Bulls-Wizards Preview

Washington Wizards Status Check:
Record: 10-31
Division: 4-8
Conference: 4-21
Home: 7-13
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Streak: Won 1
Last game: 114-101 win over Minnesota
PPG: 91.5 (29th)
Opponents PPG: 96.8 (12th)
Offensive Rating: 97.6 (30th)
Defensive Rating: 103.3 (7th)
Pace: 92.1 (11th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .461 (29th)
Turnover Percentage: .143 (28th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .735 (13th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .248 (22nd)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .178 (26th)
Opp. eFG%: .483 (9th)
Opp. TO%: .136 (17th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .206 (18th)
Leading scorer: Jordan Crawford (14.9)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Wizards Injury Report:
Cartier Martin: out (hyperextended knee)

Overview:
The Bulls had been struggling at home all season, with a record just over .500 and losses to some sub-par teams. Coming off a hard-fought win against the Pistons, the Bulls were expected to have their hands full against the Warriors. That was far from the case though, as the Bulls jumped all over Golden State from the beginning and cruised to a 16 point victory.

In the first quarter, Chicago held Golden State to 22.7 percent shooting, while the Bulls hit at a 53.8 percent rate. Kirk Hinrich had eleven in the first quarter and hit two treys. Before last night, he had hit more than two three-pointers in a game just twice. And those eleven first quarter points would have tied for his sixth highest scoring game of the season. He ended up with a season-high 25 points and connected with 6-7 from deep (he hit eight threes in all of November). Things were working for the Bulls early, and although the lead shrunk to 13 at half, Chicago maintained control throughout.

Jimmy Butler got his first double-double, recording a career-high 12 rebounds to go with 18 points. Carlos Boozer (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Joakim Noah (14 points, 16 rebounds) also joined the double-double party. Those three guys owned the glass, and the Bulls out-rebounded the Warriors 56-37. Chicago grabbed 16 offensive rebounds against the best defensive rebounding team in the league. Golden State had been giving up 11.3 O-boards per contest.

Nate Robinson was Good Nate last night, scoring 22 points on 16 shots. Even Daequan Cook hit a three. It was a dominating all-around performance (The Warriors did get to the line 33 times, and hit 29 of them, which was one of the few negatives).

From one of the better teams in the leagues to the second worst, Chicago’s attention now turns to the Wizards. The Bulls topped Washington in late December in what was an ugly contest as neither team shot 40 percent. The Wizards won the rebounding battle 56-49, but the Bulls turned it over just nine times and allowed only eight points off those giveaways to make up for the difference.

Marco Belinelli led the Bulls in scoring in the first match-up with the Wizards, scoring 17. It was Rip Hamilton’s first game back after missing 12 contests, which forced Belinelli back to the bench. The fear was that the he couldn’t duplicate the same numbers he had as a starter. It looked promising after that game, but hasn’t been so great since. Since Belinelli returned to the bench, the 17 he scored against Washington are his high. He is averaging just 8.9 points in the month of January, hitting double digits just five times.

Emeka Okafor dominated the glass, grabbing 18 rebounds, including six offensive ones. The way the Bulls cleaned the glass like Windex against Golden State, Okafor shouldn’t be allowed to duplicate that high number.

The biggest difference in this one (other than Luol Deng possibly being out) will be the presence of John Wall. At least one team in this match-up will have their franchise point guard. Wall is averaging 14.0 points and 6.9 assists in eight games since his return from a knee injury. Washington is 5-3 with the Kentucky-grad in their line-up, topping the Hawks and Nuggets among others (all of their losses were single digits as well).

They got a double-digit win last night over the very injured Timberwolves though. Minnesota, who was without Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic and Alexy Shved, allowed the Wiz to shoot 57.8 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from deep. Six Washington players scored in double figures and ten guys had at least six points, all led by Jordan Crawford’s efficient 19 (7-10). Bradley Beal dropped 16, while Wall and Okafor each chipped in 14.

It was the second highest point output for the Wizards this season. They rank last in offensive rating (97.6) and second to last in effective field goal percentage (.461). For as bad as their offense has been, and it has improved with Wall back in the line-up, their defense has been impressive. Washington ranks seventh in defensive rating (103.3) and ninth in opponent eFG (.483). The Bulls managed just 87 points against the Wizards on December 29.

Washington has won four straight at home, and is 6-3 in their last nine, while the Bulls have won five straight on the road. Chicago is 4-5 on the second night of back-to-backs and the Wizards are 1-10.

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