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The Bulls and Wizards are outside the play-in zone sitting next to each other in the standings. Which one will get closer to the top 10 in the East in a head-to-head matchup?Receive Your Welcome Bonus!
The Bulls are in a tough position, and there is no way out of the situation yet. Chicago went straight to the playoffs last season but is only in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls' troubles have sparked rumors of a possible trade of Nikola Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan, though it's premature to talk about such a high-profile deal.
Chicago has lost four of its last five regular-season games. First and foremost, the Bulls sometimes lack offensive play and rely heavily on the individual talents of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. If one of their stars doesn't perform well, their chances of winning are severely diminished. The Bulls lack an excellent playmaker, and that's where Lonzo Ball could come in handy. Chicago's primary point guard has a severe knee problem, and his return this season is highly questionable. There are also plenty of questions about the rest of the role players: Coby White is having the worst season of his career, and Alex Caruso and Patrick Williams are functionally very limited. Andre Drummond still needs to improve his defense under the basket.
In a recent game against Sacramento State, the team, led by Billy Donovan, lost by 101-110. Zach LaVine had his best game of the season with 41 points, but DeRozan made just 6 of 18 shots. The reserved players failed the match, with the only exception being Coby White, who had an excellent start to the game on the power play. They would have been wiped out if their opponents scored on open shots. The defense was tight at the arc, and Chicago missed a lot on the fast break.
The Wizards are only 11th in the East, but they should still have a chance to fight for a playoff spot. Ahead of Washington are New York and Indiana, both of whom can and should compete, and the Metropolitan club is as good as the Knicks or Pacers in terms of their roster. Three Wizards players at once are scoring 20+ points: Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, and Kristaps Porzingis are all hitting over 45% of their shots from the field.
There are questions about the role players, though. Will Barton has become unraveled, Dany Avdija is much less helpful on offense than he is on defense, and Rui Hachimura needs to make the expected progress. Delon Wright could be a solid defensive addition for Washington, but an injury has kept him off the floor for now. At least Corey Kispert, who missed the start of the league and since his return, has been the club's best shooter, hitting 46.2 percent of his three-pointers.
Bradley Beal was injured in the last game against the Lakers in the 3rd minute and did not return to the floor, so it is unclear if he will play against Chicago. Washington lost to the Lakes, 119-130, though by the beginning of the fourth quarter Wes Unseld Jr. had the lead. Washington was trailing by 29 points heading into the first half and had to work very hard to return from that deficit. At least Washington should be credited for that.
Expert Betting Tips
One can't look at Chicago's defense without crying, even though the team only conceded 110 points against Sacramento State. Washington can't boast high three-point shooting on the season, but the team has their ups. Kristaps Porzingis is in great form, and Kyle Kuzma should also be on fire, while the Bulls could be better at the basket. So even if Bradley Beal is absent, the Wizards will have room to grow. The two teams have already met this season, and the Metropolitan won at home for a reason, albeit by only 2 points.
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