Wizards-Bulls Preview

Washington Wizards Status Check:
Record: 4-23
Division: 2-7
Conference: 2-17
Road Record: 1-12
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Streak: Won 1
Last game: 105-97 win over Orlando
PPG: 89.2 (30th)
Opponents PPG: 96.9 (13th)
Offensive Rating: 95.8 (30th)
Defensive Rating: 104.1 (12th)
Pace: 91.3 (20th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .446 (30th)
Turnover Percentage: .142 (20th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .733 (13th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .251 (22nd)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .180 (26th)
Opp. eFG%: .488 (14th)
Opp. TO%: .139 (13th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .209 (18th)
Leading scorer: Jordan Crawford (16.0)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Wizards Injury Report:
John Wall: out (knee)
Trevor Ariza: out (strained calf)
Trevor Booker: out (strained knee)
A.J. Price: out (broken hand)

Overview:
The Bulls might have gotten just what the doctor ordered after they were dominated in their last two games: an extended break—thanks to a game postponed due to weather—and a date with the league’s worst team at home.

Not only is Chicago playing the 4-23 Wizards, but they are getting them on the second night of a back-to-back. Washington is 0-7 this year playing on no rest and 1-12 on the road.

The Wizards did win for the fourth time this season on Friday, but it came against an Orlando team that has lost to the Hornets and Raptors in the past week. Not to take anything away from Washington’s win, though…wait that was exactly what I was trying to do. Washington’s win was against a team whose best player is arguably JJ Redick. And I love JJ Redick (please trade Redick to the Bulls, Orlando management).

Jordan Crawford was the game’s leading scorer, dropping an efficient 27 points off the bench (11-16 FG). Nene added 23 points and eleven rebounds. It was the first time this season the Wizards had two scorers with 20 or more points. Washington’s bench combined to score 57 points, while Orlando’s reserves scored just 33 (with 23 of those coming from Redick). The Wizard’s second unit actually outscored their starters.

Washington lost their first 12 games of the year but is 4-11 since that terrible start, with wins over Portland, Miami and New Orleans. They have already lost to Detroit twice, Charlotte twice and Cleveland twice. To say the Wizards have been struggling is such an understatement; it’s like saying Lindsay Lohan has been to a party or two.

In Washington’s defense, they are also without their starting point guard. John Wall is still having issues with his knee and it’s unclear when he’ll be able to play again. Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it? And to defend the Wiz even more, they’ve lost four games in overtime, with a lot of other losses coming by single digits. That means just one or two possessions go a different way and the Wizards could get the win. Plus they only lost to the Rockets by six, while the Bulls got blown out of the gym by Houston. As a matter of fact, I think the Rockets are still scoring on the Bulls, four days later.

The bad news for Washington is that they’ve been struggling on the offensive end, and that’s where the Bulls excel for the most part, with the exception of Chicago’s last time out. When it’s bad news for one team, it’s usually good news for the other. And in this case it’s great news for Chicago. They go from playing the highest scoring team in the league, Houston, to playing the lowest scoring squad.

Washington is last in offensive rating (95.8), points per game (89.2) and effective field goal percentage (446). That is the trifecta, folks. It’s unconfirmed whether or not the Wizards understand the object of the game is to put the ball in the hoop.

“They must be good at something though,” you’re probably saying. And you’d be wrong. They are mediocre at some things, but good is a strong word to use for this Wizards team. Unless you count being “good” at losing. They have that one down.

Washington is middle of the road in defensive rating (12th) and ranges from average (13th in defensive rebound percentage) to poor (22nd in offensive rebound percentage) when it comes to the glass.

The Bulls will still struggle to score points as they always do, and it may be tougher as Luol Deng could miss the game. Lu sprained his ankle in the Houston game and is listed as day-to-day—as usual with Thibs. However, Rip Hamilton may return from the torn plantar fascia in his foot he’s been out because of. Rip has missed 12 games, nearly all of December with the injury. He was averaging 13.4 points on 45.5 percent shooting to go with 2.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He and Deng will both be game-time decisions.

From the other side: Kyle Weidie from TruthAboutIt.net joins us to give the Wizards’ perspective. Follow Weidie on Twitter at @Truth_About_It:

Question #1: What have you done for me lately?
(What’s the status of the Magic over the past week?)
Coming off two embarrassing home-and-home losses to the Detroit Pistons, the Wizards snapped an 8-game losing streak at home against the Orlando Magic on Friday night. Now that a third of their season is gone, they have four wins to show. John Wall participated in a 5-0 drills at practice the other day for the first time all season, but the timetable for his return is still indefinite. The Wizards’ other main player, Nene, played in his 15th game on the season against the Magic and it was his best (23 points, 11 rebounds). He’s slowly starting to play more time as he continues to deal with plantar fasciitis.

Otherwise, Wizards coach Randy Wittman is playing point guard roulette. He started the season with AJ Price and Jannero Pargo as a backup. Later on, Pargo would get cut for Shaun Livingston, Price would break his hand, Livingston would get cut for a Wizards draft pick who didn’t make the team in training camp (Shelvin Mack), and Mack would start for temporary point guard Jordan Crawford (who was late for a shoot-around and moved out the starting lineup two games ago). The kicker: another recent D-League call-up, Garrett Temple, started the second half at point for Mack in last night’s win against the Magic.

Question #2:  Who threw out my alarm clock?
(Which player(s) are we sleeping on?)
No one is really sleeping on any Wizard, but if I had to nominate one, it would be Martell Webster. Without back problems entering this season, he has boosted his numbers to career rates — although, not something to write home about, so we save it for the blogs. Webster can still be as inconsistent as any Wizard, but not because of lack of effort, which has been visibly evident. This season he’s racking up more assists that he ever has, and after Nene, Webster has the highest eFG% on the team (.515).

Question #3: What game-within-the-game counts most?
(What matchup between two players or between each team in a particular statistical category is most important.)
While Nene has had his way against the likes of Tyler Zeller and Gustavo Ayon over the past two games, I’ll be especially interested in how he and frontcourt partner Emeka Okafor fare against Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah tonight. The Wizards can’t win unless they run a lot of offense through Nene out the post. So if Chicago can contain Nene’s points in the paint while clogging the passing lanes that the unselfish Brazilian seems to see better than anyone else, it will be business-as-usual for Washington, which will mean loss No. 24 in 28 games.

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2 Responses to Wizards-Bulls Preview

  1. yomoms@hotmail.com'
    Ski Hi Hook December 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    rockets still scoring on the bulls 4 days later…..that funny.

    great preview. looking foward to that front court battle too….as long as we limit our turnovers we should be good..

    i dont care what i said bout booz last time, i’ll bee rooting for the big dog tonight………..go bulls !

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