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Chicago at Washington

Bulls 95, Wizards 87

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Luol Deng was back on the court. Joakim Noah was back in the starting lineup. Derrick Rose, James Johnson and Kirk Hinrich were toughing it out.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGB
1x-Atlanta-
2x-Boston-
3x-Brooklyn-
4x-Chicago-
5o-Charlotte-
6o-Cleveland-
7o-Detroit-
8y-Indiana-
Still alive
9z-Miami-
10x-Milwaukee-
11y-New York-
Eliminated
12o-Orlando-
13o-Philadelphia-
14o-Toronto-
15o-Washington-
Complete Playoff Race

That's the sort of status report the Chicago Bulls need if they're going to be a playoff team.

The healthier but still ailing Bulls pulled away in the fourth quarter Friday night for a 95-87 victory over the Washington Wizards, moving within 1½ games of the idle Toronto Raptors for the eighth and final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference.

"James is battling through it. Kirk obviously is battling through it. And Luol gave us -- we don't win the game without Kirk and Luol, them stepping up and playing well for us," coach Vinny Del Negro said.

Deng, back after missing 11 games with a strained right calf, scored 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting in 28 minutes as a sub. Noah, who has been coming off the bench while recovering from plantar fasciitis, started for the first time since Feb. 3 and had 10 points and eight rebounds.

Rose took a tumble that added a sore hip to his already sore wrist while scoring 24 points to lead the Bulls, who have taken advantage of a soft patch in the schedule to win five of seven games. Taj Gibson added 14 points and tied a career high with 16 rebounds. Johnson (seven points) played with a strained right foot, and Hinrich (10 points) carried on despite a sprained left ankle.

"Everybody came out and did their role," Rose said. "Joakim came back and rebounded the ball and put a lot of energy on the floor, and Luol came back and did what he's supposed to do -- rebound the ball, he did a great job of that, and scoring, that's Luol."

Andray Blatche had 18 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Wizards, who continue to find new ways to make a bad season harder to forget. The loss was their ninth straight at home, setting a franchise record. It came two days after they snapped a franchise-record, 16-game overall losing streak Wednesday at New Orleans.

Simply put, it wasn't hard to tell which team was more motivated when crunch time hit in the fourth quarter.

"When things got difficult, they turned the heat up," Washington coach Flip Saunders said. "They've got a lot more at stake, they're playing their tails off to try and make the playoffs. We played well at times but we didn't finish."

The latest on Chicago's nicks and strains took up nearly all of Del Negro's pregame meeting with reporters -- "Next time, can we just send the doctor out?" he asked half-jokingly -- so he was happy to see some positive developments.

"The longer I was out there, I actually felt better," Deng said. "I really don't know how it's going to respond. The other day from practice it tightened up a little bit, so I'm sure it will be a little tight, but it's feeling good right now."

Rose put the video review monitor to good use in the first half with a pair of buzzer-beaters. He threw in a 7-footer after grabbing a scrappy offensive rebound at the end of the first quarter and nailed a 23-footer as the clock expired in the second. In the fourth, he rammed home an alley-oop from Noah that capped a 17-5 rally gave the Bulls some breathing room in a game that had been close throughout.

The Wizards led 73-70 late in the third quarter, but they made only one field goal over the next 9½ minutes. Gibson put in a pair of layups to get the Bulls going, Deng added a jumper and a free throw, Hakim Warrick had three buckets, and then came the alley-oop to Rose that put Chicago ahead 87-80 midway through the fourth.

"I try to remind everybody that we're going to be in the playoffs, we've just got to continue to win," Rose said. "Even though the task is going to be hard, we're still going to fight and try to come together."

Notes

Washington F Al Thornton missed his fifth straight game with a strained right hip flexor. ... Wizards swingman Quinton Ross left the game in the second quarter with a bruised back and did not return. ... The Wizards held a pregame ceremony to honor former All-Star Phil Chenier's 25th anniversary as the team's TV analyst. ... The Wizards' previous longest home losing streak was eight games from Dec. 17 to Jan. 8 in the 1966-67 season, when they were the Baltimore Bullets.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Scoreboard
Chicago (36-39) «3023231995
Washington (22-53) 2525251287
CHI:D. Rose 24 Pts
CHI:T. Gibson 16 Reb
CHI:K. Hinrich 5 Ast
WAS:A. Blatche 18 Pts
WAS:A. Blatche 13 Reb
WAS:A. Blatche 7 Ast
Players of the Game
WashingtonChicago

A. Blatche

D. Rose
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
181372445
Chicago
D. Rose, PG4110-194-445024
T. Gibson, PF357-130-0161314
K. Hinrich, PG333-92-225110
J. Noah, C274-62-283410
J. Johnson, PF172-43-62227
L. Deng, SF286-81-260114
R. Murray, SG262-113-45337
B. Miller, C220-92-25312
H. Warrick, PF133-51-22037
D. Brown, SGDid Not Play
J. Pargo, PGDid Not Play
C. Richard, PFDid Not Play
A. Law, PGDid Not Play
J. Alexander, SFDid Not Play
J. James, CDid Not Play
Totals 37-8418-2450221895
 44.0%75.0% 
Washington
M. Miller, SF426-142-257515
A. Blatche, C407-204-5137218
S. Livingston, PG395-112-253212
N. Young, SG352-134-401310
F. Oberto, C161-12-23224
J. McGee, C226-141-390013
J. Singleton, SF182-40-03024
C. Martin, SG152-72-25128
E. Boykins, PG91-10-00013
Q. Ross, SG40-00-01010
J. Howard, SFDid Not Play
R. Foye, PGDid Not Play
A. Thornton, SFDid Not Play
C. Jackson, PGDid Not Play
Totals 32-8517-2044212087
 37.6%85.0% 
Other Games
Mia 105 Final
Ind 96
Mil 86 Final
Char 87
Hou 119 Final
Bos 114
Atl 88 Final
Cle 93
Pho 109 Final
Det 94
NO 96 Final
Mem 107
Orl 100 Final
SA 112
NY 117 Final
GS 128
Utah 92 Final
LAL 106