(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls co-own the longest current winning streak in the NBA at five games and will put that mark to the test Monday night when they welcome the Washington Wizards to the United Center.
Both the Bulls and Denver Nuggets have won five straight, but the last three of Chicago's five consecutive victories came without two-time All-Star Luol Deng. He was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, so the Bulls are in the midst of some quality team basketball.
A win on Monday night gets the Bulls to .500, which is pretty incredible considering not only did they acquire no meaningful assets right now for Deng, but former MVP Derrick Rose was lost for the season in November.
"Every time we get knocked down, we get back up. Things don't always go your way," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "If you are not satisfied with your circumstances, you have to do everything you can to change them. We are fighting, clawing, doing everything we have to do."
The Bulls have won eight of their last 10 and the fifth straight victory came Saturday with a 103-97 home triumph over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Joakim Noah, D.J. Augustin and Carlos Boozer each turned in double-doubles on Saturday. Noah finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds, Augustin added 20 points and 12 assists and Boozer chipped in 12 points and 10 boards for the Bulls.
The Wizards have dropped two straight and both came in semi-interesting fashion.
On Friday, the Wiz only scored 66 points in a 27-point rout at Indianapolis. Then, on Saturday, the Wizards and Houston Rockets endured two rain delays before the Rockets emerged with a 114-107 victory in Washington D.C.
The game was delayed at the start of the second and third quarters due to a leak in the Verizon Center roof that continuously dripped water onto the floor at halfcourt near the scorer's table.
John Wall and Trevor Ariza registered double-doubles in Washington's fourth straight loss at home, as each scored 23 points. Wall added 10 assists and Ariza grabbed 14 rebounds
Kevin Seraphin added 18 points off the bench for the Wizards, while Bradley Beal scored 13 points in the loss.
The game was tied at 29 after one quarter of play when there was a lengthy delay at the start of the second stanza. Because of the leak, the game was delayed 35 minutes as personnel tried to deal with the situation.
"It was a big distraction. It can make you too complacent. It is up to us to stay focused, stay in game mode and try to win the game," Beal said.
The Wizards and Bulls split last season's four matchups with the home team prevailing each time. The Wizards have lost eight of their last nine in Chicago.