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Wizards at Bulls Pregame: An Important Conference Battle

Regular Season Game 28

Wizards (12-15) at Bulls (14-13)

December 21, 2016 at 8:00 PM
United Center, Chicago, IL
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 1500 AM


Last time they met was..

November 12, 2016 – United Center, Chicago: Bulls 106, Wizards 95


What to watch:

An early, yet still critical matchup for positioning in the Eastern Conference standings.

I know, we are only 30 games into the season, however, there’s already mosh pit clusterfuck of teams crammed in between the 3rd and 12th seeds of the Eastern Conference. That’s where the Celtics and Magic sit, respectively, with Orlando trailing Boston by just four games. The Wizards currently sit in 11th place at 12-15, just 2 losses more than the 6th place Bulls who are 14-13 going into tonight.

Again, it’s far to early to be overly concerned with standings and seeding, but it’s these games against conference foes that could ultimately help determine final conference positioning in April, especially since the Wizards already lost their first game against Chicago just over a month ago.

With Wall and Beal both sitting out in that November game, tonight we’ll get a better look at the Wizards’ matchup against the Bulls.


Key Matchup:

Rajon Rondo vs. John Wall

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A tale of two ex-Cats: The reining assist champ of the NBA versus the reining assist champ of our hearts. Rondo and Wall both share similarities in that they don’t consider themselves premiere scorers, but they are maesters of court facilitation and experts in finding teammates who are scorers. However, this season has been one of regression for Rondo, who has seen his assists per game number drop from the league-leading 11.7 it was last season, to just 7.2 this season. Possible factors to this: a hampering ankle injury that kept him out of four games and an average of just 30.8 minutes per game.

Here’s a tip, though: per the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls are 5-0 this season when Rondo gets 10+ assists. They are 2-6 when Rondo gets 5 assists or fewer. Find a way to contain Rondo, and the Wizards shall find a way to reap success tonight in Chicago.


X-Factor:

The glass

The Bulls rank first in the league total team rebounds per game (48.0), and more terrifyingly first in offensive rebounds per game (13.2). This has all the makings of a #SoWizards atrocity as Washington isn’t exactly a terrible rebounding team, but has the propensity to blow critical possessions by giving up second chance opportunities. If this becomes the case late in the game tonight, prepare yourselves for some heartbreak.


Fun Factor:

I began our #2016Faves campaign which will run daily around lunchtime until the New Year. John Wall decimating Joakim Noah (the Bull) was one of them:


Prediction:

The Wizards really don’t have much of a presence on the glass outside of Gortat (11.8 RPG) and Otto (7.1 RPG), which is why they rank 28th in the league in rebounds. I’m not sure that’s good enough to outlast the Bulls tonight. In fact, I’m kind of sure it’s not. Bulls win.

we are Hoop District

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