Jan 17, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) fouls Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) in the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 96-93. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Bulls vs. Wizards preview: Game Time, Key Match Up, Notes and Prediction

The Washington Wizards were able to sneak past the New York Knicks last night after Bradley Beal miraculously saved them late in the game, but they’ll have no time for rest as they’ll meet the Chicago Bulls tonight at home. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM from the Verizon Center.

Key Match Up:

Washington completed a season sweep against the Knicks last night and they’ll look to do the same versus the Bulls tonight. With that said, the Bulls have strung together four straight wins and are on the verge of overtaking the third spot from the Toronto Raptors. Despite missing Derrick Rose for much of the season, Chicago has still managed to overachieve and Joakim Noah could be credited for helping his team stay afloat. Not only has Noah anchored Chicago’s elite defense, but he’s become the team’s best facilitator while averaging over 5 assists per game. Noah is averaging nearly 13 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists per game in the last five contests, four of which have resulted in wins.

Marcin Gortat has been solid all season long and he’s coming off another good game against former Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler. The Bulls are one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA and Gortat can’t allow Noah to get second chance opportunities. Most importantly, he’s got to match Noah’s energy on the floor to avoid lulls within the game. Gortat spoke about looking forward to matching up against elite defensive big men and he’ll have another chance to prove himself tonight against Noah.

Notes:

Prediction:

Playing the Knicks on the road and bouncing back to play the Bulls at home on a back-to-back is no easy task, but if anybody could get the win, it would be the Wizards. Washington has shown improvement this season in back-to-back situations and they do have momentum on their side.

Washington has beaten Chicago in all of their match ups this season and I think they’ll surprise us today and complete the sweep. John Wall and Bradley Beal are both playing great basketball as of late and they should have the advantage over D.J. Augustin, Kirk Hinrich and the rest of Chicago’s guards.

Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are both great energy guys, but Gortat and Booker are capable of matching it and I don’t think the front court match up is as lopsided as the back court match up is. In other words, Washington should have more of an advantage with their guard play than the Bulls will have with their bigs.

 

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