By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards try and win their eighth consecutive home game tonight when they host the Chicago Bulls tonight at Verizon Center (7:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The season series is tied at 1-1.
All season long, the Wizards MO has been beating playoff teams at home and if the trend continues they will have no problem taking care of the Bulls tonight. It won't be easy as the Bulls are one of the top defensive teams in the league and enter tonight with the fifth best defensive rating in the NBA.
The Bulls made headlines last week when they knocked off the Miami heat, ending their winning streak at 27 games. They did so by being the more physical team and expect another physical game tonight when they take on the Wizards. When the Wizards beat them in January, they were without Luol Deng but he will be suited up tonight and will be a focal point of the Bulls attack. Deng does a little bit of everything and does it on both ends of the court which makes him a tough matchup day in and day out.
Although he may be nearing a return, Derrick Rose has missed the entire 2012-13 season which makes it even more impressive that the Bulls are where they are in the standings. Rose is Chicago's leader and best player, but without him former Wizard Kirk Hinrich has filled in doing a nice job in the point guard position. Besides Rose, the Bulls have other key weapons banged up as Joakim Noah, Richard Hamilton, and Marco Belinelli are all questionable tonight with various injuries.
The Wizards returned home on Sunday night and kept their home winning streak alive as they won easily over the Toronto Raptors. Bradley Beal returned to the lineup and picked up right where he left off scoring 24 points and tied a career-high with six made three-pointers. Having Beal back in the lineup was huge and instantly made the Wizards a much more potent threat on offense. The John Wall-Bradley Beal backcourt is starting to make noise in the league and could be one of the more lethal combinations for years to come.
Nene went through a physical workout at Monday's practice and said depending on how he felt today could play in tonight's game vs. the Bulls. He's missed the last four games with a knee injury.
The action kicks off at 7:00pm.
Martell Webster enters tonight ranked 7th in the NBA in 3-point FG%, shooting it at 43%. He's fighting through an abdominal injury, but returned to the lineup last Friday night and scored 19 points in his return. His ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc and spread the floor has opened up the Wizards offense. But, tonight he will get a tough test in Luol Deng.
For the second straight season, Deng leads the NBA in minutes per game with 39.0. He is a warriors and may be the heart and soul of the Bulls team as he does everything for them. He is their leading scorer and one of their best defenders, making him a real threat to the Wizards tonight. He missed the last game these two teams played, but should be a factor in tonight's contest.
In the below clip, Webster throws one down for a three-point play.