Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) battles Washington Wizards guard Shelvin Mack for loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, April 16, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Kevin Seraphin had 21 points and 13 rebounds, John Wall scored 16 points, and the Washington Wizards beat the short-handed Chicago Bulls 87-84 on Monday night.
Richard Hamilton scored 22 points to lead the Bulls, who played without stars Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. Rose was out with a sore right foot as he missed his 24th game of the season, and Deng sat out due to sore right ribs.
After two straight games of clutch 3-pointers in the finals seconds to force overtime in wins against Miami and Detroit, the Bulls missed a third chance when Hamilton's 3-pointer was blocked by James Singleton with 5.9 seconds left and C.J. Watson missed in the final seconds.
The Bulls' lead on Miami in the Eastern Conference dropped to 2 1/2 games with five games remaining. The Heat beat New Jersey earlier Monday night.
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.
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.
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 the dismay of Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
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.
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.