The Bulls tried to pull off the hat trick, tying a game to force over time with a last second three after an opponent chokes on the intentional foul shots for the third straight game. Unfortunately for Chicago, Washington decided not to miss their free throws, and C.J. Watson only had end of game three in his back pocket.
The game came down to a similar script, but the Wizards put more pressure on Chicago than they could take. With 22 seconds left, John Wall knocked down both free throws to put the Wizards up four. C.J. Watson drilled a three to bring it down to one, the three that would have tied the game if Wall had missed a free throw like Stuckey or LeBron, but he didn't.
Instead, the Bulls fouled again, and Evans knocked down both of his free throws forcing the Bulls to knock down another three. They had two chances, but Rip Hamilton was partially blocked, C.J. Watson missed, and the Bulls couldn't secure the offensive rebound fast enough to get off a third try.
Tom Thibodeau was pissed
The post game presser was about as pissed as I've seen Tom Thibodeau all season long. It's easy to understand why, falling to a garbage team will do that to you. However, much like in the past, when the Bulls barely hang on to a win for a couple games, the attitude of "we'll find a way" seems to overcome the attitude of "holy crap we almost lost, we better try harder", and the Bulls drop a game.
Thibodeau responded that the Bulls had "more than enough" to win [despite missing Rose/Deng] and blamed their lack of energy and turnovers for the loss rather than their lack of personnel. Kyle Korver agreed with that assessment, and I find it hard to argue myself.
Granted, with either guy, the Bulls probably win the game, but they had more than enough to win without them.
Big time loss
The loss opens the cracks for Miami to grab the #1 seed. The Bulls previously had to beat only Washington, Charlotte, and Cleveland to take the #1 seed in the East, but they'll now need to beat Miami, Indiana, or have Miami drop another game against a different opponent to take the east in addition to winning at Charlotte/Cleveland.
The Dallas game, doesn't impact the seeding one way or the other as a win and loss both lower their EC magic number by one [a loss guarantees the tie break]. A healthy Bulls team would still have a considerable edge, but if Derrick Rose remains out, then it's not difficult to imagine a scenario where the Bulls fall to the Heat and Pacers [both road games] and the Heat winning out [though they have three tougher games with Chicago, Houston, and @Boston remaining].
Fingers resting on the panic button
It's not pushed yet, but Derrick Rose's surprise injury appears to have thrown a jolt through Bulls organization. K.C. Johnson noted on twitter two team sources said Rose needs to play, and they want him out there. Thibodeau repeated the same thing at the press conference.
The team has noted how little time they have left to build chemistry, and they aren't going to do a whole lot of it if Derrick Rose can't get back on the court. At this point, who knows when that will be? Luol Deng will likely recover from the rib injury shortly and resume his play, but the Bulls are less than two weeks from the playoffs and have to consider what a playoff run would look like without Rose or with a severely limited Rose at this point.
The thought isn't pretty. We've generally taken the tact that Rose will be ready to go by the playoffs, but he seems to keep compounding injury upon injury. It remains to be seen whether they're compensatory, but the present situation isn't pretty, and I have little faith in the Bulls medical staff's treatment of such injuries. Perhaps we can trade a future first rounder for the Suns medical staff and get our guys put back together.
The game itself featured many of the problems of the Pistons game. The Bulls went into a massive offensive slump at one point, turned the ball over too much, and failed to get back on defense in transition. The Bulls could have easily won this game with a bit better play in one of many areas as the Washington team that beat them didn't mow them down with hot shooting or anything.
Washington played fairly typical, lousy, Wizards brand basketball. The Bulls simply played even worse. Korver didn't knock down a shot, Lucas was 1/6 from the field, and Brewer hit just 3/9 and missed his two free throws.
These games happen, and they happen more frequently when the teams two best players sit with injury, but Chicago will need to regroup quickly and find a way to beat Miami or Indiana in addition to Charlotte and Cleveland if they want the #1 seed in the East.