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Bulls vs. Wizards preview: The Battle for 5th Place

Rob Carr

[Thanks to Mr. Damagecontrol for today's game preview -yfbb]

After winning against the Magic in a thriller 30T against the Magic , the Bulls are traveling to Washington for a rematch of that beating we took from them this week. The Wizards have been on a roll as of late, blowing out the Heat after a much publicized trip to the White House. It is safe to say that the Wizards are a legit playoff team in the East and this game will not be a given W.

The Wizards have one of the best point guards in the league starring John Wall, who in my opinion is the #2 PG in the East this year. Any given night he can wreck chaos in the transition and drops 20 pts & 10 assists. He has always been a problem but this year they have fully assembled a lineup and a team that can give him enough support to be a factor in the East. They have Bradley Beal as SG and he is also liable to explode for 30 any night as well, so Im sure Thibs will be giving him the Jimmy all 48 minutes of the game. At SF, they have Ariza a decent player who can slash and hit the spot-up 3. Although Wall & Beal are the focal point of their offense, the rest of their starters can do damage if taken for granted. The Wizs also have an underrated and talented frontcourt with Nene at PF and Gortat at C. Gortat has finally allowed Nene to play his natural position and have been on of the low key best acquisitions of the season (on the level as Luol Deng to the Cavs for chump change.) The Wizards have been able to feed their bigs and be able to execute in a half court game, helping execute in close games they have been losing for years now.

With that being said, I do believe that beating we took from them came more so from overconfidence of a 5 Win streak more than anything. The Bulls didn't have their normal grit and grind energy they have to play with to win games this season. Ranked last in scoring, the keys to our W is of course, stick Hinrich on Wall and slow and stop the Wizards, since a shootout like Wednesday will only increase the chance of an L.. The bigger question though for the night is the energy and conditioning of the bulls and most importantly Jimmy "1 Hr Long, 1 Hr Strong " Butler. Jimmy played for a franchise record 60 minutes as well as Noah & the rest of the bulls playing 40 and over minutes. Maybe all the backlash from the media will force Thibs to curb some of the minutes, although it really has only been Jimmy playing ridiculous minutes. But hopefully, we will see more from Snell and Mr. Cartier Martin tonight. Heck, we maybe even have a Teague sighting this game.

Our starting lineup will most likely be Captain Kirk, Dunleavy, Jimmy, Boozer and Joakim, with plenty of minutes from Augustin, Snell and Taj. I am sure the bulls will be anxious to avenge the lost at home court with sneaking one on the road and moving closer up the standing. (Screw the tank, aint nobody got time to watch the bulls lose.) We are tied with the Wizards for 5th in the East. Hopefully the Bulls can slow the Wizards down and make it into a defensive grind and keep the score in the 80's….. :/

Game starts at 6.