Washington Wizards at the Chicago Bulls Preview
The matchup this Wednesday night features two Eastern Conference teams that find themselves near the bottom end of the conference. Both teams are currently one of four teams tied for the ninth spot in the conference but aren’t exactly contenders sitting 4.5 games behind the 8th seeded Nets (the other teams tied with them are the Hornets and Pistons). Washington’s current record is 13-26 following their loss last game against the Jazz. The Bulls are also coming off a loss, to the Celtics, and are 14-27 on the year. Chicago leads the season series 1-0 so far after their 1-point OT win against the Wizards earlier in the year.
Time: 6 PM CST
Arena: United Center, Chicago, IL
Channel: NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Washington
Wizards Team: Rui Hachimura (Out), Moritz Wagner (Out), John Wall (Out), Garrison Mathews (Out)
Bulls Team: Wendell Carter (Out), Otto Porter (Out)
Washington Wizards Preview Starting Lineup
PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Gary Payton II
SF: Bradley Beal
PF: Isaac Bonga
C: Ian Mahinmi
The Wizards are coming off of a tough loss to the Jazz that saw them lead in the first half to only get dominated in the second half and end up losing by 11. Washington will once again be short-handed missing Hachimura, Wagner, Mathews, and of course John Wall. This has forced head coach Scott Brooks to send out some interesting lineups including a 4-guard starting lineup last game against the Jazz.
Missing Hachimura and Wagner has led to some lack of depth in the frontcourt which resulted in them losing the rebound battle against Utah. Despite all of the chaos that has surrounded the Wizards Bradley Beal has still been performing well. He put 25 points against Utah even though he went 0-7 beyond the arc. Bradley struggled shooting wise last time against the Bulls going on abysmal 4-19 from the field but made some ground back by going 13-14 from the charity stripe. Washington will need a good performance from Beal to succeed on Wednesday night.
Another important player for Washington will be Davis Bertans who is coming off an 18-point game on Monday. Bertans torched the Bulls in their last matchup scoring 26 points including 7 triples. Another player to watch off the bench for the Wizards is Jordan McRae. He has been extremely hot as of late averaging a surprising 19.8 points over his last 10.
Chicago Bulls Starting Lineup
PG: Tomas Satoransky
SG: Kris Dunn
SF: Zach LaVine
PF: Lauri Markkanen
C: Daniel Gafford
The Bulls halted a 6-game skid against the Pistons and followed that win up with another loss against a tough Celtics team. The game against the Celtics was a frustrating one with Jim Boylen continuing to run questionable rotations. Boylen has underplayed key players even with 2 starters being injured. Lauri Markkanen only played 25 minutes against Boston despite Wendell Carter being injured for an extended period of time. Markkanen gave minutes away to Luke Kornet, 22 minutes, who added virtually zero production. Chicago should be focused more on getting Markkanen involved in the offense. He is supposed to be a key piece for this young team and his scoring would help take a lot of stress off of Zach LaVine’s workload.
Zach LaVine was one of the lone bright spots in the tough Bulls’ loss on Monday, adding 30 points which is now his 7th straight 20-point performance. Thaddeus Young also offered one of his better performances on the scoring 17 points. It has been a tough season for Young who has struggled amongst lower than expected playing time but could provide the Bulls with a spark off the bench especially while they are undermanned.
Head coach Jim Boylen has yet to prove he deserves to see the end of this season with the Bulls. He has put out interested rotations as well as used a defensive scheme that has seen him unsuccessful blitz pick and rolls all year long. This scheme of blitzing the pick and roll was clearly ineffective against the Celtics especially with Kornet not being quick enough to recover after the blitz.
Key Player Matchups
Bradley Beal vs Zach LaVine
A key matchup on Wednesday night will be between each team’s primary scorer. LaVine won the head-to-head matchup last time out against Washington. Expect a high-volume scoring battle between two of the conferences’ best wing scorers.
Davis Bertans vs Lauri Markkanen
It will be interesting to see which floor-stretching big will be able to impose their will on this game. Whoever provides more of a scoring impact out of these two should have a huge outcome on the result of the game. Bertans will get his shots up but Markkanen hasn’t been as aggressive so far this year.
Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine should be top options just due to the expected volume and opportunity they should see on Wednesday night. A cheaper, more value-based pick in DFS for me is Daniel Gafford. He should take advantage of the minutes he is getting from the injured Carter.
Bet on Matchup
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