Just when the Washington Wizards appeared to be getting healthy, another one of their leaders has been sidelined.
Washington defeated Miami 109-95 at home on Friday night to clinch its fourth straight playoff berth, but Jamison missed his first game of the season because of a sprained right shoulder. He remains listed as day-to-day.
Jamison, who is averaging 21.5 points and a team-high 10.2 rebounds, injured his shoulder late in Wednesday’s 110-109 loss to Milwaukee - the same game in which star Gilbert Arenas made his return after missing 66 games because of left knee surgery.
The Wizards’ top three scorers - Jamison, Arenas and Caron Butler - have played just nine games together this season, but the team feels that if they can have everyone at full strength for the playoffs they can make a run.
In Jamison’s absence on Friday, Butler scored 29 points, while Andray Blatche added 17.
Arenas finished with 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench on Friday after scoring 17 in 20 minutes on Wednesday.
“As long as we’re healthy, we can beat anybody,” Butler said.
Washington (39-37) is tied for fifth place in the East with Philadelphia, one game ahead of seventh-place Toronto.
Arenas has not faced the Bulls (30-45) since he had 36 points and seven rebounds in a 105-90 loss at Chicago on Feb. 23, 2007.
Washington has split its first two games of the season against the Bulls, with the road team winning each contest.
The Wizards won 97-91 at the United Center on Feb. 29, snapping a six-game losing streak there. Washington has not swept the season series in Chicago since 1982-83.
Although their chances of a fourth straight playoff berth are nearly gone, the Bulls rallied for a 101-98 victory at Cleveland on Thursday, when they outscored the Cavaliers 24-13 in the fourth quarter and overcame a 17-point deficit.
“It says a lot about our guys to get down 17 on the road against a team like this and fight our way back,” Chicago interim coach Jim Boylan said.
Chicago, though, has won only three of its last eight games. The 11th-place Bulls are 4 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with seven games remaining. They also have not won consecutive games since March 4 and 6.
Ben Gordon finished with 24 points on Thursday and made five clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. Gordon, who is averaging a team-high 19.1 points, had only six in the loss to the Wizards in February.