A.J. Price knew the percentages, and he knew the Chicago Bulls did, too.
So when Price got the ball on the wing and faked a pass to the corner for Trevor Ariza, a slightly bigger perimeter threat than himself, Daequan Cook had no choice but to bite. He did, hard.
That left Price open for his second 3-pointer in the Wizards' gritty 90-86 win over the Bulls on Tuesday, part of 13 points and part of his case to keep his place on the roster next season.
"I definitely want to be here," Price said after the game. "I've expressed that many a time."
With seven games left, the fourth-year guard has as much motivation as any player on the Wizards' roster, riding a one-year, league-minimum deal. He has averaged 7.1 points per game along with career highs in assists (3.7) and minutes (22.0).
He also has missed 24 games thanks to a broken hand earlier in the season and a groin strain from which he came back early -- and not fully recovered.
"I probably won't be there until after the season," Price said. "So I'm just trying to stay within myself, make sure I don't do anything I'm accustomed to doing."
With Bradley Beal already shelved for the remainder of the year, Price could get the chance to play more alongside John Wall, who wants him behind him next year.
"He trusts me. He supports my talent and what I do in the first group, and I trust what he does in second group," Wall said. "We talked about having an opportunity to play with each other more, and he makes the job easy because he can push the pace and he's able to knock down shots. I like him as a backup point guard. He does a great job. He's serious about his business."
It's an endorsement that shows just how close Wall believes the Wizards (28-47) are to a finished product.
"I feel like we can be a great team in the East, a top-five team easily," Wall said. "I just feel like if everybody stay healthy, we work, and all we can do is just keep improving each summer. If everybody improve and come back healthy and stay healthy, we can be a real good team."
- Craig Stouffer