Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Wizards on CSN

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Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Wizards on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Wizards on Friday night on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Beat another good team? The Bulls have nearly identical records against teams above .500 and below .500. Entering Friday's game in D.C., the Bulls are 15-17 against teams with winning records and 17-19 against teams with losing records. The Wizards are 41-26 so that means... nothing?

2. Life without Wade. Dwyane Wade has already missed games this season, but now the Bulls know he won't be back for the rest of the regular season. Wade's absence is a blow to the Bulls' flickering playoff hopes. Knowing the future Hall of Famer won't be in the lineup means there could be more minutes for the likes of Denzel Valentine.

3. Final meeting with the Wizards. The Bulls won the first meeting with the Wizards this season, a 106-95 win in November at the United Center. Jimmy Butler scored 37 points in that one. The Wizards won the next two, a 107-97 road win in December and a 101-99 home win in January when Butler and Wade both sat out.

4. Time to turn things around. Since winning five out of six, a run which featured wins against Toronto, Boston, Cleveland and Golden State, to bring their record to 31-30, the Bulls have slumped badly. The Bulls have lost six of seven to cancel out the good run. Playing at a team which is currently third in the Eastern Conference isn't exactly a recipe for a slump buster, but the Bulls need wins to get back in the playoff hunt.

5. Surging Wizards. Since a slow start to the season the Wizards have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA. The Wizards were 16-18, but won 23 of the next 29 games to rise up the conference standings. Heading into Friday's game, however, the Wizards have lost two in a row. It's just the third time in 2017 the Wizards have lost consecutive games. The Wizards haven't lose three in a row since November, a streak that included a loss to the Bulls.

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you're ready for action

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- Latest on the Bulls: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Bulls fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Bulls Pulse

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Here are some of the top Chicago sports stories from a busy Sunday: 

Tonight on CSN: Blackhawks look to bounce back vs. Lightning

Nikola Mirotic, Bulls show some moxie in road win over Bucks

Today on CSN: White Sox battle Dodgers in spring training game

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

Will lopsided loss shake Blackhawks from their slumber?

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson's foot could keep him out until late May

Joe Maddon doesn’t have any concerns about new Cubs closer Wade Davis

Nick Delmonico takes advantage of fresh start with White Sox

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

Owners to consider on and off field changes this week during NFL meetings

Honda Road Ahead: Bulls continue playoff push against Cavaliers, Hawks

Honda Road Ahead: Bulls continue playoff push against Cavaliers, Hawks

Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill and Will Perdue break down the Bulls' upcoming schedule in the latest edition of the Bulls Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers.

TNT Bulls are back this week as the team heads into a crucial stretch. 

Currently, the Bulls sit half a game back of the Miami Heat for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and with just eight games remaining on the schedule, each contest is essentially a must-win. 

So, yes, Thursday would be a great time for Jimmy Butler and company to summon their TNT alter ego. The Bulls have sealed 18 straight victories when playing on TNT Thursday, an improbable feat considering those games are usually reserved for two of the NBA's best. 

To continue that run, they'll have to down Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are also fighting for playoff positioning -- albeit at the top of the conference. Good thing the Bulls have a tendency to get up for big games. 

"The Bulls play up and down to their competition," Bulls Pregame and Postgame analyst Kendall Gill said. "They've been doing that the whole season." 

After Cleveland, the Bulls get set to battle another playoff squad, the Atlanta Hawks. 

Watch the video above to see Schanowski, Gill and Perdue break down the matchups.