CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Two teams who were once postseason regulars end recent playoff droughts when the Chicago Bulls host the Washington Wizards in the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series Sunday.

Chicago's last trip to the postseason was in 1998 when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen led the Bulls over the Utah Jazz to claim their sixth championship in eight seasons.

The Wizards have not played a playoff game since 1997, when they were swept by the Bulls in the first round and have not won a playoff series since 1982.

After starting the regular season with nine defeats, Chicago finished 47-26 and recorded 24 more wins than last season - the second-biggest turnaround in franchise history - and set a franchise record for opponent field-goal shooting percentage (42.2).

But the Bulls will be without two of their young rising stars. Luol Deng sat out the last 10 games with a torn ligament in his right wrist and leading scorer Eddy Curry has an irregular heartbeat.

Washington's Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes comprise the league's highest-scoring backcourt tandem (47.5). Antawn Jamison (19.6) fell just short of giving the Wizards three 20-point scorers.

There could be some bad blood in the series after Arenas accused a couple of the Bulls of playing dirty. He did not name specific players and only Chicago's Andres Nocioni had an angry reaction to Arenas' remarks.

The Wizards won two of the three regular-season meetings against the Bulls, including a 93-82 triumph on April 13. Hughes led Washington with 23 points.