Wizards (20-16) vs Bulls (13-22)
When: Sunday, December 31st at 3:30 p.m. Where: Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. TV: NBC Sports Washington / Radio: 1500 AM
Wizards: Sheldon Mac (Out, Achilles)
Bulls: Kris Dunn (Knee), Zach LaVine (out,knee), Cameron Payne (out, foot)
Washington is 5-2 against Chicago over the last two seasons, winning each season series. Washington has not lost a season series against Chicago since the 2011-12 season where they went 1-2.
Otto Porter is looking for his fifth-consecutive game with 15-or-more points, which would mark the longest streak of his career.
Head Coach Scott Brooks can record his 70th win with the team tonight.
106.1 - points per game
103.8 - points against
45.9 - Field goal %
100.2 - points per game
105.9 - points against
43.5 - field goal %
Keep an eye on:
SAME EFFORT: against below 500 teams as an above 500 team. It's no secret, the Wizards have been frustratingly inconsistent against losing teams compared to winning teams all season long. It's no excuse whatsoever to play down to the competition, yet, that's what we've had with Washington so far. It needs to change if they're serious about making a deeper playoff run. Chicago presents a challenge this afternoon. While they're 13-22, they have won 10 out of their last 12 games, led by a motivated Nikola Mirotic who's averaging 18.1 points and 7.3 rebounds on 50 percent shooting from the field and 48 percent shooting from deep since his return from injury ironically, twelve games ago. His versatility at 6'10 has opened the floor tremendously for the Bulls and it shows with their ball movement and increased scoring since his return. Chicago ranks 11th in the NBA in team assist with 23.4 per game, which means they find guys in rhythm and if you're late rotating on defense, as Washington has done too much this season, the Bulls will make you pay. Team defense will be crucial for Washington especially from the front court, however the return of Mike Scott should help matters on both ends. If Washington brings the focus, energy, intensity they did in an impressive win over the Rockets Friday, they should be able to contain the Bulls and end this slide against below 500 teams.
Find Lauri Markkanen & Nikola Mirotic at all times: Mirotic is coming off a 28 point performance where he shot 8 of 16 from behind the arc in a blowout win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday, although, he wasn't alone. Impressive rookie Lauri Markkanen was even more impressive, scoring a career high 32 points in the win over Indiana as well. The 7'0 forward is averaging 14.7 points and 7.4 rebounds so far in his rookie campaign and he isn't afraid to let it fly from anywhere on the court and is capable of putting up big numbers. Markieff Morris, Mike Scott and at times Otto Porter will have to be locked in on him or he alone will make it a interesting afternoon.