With one final home game against the Wizards to close out February, the Chicago Bulls will be looking to win their second consecutive game since the addition of polarizing free agent Patrick Beverley. More importantly, they’ll be looking to prove they’re not the same team that stumbled into the All-Star Break on a six-game losing streak and appeared on the verge of total collapse.
It remains to be seen if Beverley will continue to serve as Chicago’s starting point guard moving forward, as the Bulls now have six starting-caliber players on the roster. With Patrick Williams pushed to the bench in the last contest, the Bulls can maintain their versatility by swapping him in and out or employing three-guard lineups depending on each matchup.
At least, head coach Billy Donovan’s comments seem to indicate that is the Bulls’ plan moving forward.
Regardless of who the Bulls have out there tonight, I think I like their odds against a 28-31 Wizards team that has experienced just as much of a rollercoaster season as Chicago.
The Chicago Bulls have a lot on the line as they host the Washington Wizards for a game with heavy postseason implications.
After dropping two of their first three contests against the Wizards earlier this season, look for the Bulls to even up the season series tonight. For all their struggles, the Bulls have been a solid 17-13 team at home this season (and a horrible 10-20 on the road), so perhaps this can be enough to tilt things in their favor. After sweeping the season series against Washington last year, Chicago will certainly want to re-assert itself atop the Eastern Conference hierarchy here.
Fortunately for the Bulls, the Wizards will be without arguably their best player in Kristaps Porzingis tonight. Although Beal is their highest-paid player, Porzingis’ team-high 6.1 win shares fully eclipse Beal’s 3.0 win shares this season. However, left knee soreness will withhold the Latvian star from tonight’s action.
Of course, the Bulls will also be without Javonte Green, Goran Dragic, and obviously Lonzo Ball tonight. That being said, I believe the Bulls are better equipped to survive these losses than Washington is without Porzingis. In his absence, a player to watch could very well be former Bull Daniel Gafford, who has thrived whenever given substantial minutes in Washington.
The Bulls now find themselves in a precarious situation, just 1.5 games back from the 10th-seeded Wizards and play-in tournament qualification, and 7 games out of a guaranteed playoff spot. A loss tonight could destroy this team’s momentum right as they started to build it up, but a win would bring Chicago that much closer to a second-straight postseason appearance for the first time since 2015.