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Illness will prevent Bulls' best player from facing Wizards

Illness will prevent Bulls' best player from facing Wizards

The Wizards were given a gift over the weekend, when Giannis Antetokounmpo couldn't play for the Milwaukee Bucks because of illness. Tuesday, Jimmy Butler isn't expected to be with the Chicago Bulls at Verizon Center for the same reason.

According to Bulls Insider Vince Goodwill of CSNchicago.com:

Butler, who has scored 40, 52 and 42 since Dec. 28, only scored one point on 0-for-6 shooting in the Bulls' 109-94 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night. He played just 28 minutes. 

MORE WIZARDS: BUTLER MAY NOT BE ALONE ON CHICAGO'S BENCH

With Dwyane Wade (rest) expected not to play in the second game of a back-to-back either, the matchup with the Wizards (18-18) will look significantly different as they try to get over .500 for the first time since November 2015.

Rajon Rondo has been replaced in the starting lineup by Michael Carter-Williams and hasn't played in the last five games. Rondo is 1-for-16 in the two meetings with the Wizards, who won the last time to put the season series at 1-1. 

The first time these teams met, the Wizards didn't have John Wall as he was being held out of back-to-back games and Bradley Beal had a sore hamstring. 

Based on what took place last season on Feb. 24, however, the Wizards' core players should know better than take victory for granted. The Bulls had injuries galore -- no Butler or Derrick Rose at the time -- but E'Twaun Moore took over and led seven players in double figures of a 109-104 upset of a team desperately trying to qualify for the postseason.

They fell behind by 12 points to Milwaukee but came back to win 107-102.

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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 5: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 5: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

GAME 5: WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT TORONTO RAPTORS

Series: Series tied 2-2
Where: Air Canada Centre
Tip-off: 7:02 p.m. (earlier tipoff than usual)
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Pivotal game

The Wizards have done their part in winning both games at home to even up this series at 2-2. Now comes Game 5, which could very well determine who takes this series.

Winners of Game 5 in a seven-game series tied at 2-2 hold a 164-34 (.828) record all-time. That means teams that lose Game 5 come back to win the final two games and the series only 17.2 percent of the time.

The Wizards need to get this one and they know all too well why. Last year they were in this same position in their second round series against the Boston Celtics. They went down 0-2, won the next two games but then lost Game 5 and ultimately the series in seven games.

Road warriors

The Wizards will also have to do something they have yet to do in a while in Game 5 and that is win on the road. Though they have won eight straight home postseason games, they have lost their last six on the road. It goes back to that Celtics series when Washington lost all four games in Boston. The last time they won on the road in the playoffs was Game 6 last year against the Hawks.

The Raptors are particularly tough in Toronto. They were 34-7 this season at home, tied with the Houston Rockets for the best record in the NBA. 

The recent historical odds are also in Toronto's favor. Since 2003, the home team has won each of the first four games in a seven-game series 35 times. In those series, the home team has held a Game 5 record of 22-13 and a series record of 26-9. If the Raptors get Game 5, history will be on their side to go on to win the series.

Can Otto get going?

Games 3 and 4 in Washington saw All-Star Bradley Beal break out to score 28 and 31 points. Will we see the same from Otto Porter before this series is over?

Game 4 seemed to suggest that is possible. After scoring only one point in the first half, Porter erupted for 10 points in the third quarter alone. Though he only scored 12 points in the game overall, it was the most aggressive we have seen him all series.

Porter is averaging just 10.3 points per game through four playoff games. He is shooting 50 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from three, and as long as the Wizards are winning he won't complain, but Porter can do much more than that on offense. If he starts scoring more, the Wizards will be tough to stop.

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MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

WALL HAS REACHED PEAK FORM AMAZINGLY QUICK

WALL IS BOYCOTTING DRAKE'S MUSIC DURING SERIES

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out or latest Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes, Travis Thomas and Julie Donaldson reset the series and looked ahead to Game 5.

They were joined by TSN Sports anchor Kayla Grey to find out the Toronto perspective. The Wizards have all the momentum in this series, now they just have to keep it going.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!