.3 percent in the first quarter.
With the score 31-15 after one quarter, the No. 5 seed in the East appeared to be a done deal for the Bulls, but then Price got going for the Wizards. He hit 6 of 9 shots for 16 points in the 2nd quarter alone. Leading Washington on a 16-0 run to trim the deficit to one point.
The Chicago Bulls went into halftime with a 52-47 advantage and appeared to get the second surge they needed to put the game away. After Wall opened the 3rd quarter with a free throw, Boozer and Hinrich mixed to supply a 9-0 run that pushed the lead to 61-50.
The Bulls received a delay-of-game warning before the game started for failing to take the court in the allocated 90 seconds after introductions. That cost Chicago a point in the 2nd quarter when they were given another delay warning after a made basket, resulting to a technical foul.