Washington (16-19) at Chicago (22-13)
When: Monday, January 11th 2016
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic, CSN Chicago
The Chicago Bulls return home after a humiliating loss on Saturday to take on the struggling Washington Wizards on Monday night. Chicago had won six games in a row over other Eastern contending teams, but fell hard to the Atlanta Hawks 120-105 the other day. The surrendered 64 first half points and could never get into the contest. The loss dropped the Bulls to 6-8 on the road, but they’ll be back at the United Center tonight where they are 16-5. The Bulls are on a streak right now of 10-straight games in which they have scored over 100 points. They are 10th in the league averaging 102.2 points a game. Jimmy Butler continues to carry this team in scoring. In the last six games, he’s averaging 28.5 points a game as star Derrick Rose has dropped to third on the team in scoring. Bulls could get a big lift tonight as center Joakim Noah (shoulder) could return after missing the last nine games. His minutes might be limited, however when he does come back. Chicago is just four games behind the Cavaliers in the Central Division, but will play 12 of their next 15 games on the road after tonight.
The Wizards come in having lost five of their last seven, but are coming off a 105-99 win in Orlando on Saturday. December player-of-the-month John Wall recorded 24 points and 10 assists to post his 10th double-double in his last 12 games, but he turned the ball over seven times – something he’s had trouble with all season. Wall turns the ball over 4.5 times a game and could benefit from the healthy return of shooting guard Bradley Beal (stress fracture), who is reportedly a week or two away from returning to the lineup. Beal leads the team averaging 19.8 points a game and is shooting 39% form beyond the arc. Forward Otto Porter Jr. is heating up and is 16-of-26 from the field in the last three games. Washington is buried in the basement of the Southeast Division and need to improve on their defense which ranks 24th in points allowed (103.9) and 29th in FG% (46.6).
I expect the Bulls to rebound nicely as this is a team playing more like it should in recent weeks aside from the other day. Eight is a lot to lay against a team that usually plays better against the tougher teams. Washington does have wins this season over Cleveland and San Antonio. Until Beal gets back, this Wizards team is just not very good.
Pick: Bulls -8