Another injury to Derrick Rose and a loss to the Washington Wizards had Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau on edge.
Kevin Seraphin had 21 points and 13 rebounds, John Wall scored 16 points, and the Wizards beat the short-handed Bulls 87-84 on Monday night.
Richard Hamilton scored 22 points to lead Chicago, which played without stars Rose and Luol Deng. Rose was out with a sore right foot as he missed his 24th game of the season.
“Yeah, I’m always concerned. He’s missed a lot of games,” Thibodeau said. “I’m concerned about that, but (also) disappointed, we have to play a lot better. That part is on me. I got to get the team to play well. We had more than enough to win with. We didn’t do our job tonight, I didn’t do my job. It starts with me, I got to have them ready.”
After two straight games of clutch 3-pointers in the final seconds to force overtime in wins against Miami and Detroit, the Bulls missed a chance to make it three in a row when Hamilton’s 3-pointer was blocked by James Singleton with 5.9 seconds left and C.J. Watsonmissed in the final seconds.
Thibodeau was disappointed with Chicago’s 17 turnovers.
“That’s what turnovers do to you, they sap your energy,” he said. “We’re not deterred by the same result, I can tell you that, we keep on making the same play.”
Rose injured his foot in Sunday’s win at Detroit, when he bounced back from a dismal two-point performance against the Heat on Thursday by scoring 24 points and making a 3 in the final seconds to force overtime. Deng also injured his ribs Sunday.
Thibodeau was unsure if Rose will make the trip to Charlotte on Wednesday.
The Bulls’ lead on Miami in the Eastern Conference dropped to 2½ games with five games remaining. The Heat beat New Jersey earlier Monday night.
Even with Rose and Deng out, Thibodeau had no excuses for the poor play.
“The thing is, you can say that, OK maybe one game, but these guys have been around all year. The season is coming to an end very quickly then you have to be ready, you keep on putting things off, it’s not good,” said Thibodeau.
Trailing 68-57 early in the fourth quarter, the Wizards got back in the game with a 13-0 run. Maurice Evans hit a jumper over Hamilton then he made a 3,Brian Cook tied the game at 68 with another 3 and Shelvin Mack’s jumper gave the Wizards a 70-68 lead.
“I challenged them tonight. If we’re going to go down, let’s go down as aggressive as we can. I thought to a man we had that tonight,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “Our defense was pretty darn good.”
The Wizards had 20 fast-break points and limited the Bulls to two.
“We were putting them in the open court with 17 turnovers and they got 27 points. We beat ourselves,” said Thibodeau.
Wall found Singleton for a dunk to put Washington up 82-77 with 1:40 left. Watson answered with a jumper for Chicago and then appeared to have a steal but referee Tony Brothers called a foul on Watson to Thibodeau’s dismay.
After Wall made one of two at the line, Watson hit another jumper to get Chicago to 83-81. After Mack turned it over, the Bulls failed to take advantage, committing a turnover on the offensive end. Wall then made two free throws to put the Wizards up 85-81, but Watson made a 3 to get Chicago back within one with 16.5 left.
Evans finished with 14 points, 10 in the fourth quarter. He last played March 25 at Boston. He took Roger Mason Jr.’s spot in the rotation after he fractured his finger.
“I never been through this before where I’ve sat out so many games with seemingly no opportunity to play,” said Evans. “When the moment came (to play) to take advantage of it.”
The Wizards led 43-40 at the half. Seraphin had 10 points and six rebounds in the first two quarters.
Boozer and Hamilton each had nine points for the Bulls.
Before the game, the Wizards waived Mason and signed G Morris Almond. Mason underwent season-ending surgery to repair his fractured left index finger. He averaged 5.5 points per game.