Bulls finally get back to work against Wizards

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Updated: December 29, 2012

After some unexpected time off, the Chicago Bulls try to
avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season on Saturday evening
when they play host to the Washington Wizards.

The Bulls dropped their second game in a row with a 120-97 setback to the
Houston Rockets on Christmas Day. They were then set to visit the Indiana
Pacers the following night, but the game was postponed due to poor weather
conditions and will be rescheduled at a later date.

It was the seventh postponement or cancellation in Bulls history and first
since Jan. 12, 2000 following the death of the Charlotte Hornets’ Bobby Phills
in an automobile accident.

Following the extra day off, the Bulls hope to avoid losing a season high-
tying third straight game, first done from Nov. 17-21.

While forward Luol Deng is questionable due to a sprained right ankle suffered
versus the Rockets, guard Richard Hamilton is nearing a return from torn
plantar fascia in his left foot that has caused him to miss the last 12 games.

Hamilton’s pending return — he is questionable for tonight — will push Marco
Belinelli back to a reserve role. He scored 15 points against Houston and is
averaging 15.3 points per game in his 12 starts filling in for Hamilton.

Nate Robinson came off the bench to net 27 points versus the Rockets, while
Deng had 14 points and five rebounds.

“They did a good job of not letting us settle,” Deng said of the Rockets.
“They pushed the ball and got easy layups.”

While the Bulls may have the fresher legs, the Wizards hope to have some
momentum after picking up just their fourth victory of the campaign with
Friday’s 105-97 win over the visiting Orlando Magic.

The Wizards trailed 25-8 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter, but
battled back and snapped an eight-game losing streak.

“For our guys to not put their heads down, to grind it out. We kept saying
every timeout, ‘Long game. Next timeout let’s make it closer. Next timeout
let’s make it closer.’ And they did. That just shows the character of these
guys,” said Wizards coach Randy Wittman.

Jordan Crawford matched a season high with 27 points, while Nene set a season
best with 23 points and also tied his high this season of 11 rebounds. Kevin
Seraphin chipped in with 17 points and six rebounds.

Three of Washington’s four victories have come at home, while it is just 1-12
on the road this season.

“We are amped,” Washington’s Bradley Beal said of the victory. “We are ready
to go. We can’t stop right now, we can’t get complacent. Yeah, we won a game,
but we have to forget about it. We have a tough one (Saturday). We have to get
ready and take a trip to Chicago.”

The Wizards snapped a seven-game overall losing streak and six-game slide in
Chicago with an 87-84 win in the last meeting between these clubs on April 16.

The Bulls, though, have still won nine of the last 11 encounters overall and
12 of 15 at home.