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Keys To The Game: Bulls vs. Wizards (1.7.22)

The rolling Chicago Bulls look to extend their league-high eight-game winning streak to nine games as they face off with the Washington Wizards at the UC on Friday night.

The last time Chicago faced the Wizards, they took them down at Washington, D.C. behind DeMar DeRozan's second game-winner in two nights.

This time around the Bulls will be back in front of their great home crowd at the United Center. Look for a resilient Washington squad to play with extra energy and effort this time around as they try to be the team to end the Bulls' winning streak.

Defend without fouling

The first key is, of course, easier said than done. In the last matchup between these two teams, Bradley Beal racked up a ridiculous 27-point, 17-assist double-double that was in part powered by a game-high 13 trips to the free throw line.

If the Bulls want to keep this tough Wizards team from sticking around later in the game, then keeping Beal and Washington's many slashers off the charity stripe will be a major key.

Be aggressive in initiating the fastbreak

The Bulls are one of the best teams in the league at not only attacking in transition, but also being selective in when too attack so that it actually adds great value to their offense.

Per Cleaningtheglass.com (which filters out garbage time), the Bulls add 4.1 points per 100 possessions to their offense, which leads the entire NBA. But in the last matchup with the Wizards, Chicago was held to zero points in transition.

A big part of the Bulls lack of transition offense in D.C. was the well-coached Wizards getting back in transition but with the home crowd behind them, Chicago should be able to get some easy fastbreak baskets on Friday night.

Protect the ball

This is a simple point and one that should be very possible to execute considering that the Bulls are still top-10 in turnover percentage 35 games into the 2021-22 regular season.

The Bulls uncharacteristically turned the ball over a whopping (for them) 15 times against the Wizards in D.C.

Three of the Bulls five starters had at least four turnovers in the last matchup and something tells me Billy Donovan and the Bulls coaching staff will have the Bulls, who have been off for three days, well-prepared for the Wizards defense this time around.

If Chicago can limit their turnovers as they usually do, then they should be able to get great shot attempts against a Washington team that has ranked 26th in the league in defensive efficiency (114.8 points allowed per 100 possessions) over the last 10 games.