6:00 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago
The Bulls have so many injuries.
There are the ones we know about———Kris Dunn, Otto Porter Jr., Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter Jr.———and some that have popped up recently.
Chandler Hutchison mysteriously hurt his shoulder during the All-Star break and could miss extended time. Luke Kornet, who hasn’t been a complete liability lately, is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury.
On the Wizards side of things, Garrison Mathews (ankle) and Anzejs Pasecniks (hip) are both listed as day-to-day.
The Bulls are 2-1 against the Washington Wizards this season.
The two teams squared off right before the All-Star break. Bradley Beal dropped 30 points to coax the Wizards to a 126-114 victory, wasting a 41-point gem of a performance from Bulls star Zach LaVine. Throughout the second half, LaVine and Beal were trading blows on the offensive end which kept an otherwise ho-hum matchup right before the All-Star game interesting.
Drama between head coach Jim Boylen and star player Zach LaVine continues to intensify.
Down 10 with 30 seconds left last night in a loss against the Phoenix Suns, Boylen called one of his patented “what the heck are you doing” timeouts. The television cameras caught Zach LaVine having this reaction to the timeout.
Just got home saw a tweet about Zach Being annoyed again about a Boylen timeout. After the timeout Zach shakes his head and seems to say "why call a timeout down F'ing 10" pic.twitter.com/lV4HH356Wb— Ⓜ️arcusD ▶️ (@_MarcusD3_) February 23, 2020
Boylen brushed off the suggestion that his star player is getting annoyed with his timeout usage. LaVine was a little more candid about the situation per The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry.
“That’s what he do, man. That’s what he do,” he said. “I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not the coach. He’s told me he likes working on things that we do in practice and things like that. He’s the head coach. He can call timeout if he wants to.”
Boylen drama didn’t stop there though. Rookie Coby White had one of his best games of the season, pouring in 33 points in 34 minutes off the bench. Even with the Bulls reeling with injuries across the roster, White is still looking for his first career start. Boylen has preferred to start Ryan Arcidiacono over White.
It’s just another perplexing coaching decision in a season full of them.
The Bulls are free-falling: they’ve lost eight in a row and are a season-worst 19 games under the .500 mark. In a cruel twisted, joke they have the seventh worst record in the association right now.
The Wizards give the Bulls a golden opportunity to snap out of the funk at least temporarily.
Beal is obviously the engine that makes the Wizards run right now. He’s averaged 25 points and six assists against the Bulls in three games this season.
All year against the Bulls, the Wizards have been susceptible to giving up big runs which is probably the byproduct of having 12 guys on their roster who are 24 years old or younger while their superstar Beal is just 26 years old.
The Wizards feel like they got a steal in the later lottery with Rui Hachimura. He’s averaging 14 points per game and six rebounds and has started every game he’s played so far in his rookie season. Ish Smith and Davis Bertans give the team a little bit of veteran leadership along with Beal.
The Bulls need a win in the worst possible way. They’ve had success against this Wizards team this season. The Wizards have been playing a little bit better as of late (they’ve won three of their last five games with a win against a tough Dallas Mavericks squad sprinkled in there).
But, for the sake of Zach LaVine’s sanity, please get a ‘W’ tonight Bulls.