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Bulls vs. Wizards game preview and open thread

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BP and JP are back again

NBA: Washington Wizards at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls (20-52) vs. Washington Wizards (30-41)

7 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago

Injury Report

Bulls star Zach LaVine is probable for the game tonight with a right thigh contusion. Fellow stud Otto Porter Jr. is out with a right rotator cuff strain.

Dwight Howard remains sidelined indefinitely with a back injury. Obviously more significantly, superstar point guard John Wall is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles.

Preview

Wizards World is pretty miserable.

But don’t tell Bobby Portis that. In 17 games with the Wizards, the former Bull has accrued 12 starts, averaging 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game and shooting the long ball at a scorching 45.6 percent clip.

All while exuding elite levels of pettiness.

As for Jabari Parker, he has enjoyed a resurgence of sorts with his new team. While his defense remains problematic, he has shot the ball at a 56 percent clip on 182 attempts, doing a lot more work around the rim than from mid-range.

I wonder if he has had an opportunity to meet his alderman since he made the move to Washington D.C.? I’m not even mocking this in a mean way; low-key this deserves consideration for sound bite of the year and is about as Chicago as it gets.

Furthermore, Parker doesn’t seem to think he did much wrong in Chicago, so there’s that.

Bradley Beal remains the headliner for the Wizards with Wall out. He’s averaging career highs in per-36-minute scoring, rebounds, and passing this season to earn his second All-Star selection of his career. The Wizards have him and Wall locked up together through the 2020-2021 season (Wall is around for one more year after that). The pairing hasn’t worked out great as the Wizards haven’t made it to the conference finals a single time with those two together at the helm, but it’s hard to see them broken up in the near future.

With Porter sitting and LaVine potentially taking it easy, the Bulls may have to look elsewhere for offense. Kind of like they did on Monday night against the Suns when Robin Lopez was second on the team with 14 field goal attempts and Porter’s absence opened up 17 minutes for Antonio Blakeney to shoot 3-for-10 from the field. Although, to his credit, he did do this:

Lauri Markkanen’s reaction may have been better than the dunk, to be honest.

There’s something morbidly pleasurable about Rolo hijacking the offense and messing up important tank games with his 1980s post-ups. He’s such a good guy and he’s skilled as a big man, but his game never evolved into the 2010s. The Wizards rank 28th in the NBA in opponent points in the paint (51.7 per game), and neither Portis nor Ian Mahinmi provide much rim protection, so look for Rolo to feast again.

The Bulls are on pace for a franchise record for worse home record, and a win against a bad Wizards squad seems like a must-win if they want to avoid that:

Finally, if Portis doesn’t flex at least three times in this game I’m going to be thoroughly disappointed.