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Chicago Bulls (26-16) at Washington Wizards (10-31) Preview

January 26th, 2013 at 3:00 PM
By Avi Saini

Coming off a huge performance against the Golden State Warriors last night, the Chicago Bulls travel to the nation's capitol to take on the Washington Wizards in the second game of a back to back. Coming into this game the Bulls have won six of seven games and have, at times, looked like an unstoppable force. At other times, the Bulls have looked like a train wreck as they did in the first half of the game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

It really seems like luck of the draw as to what we'll get with this bipolar Bulls team. Tonight is an even greater mystery as the Bulls are playing in back-to-back nights during which they had to travel. The Bulls will either ride the momentum from a very big win last night or the Bulls are going to be so exhausted from last night's win and subsequent flight to Washington DC that they fall short tonight. I'm personally hoping for the former, but Chicago also likes to play down to their opponent's level so the latter is just as likely. We'll see.

Assuming both teams play an average game, however, the Bulls should have the upper hand in this one. While Chicago continues to dwell in the slums as one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA their opponent is even worse off. The Wizards are 29th in the NBA in points scored per game and are dead last in offensive rating (compared to Chicago's 25th in ppg and 20th offensive rating). Chicago also boasts the better defense (though the Wizards's defense is nothing to scoff at).

Roster wise, the Bulls should have an advantage at every position except for point guard as John Wall is now starting for the Wizards after having missed a good deal of the season. The advantage in the post should be very beneficial as it'll allow Chicago to outrebound the Wizards even if the Bulls shoot poorly from the floor.

The Bulls should be missing Luol Deng again tonight (we will keep you updated on his status) while the Wizards will be without Cartier Martin.

Key Matchup: Jimmy Butler vs. John Wall

First and foremost the chances of seeing Jimmy Butler on John Wall tonight is almost zero unless we see a rotation after a screen. But if these two aren't going to go at it head, why did I pick this matchup? Well, for as good as John Wall has been throughout his career (almost averaging a double-double in points and assists) there are nights when Wall advertises where his passes are going on a billboard. Enter Jimmy Butler. Since Deng's injury, we've seen Butler's basketball IQ and exceptional defense, especially when it comes to predicting passes and forcing a tip or a full on steal. Tonight should be no exception. So whenever John Wall passes the ball into Butler's vicinity tonight I'll be watching very closely as turnovers could change the game completely.

Tags: Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Jimmy Butler, John Wall, Luol Deng, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA, Washington Wizards

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