The 7-19 Washington Wizards will host the 17-9 Chicago Bulls tonight in the second meeting between the two teams. The Wizards are off their most convincing regular season win since 2006, while the Bulls, without center Joakim Noah, are remaining afloat thanks to the play of Derrick Rose and the return of Carlos Boozer. However, Washington will get some help tonight of their own, as Rashard Lewis debuts as a Wizard.
While rookie John Wall remains on the IR, Lewis will help spread the floor for the Wizards due to his ability to knock down the long ball as well as his ability to work the paint. He’s a versatile veteran and a piece Washington has missed. When Yi Jianlian tweaked his knee for a second time, the Wizards lost that dynamic forward option, and Lewis should help strengthen Washington’s bench tonight as a result.
With Wall out due to a right knee bone bruise, expect a familiar line-up of JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, Al Thornton, Nick Young, and Kirk Hinrich. Lots of movable parts in that starting five. Blatche has the range to play some small forward, while Thornton has the toughness to play some power forward. Nick can switch with Al on defense and not lose too much in a match-up, while Kirk, one of Washington’s better defenders, has been tasked to guard anyone from point guards to small forwards. Tonight, Hinrich will most likely have the tough assignment of Derrick Rose.
I’ll have more on the game from the Verizon Center, via Twitter and through quarter updates here. Stay tuned, and stay warm.
Update (6:20 p.m. ET):
-I talked to Rashard before the game, asked him how he was feeling. Said he’ll play off bench, worried about fatigue since he hasn’t gone through a full practice in four days.
-Wall did some standing dribble exercises on court pregame, and practiced mid-Js, then finished with a few dunks & a three point attempt on a loose ball. He signed autographs for the fans with Al Thornton before they both left the court for the locker room.
-‘Dray is almost always the last one off the court, dueling with Sam Cassell. Best part of pregame.
Update (7:12 p.m. ET):
Happy birthday to Wizards DJ Big Tigger, who turned 38 today. Yep, an update just for Tig.
1st Q – 33-29, Wizards lead Bulls
Nick Young led the way with 10 points, while Kirk Hinrich orchestrated the offense with 7 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. Strong effort off the bench for Washington, 9-2 over Chicago in that department thanks to 5 from Josh Howard and 4 from Rashard Lewis. Al Thornton couldn’t get going, took three long jump shots and only made one of them. Bulls, led by Deng with 8 points, turned ball over 6 times and couldn’t get in rhythm at times. However, Wizards fumbled two of those turnovers away, one due to a missed lay-up by Andray Blatche, and another due to an offensive foul called on Nick Young.
2nd Q – 50-46, Wizards lead Bulls
Young continued his hot hand adding 5 points in the second quarter, while Hinrich leaves the court with 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists at halftime. Derrick Rose 0-for-4 from perimeter, limited by Kirk. 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists for Rose at half. Carlos Boozer 14 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds.
WAS – John Wall (Out; Knee); Yi Jianlian (Out; Knee).
CHI – Joakim Noah (Out; Thumb); Taj Gibson (Active; Concussion), Derrick Rose (Active; Wrist).
Telecast: CSN & nationally on NBATV @ 7:00 p.m. ET
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
If you have any trouble finding tonight’s game check out CSN’s Channel Finder.