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Bulls vs. Wizards game preview and thread: schedule softens, but so have the Bulls to injury

no DeMar tonight, no Javonte Green for a while

NBA: Washington Wizards at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls had a string of good play lately that got them up to 9th in the Eastern Conference playoff seedings, though that streak and winning streak against very good teams ended with a loss on Monday night in Boston. That was a good game in the micro: they stayed close while the Celtics couldn’t hit shots, and a 4th quarter LaVine scoring outburst got them to within a possession late.

But it may have been a pyrrhic victory (and a moral victory at that, since the LaVine-as-closer did ultimately result in what it has been his whole career: a loss), since DeMar DeRozan left that game midway through with a quad injury.

Post-game offered only more confusing information, as DeMar said it was something he’d been dealing with for a while, and not a huge deal, yet also whenever he leaves a game it is a huge deal. After the day of rest, today saw DeRozan not participating in shootaround and a downgraded status for tonight’s game.

I think the local beat has just given up trying to find out more information about the team they cover, and so we will need to wait for an official press release or a Woj/Shams Tweet if this is indeed more serious.

That’s what happened with Javonte Green on Tuesday, as the Bulls announced he’s having knee surgery to help alleviate the sprain and soreness he’s been dealing with (and playing through, intermittently) for weeks. The press release said a re-evaluation was in two weeks, and Woj followed up saying sauces told him it would be ‘approximately a month’, and then we learned it’s the same procedure that Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball had so...I’m not expecting Green back in a Bulls uniform ever again. Free your anxiety and lower expectations.

So the Bulls are missing one very important and another somewhat important piece tonight. But they’re facing the Wizards! Who have had their own sniff of good play this winter but we know stink. They don’t even have Bradley Beal, who is just going to be hurt all the time now I guess. The Bulls just beat this version of Washington a month ago, in a pretty dreadful game that DDR bailed them out of...oh no.

This is, pause for everyone to join in, a very important stretch of games. 13 of them before the trade deadline, with a majority in which they should be favored. I certainly hope AKME wasn’t buying in to the last couple weeks, and actually second their over-need for ‘evaluation time’ to see if the Bulls can win a bunch of games they should if they want to be taken seriously by the front office (and ownership) as something worth augmenting.

With news of DeRozan’s injury, the Bulls are actually not favored in this one (+1.5 points), but c’mon: if this is a playoff team that proved anything the past few weeks, they have to win this game too.

Injury Report

Spent most of this preview talking about Bulls injuries, and Bradley Beal for the Wizards. Beyond Beal, I see Porzingis, Gafford, and Kispert as questionable. That’s right, you don’t need to follow beat writers Twitter accounts, the NBA publishes this stuff.

Game Time: 6pm, NBC Sports Chicago (boo to them, btw!)