Ed- Thanks to arjosheph for tonight's preview!
I wanted to come up with a fresh angle for this game, and here's what I settled on: this game will suck.
When I say that it will suck, I don't mean it won't be interesting. There's the obvious angle of Rose vs. Wall, our beloved point guard vs. D.C.'s great new hope, two really fast guys who used to play for the same college coach (let's ask Coach Cal one more time who's faster, just so he can be diplomatic again). I'm sure that's what the national audience will care about most, and it's what the national media will focus on in the recaps. It's also going to be very interesting to watch; I'm hoping Rose schools the rook at least three times tonight. Of course, there's the question of whether we made a huge mistake in trading away Kevin Seraphin (zero minutes played so far in real NBA action). I should probably mention the ex-pat Captain Kurt; I still feel unsettled whenever I see him in a non-Bulls jersey, and it was interesting to see him and Deng go at each other in the preseason. There's also the fact that this is the last home game before the dreaded Circus Trip (which is really an incongruous name for something hyped to be so scary, unless of course you don't like clowns; I propose we call it the Scary Clown Trip from now on), meaning it's a game the Bulls "need" to win. Those are the reasons to tune in, and I certainly will be doing that myself. But this game will probably suck (explantion after the jump).
Option 1: The Bulls blow them out. Obviously the prefered outcome, a blowout builds momentum into the West Coast swing, establishes that the Bulls are in a higher caste than the Wiz, and further boosts Chicago's standing in the all-important Hollinger rankings. But blowouts are boring (as we just witnessed with Golden State). What's worse, they're stressful -- you're always waiting for that collapse, for the Bulls to relax, for the other team to go on a run and deflate our home team, pulling out the improbable win. After the Bulls get enough blowouts under their belts, we might be able to trust them. I'm not there yet.
Option 2: It's a close game. Much more satisfiying to watch, but what the hell? You guys can't blow out the Wizards? One of the worst teams in the league, and coming off a back-to-back? If it's a close game, odds are it's been sloppy as hell. If both teams are playing their best basketball, the Bulls should be winning comfortably.
Option 3: The Bulls lose big. Doesn't really need explication.
Those are the options, as far as I see them, and they all suck in their own way. I hate to be a Debbie Downer, and maybe I'm just stretching for a creative schtick, but this is really the type of game that is supposed to suck -- the Wizards are horrible, and will tend to bring down the quality of whatever they're involved in.
The Bulls should be able to make the game suck in the best way possible (Option 1), though. To do that, they will have to play a bit more patiently and intelligently. The Bulls are currently the second-worst team in the Association in giving up steals. Washington happens to be the second-best team in the league in getting steals, with Wall pacing all individual players in that category. Some judicious back-door cuts and fewer Bogans-esque giveaways will take away Washington's greatest strength. The Wizards are also Manute-Bol-level thin in the frontcourt and have jumping-jack big men who will try to block anything that looks like it might be a shot. Some well-timed pump fakes and incessant driving to the rim might produce some foul trouble, forcing the Wiz to play Yi "The Chairman" Jianlian and Hilton "No Nickname" Armstrong far more than they should be played in any NBA game.
Game details: 7:00 p.m. Central, WGN, WGN America