Regular Season Game 77
Wizards (42-34) at Bulls (25-51)
April 1, 2018 at 3:30 PM United Center | Chicago, IL
Radio: 1500 AM
Odds: WSH -8
CHICAGO — The Washington Wizards finally got their All-Star point guard back. John Wall made his debut in the 107-93 victory against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday. Head coach Scott Brooks said Wall would not play the second game of the back-to-back. Nevertheless, the Wizards goal is to continue to take steps forward and not backwards against the wayward Chicago Bulls.
What to Watch:
Chicago is 2-8 in their last ten games; however, depending on the lineup this roster is still very competitive. Additionally, the Wizards are prone to playing down to their competition and that can be problematic as Washington is battling for playoff seeding. As of now, they are a full game ahead of No. 8 Milwaukee and 1.5 games ahead of No. 7 Miami. There are only six games remaining in the regular season, and the Wizards need to take advantage of the bottom-feeding Bulls who have one of the worst records in the association.
Lauri Markkanen vs. Wizards’ Bigs
In the last ten games, Markkanen has averaged 15 points on 45.6 percent shooting. Additionally, he is grabbing just shy of seven boards in each contest. The rookie is one of the main sources of offense for the Bulls. Washington must contain him, alongside Robin Lopez, to ensure a victory. If the Wizards allow the Bulls to hang around, or if Washington does not attack early, Chicago has enough shooters to jump ahead and make the road team work for this win. The last thing the Wizards want to do is drop a game in Chicago prior to facing Houston and Cleveland later on this week.
It is well documented that the Bulls are tanking. As of now, both Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn are out tomorrow. It is unclear exactly who will be starting in this game and if Markkanen will play. Additionally, the same can be said about the Wizards in terms of who will play. Wall is out and it is unclear what Markieff Morris’ status will be as he left Saturday’s game early with flu-like symptoms. Otto Porter Jr. left Thursday’s game with an ankle injury, but still managed to drop 26 points and grab 11 rebounds on Saturday. Yet, this being a back-to-back against a tanking team, it is not illogical to think that if Porter’s ankle is nagging him that he may not play as many minutes against Chicago.
Kelly Oubre and Bobby Portis
Both Oubre and Portis bring exciting personalities to the court. The two have great respect for each other so it is unlikely that there will be any drama between them. However, watching Portis and Oubre should be a delight as these are two feisty players that provide sparks for the second unit.
Washington should win this game. Under no circumstances should the Bulls defeat the Wizards. However, the Wizards have shown throughout the season that they can and will lose games that should be easy victories. Washington needs to take advantage of the tanking Chicago Bulls and get ahead big so their starters can get a chance to rest and prepare for the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.