Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards Preview
On Tuesday night, the 9th and 10th seeds in the Eastern Conference will go at it. Both teams are surprisingly still in the playoff race despite their poor records due to the lack of depth at the bottom of the east. A loss to the Wizards would tie their second-longest losing streak on the year. Washington, on the other hand, has actually produced some better results as of late. They have gone 3-2 over their last 5. Both teams were pretty inactive over last Thursday’s trade deadline. Chicago currently leads the 4 game series 2-0.
Time: 6 PM CST
Arena: Capital One Arena, Washington DC
Channel: NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Washington
Bulls: Wendell Carter (Out), Kris Dunn (Out), Lauri Markkanen (Out), Otto Porter (Out), Denzel Valentine (Questionable)
Wizards: Thomas Bryant (Out), Garrison Mathews (Out), John Wall (Out)
Chicago Bulls Starting Lineup
The Bulls have not been able to slow their streak of poor performances over their last six games. A 5th straight loss to the 76ers in Sunday continued to reverse any prior momentum they had built up from their back-to-back wins at the end of January. The 118-111 loss to the highlighted Chicago’s lack of depth and inability to close games out.
Zach LaVine led Bulls with 32 points and 8 assists on over 50% shooting from both the field and beyond the arc. This was a bounce-back performance of sorts, who, despite volume had struggled with efficiency over his prior 5 games shooting under 40% and under 20% from three. Although LaVine helped carry the Bulls offense he had some detriments to their offensive flow turning the ball over 9 times. This has been a problem for Chicago all year haven given up the 7th most opponents points off turnovers in the NBA.
The Bulls also got some unexpected production from their reserve centers who have gotten big minutes due to injuries. Luke Kornet poured in a career-high 25 points on 10-14 shooting. Off the bench, Cristiano Felicio gave the Bulls 13 points and 7 rebounds.
Chicago will look to take care of the ball better than their game against Philly. Chicago should have a good chance to keep it even on the boards against an equally ineffective rebounding team. The Bulls should look to push it in transition and attack the rim against a team that has allowed the 4th most free throw attempts in the NBA.
Washington Wizards Starting Lineup
The Wizards have clearly struggled all year but have produced some improved results as of late. Their last 5 games featured 3 wins including two against current playoff teams in the Nets and Mavericks. Despite dropping two of their last 3 home games, Washington actually has as respectable 12-13 home record (1/3 of their wins coming at home).
Bradley Beal led the Wizards in scoring as usually with 26 points. Washington was able to get some more scoring off the bench from Davis Bertans and Moritz Wagner. Bertans put up 15 points and 6 rebounds while the recently healthy Wagner added 19 points and 9 rebounds. This was Wagner’s 3rd game back from injury but his first with unrestricted minutes. He should provide a boost to the thing Wizards frontcourt and give them yet another shooter. Along with Wagner Rui Hachimura played his 3rd game back from injury. He recorded his 3rd double-double of the year and give them more flexibility in the frontcourt. The recently acquired Shabazz Napier did not give Washington the same efficiency as in his Wizards debut. He tacked on 6 points and 6 assists but failed to hit a field goal going 0 for 7.
As I mentioned in the Bulls section, the rebound battle should be up for grabs. Hachimura and Wagner’s returns should help them on the boards. The Wizards will need to focus on ball security against a team that forces the most turnovers in the NBA.
Key Player Matchup
Zach LaVine vs Bradley Beal
There really is no other matchup to highlight in this game other than this one. Each team’s two best players and leading scores going at it on both sides of the ball. This should also be a good indicator of how the game should go. LaVine has had more points than Beal in both previous wins and overall more efficient games.
Beal and LaVine are both great options on what should be a high scoring, fast-paced game with a lot of opportunities to go around. Past that most other options in this matchup are some value-based plays. No one else is priced higher than $5,800 other than Beal and LaVine. I believe Davis Bertans ($5,800) and Chandler Hutchison ($4,600) should be in line for good production at those price tags.
Bet on Matchup
If you’re in Pennsylvania, you can bet on this matchup. Sports betting is legal in PA. Our top-rated online sportsbook bonus offers can be found in our articles: Fanduel Sportsbook promo code, DraftKings Sportsbook promo code & Pointsbet promo code.