Another day and another game without Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis), Marco Belinelli (abdominal strain), Derrick Rose (knee) and Richard Hamilton (back). Tonight's game against the Wizards will be the sixth straight without Noah and fifth straight without Belinelli in addition to Rose and Rip being out forever, but the Bulls have managed well without the crew of injured guys the past few weeks.
On the surface, not having those players against the Wizards doesn't seem like a big deal. However, Washington has been playing some dynamite basketball on their home floor of late, having won seven-straight at the Verizon Center. And if you recall, the Bulls got their ass kicked the last time they visited the nation's capital.
At home in the month of March, the Wizards shot 48.5 percent overall and 50.0 percent from three en route to 103.4 points per game. All of that equates to an excellent offensive rating of 112.4. The defense wasn't half bad either, as the defensive rating at home in March was 99.4. So if you're doing the math, that's a net rating of 13.0.
So why were the Wizards so great at home in March? The biggest reason was John Wall. 22.9 points per game, 8.3 assists per game, 58.5 percent overall and a surprising 53.3 percent from three. And in one of the best individual performances of the season, Wall put up 47 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in a 107-94 win over the Grizzlies. Suffice to say that Kirk Hinrich is going to have his hands full.
What's even more impressive about this latest stretch of great play at home is the fact that stud rookie Bradley Beal missed a good chunk of March due to injury. Beal recently just returned to the lineup on Sunday, and he scorched the nets to the tune of 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting as the Wizards destroyed the Raptors. Having Beal back gives Washington another excellent three-point shooter to go along with Martell Webster, who's shooting 43.0 percent from long range this year.
the great Kevin Seraphin is sure to make the Bulls pay for trading him Nene will likely return to the lineup after missing four games with a knee injury. It's unknown how much he will play because he's still dealing with some swelling in the knee, but he's going to try and give it a go. That's certainly great news for the Wizards, who have been excellent this season when Wall, Beal and Nene have actually been on the court together.
For the Bulls, Luol Deng continuing his resurgent play will be a key to victory. After scoring just five points in a loss to the Blazers a few weeks ago, Deng's averaging 23.8 points and 7.4 rebounds on 46.6 percent shooting and 44.8 percent from three in five games. He has been more aggressive going to the rim, as evidenced by his 17 free throw attempts against the Pistons on Sunday. Nate Robinson has also been really good over the last five games, averaging 17.2 points and 5.4 assists on 51.5 percent overall and 53.6 from deep.
The Bulls will have to be on their game tonight if they want to end the Wizards' home streak. If they play like they did the last time in Washington, they'll probably get run out of the gym. I certainly expect a better effort tonight, but a loss really wouldn't surprise me that much. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. CT and the game will be televised on CSN Chicago. For more on the Wizards, check out Bullets Forever.
All stats via NBA.com