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Wizards Look To Advance

Having forced the Chicago Bulls to the brink of elimination, the Washington Wizards will look to advance on Tuesday.

Having forced the Bulls to the brink of elimination, the Wizards will look to advance on Tuesday.

The Washington Wizards will look to advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs for the first time in nine years on Tuesday as they face the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference first round series.

Tip-off at United Center is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.

Sixth-seeded Washington cruised to a 98-89 victory over Chicago on Sunday, taking an unexpected 3-1 series lead in the process.

Even without suspended center Nene Hilario, the Wizards proved too much for the Bulls to handle at Verizon Center.

John Wall recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists. Trevor Ariza went for 30 points and finished one rebound shy of his own double-double. Meanwhile, Bradley Beal (18pts) and Marcin Gortat (17pts) also scored in double digits as the Wizards proved their dominance.

A 14-0 start to the game created a gap that the Bulls could never bridge. The Wizards led 82-62 at the end of three before the Bulls managed to gain some respectability during what was essentially garbage time for the Wizards.

Taj Gibson had a career-high 32 points coming off the bench and Joakim Noah recorded a double-double (10pts, 15rebs) in a losing effort.

Mike Dunleavy followed up a 35-point outburst in Game 3 with a six-point effort on Sunday, his performance obviously dampened by a bruised thumb. Despite the injury, he still figures to play in Tuesday’s Game 5.

Now, needing just one win from three games, Randy Wittman’s side will look to pull off the previously unthinkable and dump the Bulls from the postseason.

Since the NBA adopted the 16-team playoff format in 1984, Washington has made 10 postseason appearances, but has advanced to the second round just once, back in 2005. As chance would have it, the Wizards eliminated the Bulls in the first round that year. Can they do likewise when the teams meet on Tuesday?

The Wizards have had little problem finding a rhythm and working through close games, but the Bulls will no doubt put up a tough final fight.

Having fought adversary all season to emerge as one of the Eastern Conference’s toughest teams, Chicago will not roll over for the upstart Wizards. Head coach Tom Thibodeau called for his team to stop getting bullied and fight back. It’s hard to imagine the team doing anything but.

The United Center crowd isn’t about to make things easy for the visiting side either. The Bulls won 14 of their last 18 regular season games at home and will be looking to make amends for those two opening losses to the Wizards. What’s more, Chicago has only been eliminated at home once in their last five postseason appearances, losing to the Miami Heat in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals.

Expect this to be a tight game then and look for the Bulls to take the series back to Washington.

Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls odds for 04/29/2014

Chicago (-195) opened as the favorite over Washington (+165) on the moneyline.

Having beaten the Bulls twice at United Center this season, bettors may like the Wizards’ chances of an upset victory in this one.

The spread opened at (4.5).

Washington is 3-1-0 ATS during this first round series and has now covered the spread in nine of its last 12 meetings with Chicago. The Wizards are also 5-0-0 ATS in their last five trips to the Windy City.

The total opened at (183.5).

The over has paid out in every game this series, as well as two of the three regular season meetings between the two sides.

The over looks even more appealing when you consider four of Washington’s last five trips to Chicago have topped the marker, as have seven of the last eight head-to-head meetings.

If Chicago manages to fend off elimination on Tuesday, Game 6 of the series will take place at Verizon Center in Washington on Thursday (time TBC).

For a full list of today’s NBA Playoffs odds, click here.

For the latest NBA futures odds, click here.

For the latest NBA team prop bets, click here.

For the latest NBA player prop bets, click here.

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