#501 Chicago Bullsvs.#502 Washington Wizards
Written by Chris Kubala
Chicago Bulls (19-18 SU, 18-19 ATS, 14-22-1 O/U) vs. Washington Wizards (18-18 SU, 19-17 ATS, 23-13 O/U)
NBA: Tuesday, January 10, 2016, Verizon Center, Washington, D.C., 7 pm ET
Line: Washington -10; Over/Under: 203.5
It’s a matchup of Eastern Conference foes trying to climb the standings in the nation’s capital. The Chicago Bulls play the second game of a back to back as they face the Washington Wizards Tuesday night. Chicago was at home Monday night as they hosted Oklahoma City. Washington won their second straight and evened their record with a 107-101 road win over Milwaukee Sunday afternoon. Chicago holds a 117-100 advantage in the all-time regular season series. The teams split the first two meetings this season, both in Chicago, with the Wizards taking a 107-97 win on December 21, 2016.
Chicago was hosting Oklahoma City Monday night looking to keep their three game win streak alive. The Bulls entered Monday’s game in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, 9.5 games behind Cleveland for both the Eastern Conference and Central Division lead. The good news was that Chicago was just half a game behind fifth place Indiana in the standings. The bad news was that the Bulls were just half a game ahead of ninth place Milwaukee. Chicago has gone 7-11 on the road this season and has posted a 15-11 mark against Eastern Conference competition.
The Bulls come into this contest 23rd in the league with 101.8 points per game this season. Chicago is 1st in the league in rebounding with 47.8 boards per contest. The Bulls are 22nd in the league in assists with 21.1 dimes per game. Chicago is 6th in scoring defense as they allow 101.2 points a night. Jimmy Butler leads the team with 25.6 points plus 6.9 rebounds per game. Dwyane Wade averages 18.6 points plus 4.1 rebounds per game. Taj Gibson chips in 11.9 points plus 6.9 boards a night, Doug McDermott averages 10.4 points per game and Nikola Mirotic contributes 9.7 points plus 5.7 rebounds per game. Robin Lopez (9.1 points, 7.2 rebounds), Michael Carter-Williams, Rajon Rondo and Bobby Portis all are key pieces for coach Fred Hoiberg. Chicago is 27th in field goal percentage by shooting 43.5 percent from the floor. The Bulls are last in the league by splashing 6.4 threes per game and is last in the league by shooting 31.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Washington got back to the .500 mark on the year by rallying to beat the Bucks on the road. The Wizards trailed by eight at the half but outscored the Bucks 33-21 in the third quarter to seize the lead. Washington shot 48.8 percent from the field and knocked down 10 of 32 three point attempts in the win. The Wizards had a dominant 49-32 advantage on the glass and forced 16 Milwaukee turnovers in the game to overcome 19 turnovers of their own. Bradley Beal stepped up with a big game, delivering 26 points in the victory.
The Wizards are 14th in the league in scoring offense with 105.4 points per game. Washington is 27th in the league on the glass with 41.9 boards per game. The Wizards stand 9th with 22.9 assists per game. Washington is 22nd in the league as they allow 106 points per game on the year. John Wall leads the team with 23.1 points, 10.1 assists and 2.26 steals per game. Bradley Beal averages 22.3 points a game while Otto Porter Jr. (14.1 points, 6.6 boards) is developing into what the Wizards hoped for when they drafted him. Markieff Morris (13.1 points, six rebounds) and Marcin Gortat (11.6 points, 11.9 rebounds) are other Washington players scoring in double figures. Marcus Thornton, Andrew Nicholson, Trey Burke and Kelly Oubre Jr. are looked at to contribute off the pine. Washington is 4th in field goal percentage as the team shoots a collective 47.1 percent from the floor. The Wizards are tied for 26th in the league with 8.2 triples a night while ranking 14th in three point shooting. Washington hits 35.6 percent from downtown.
Chicago will be at a disadvantage as far as fatigue goes after playing Monday night and then flying into Washington. The Wizards have been tremendous at home of late and has back to back wins to their credit. Washington has really turned things around after a dreadful start to the season and they have some excellent weapons offensively. Chicago is going to feel the effects of traveling after facing the Thunder. The Wizards, with a day off in their pocket, pick up the home win and climb over the .500 mark.
If it wasn’t bad enough that Chicago is playing the second game of a back to back here, their rotation issues will add to the misery. Butler was expected to be a game-time decision for Monday’s game with the Thunder as he has a bad cold. Wade is already expected to miss this game as he’ll be rested in the second game of a back to back. That hampers or flat out eliminates the top two scoring threats for the Bulls.
Washington has a little momentum after back to back wins. They beat the Bulls in Chicago last month and they had Monday off to recover. The under has gone 8-2-1 in the second game of Chicago’s last 11 back to backs. It is also 19-6-2 in Chicago’s last 27 road games and 14-5-1 in the last 20 Bulls road tilts against teams with a winning home record. With Wade likely sitting and Butler under the weather, it seems the best way to go is to lean toward the lower end of the spectrum.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.