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Illness will prevent Bulls' best player from facing Wizards

Illness will prevent Bulls' best player from facing Wizards

The Wizards were given a gift over the weekend, when Giannis Antetokounmpo couldn't play for the Milwaukee Bucks because of illness. Tuesday, Jimmy Butler isn't expected to be with the Chicago Bulls at Verizon Center for the same reason.

According to Bulls Insider Vince Goodwill of CSNchicago.com:

Butler, who has scored 40, 52 and 42 since Dec. 28, only scored one point on 0-for-6 shooting in the Bulls' 109-94 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night. He played just 28 minutes. 

MORE WIZARDS: BUTLER MAY NOT BE ALONE ON CHICAGO'S BENCH

With Dwyane Wade (rest) expected not to play in the second game of a back-to-back either, the matchup with the Wizards (18-18) will look significantly different as they try to get over .500 for the first time since November 2015.

Rajon Rondo has been replaced in the starting lineup by Michael Carter-Williams and hasn't played in the last five games. Rondo is 1-for-16 in the two meetings with the Wizards, who won the last time to put the season series at 1-1. 

The first time these teams met, the Wizards didn't have John Wall as he was being held out of back-to-back games and Bradley Beal had a sore hamstring. 

Based on what took place last season on Feb. 24, however, the Wizards' core players should know better than take victory for granted. The Bulls had injuries galore -- no Butler or Derrick Rose at the time -- but E'Twaun Moore took over and led seven players in double figures of a 109-104 upset of a team desperately trying to qualify for the postseason.

They fell behind by 12 points to Milwaukee but came back to win 107-102.

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Wizards vs. Pistons: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards vs. Pistons: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle Andre Drummond, Avery Bradley and the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. DETROIT PISTONS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Wizards HangTime)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Smith may not play

The Wizards may be down not one but two power forwards, as Jason Smith sprained his right shoulder in Wednesday night's opener while filling in for Markieff Morris, who is already out rehabbing from sports hernia surgery. Losing Smith will put extra stress on head coach Scott Brooks, who is already trying to form rotations with a bench full of new faces.

If Smith can't go, which seems likely, the Wizards will start Kelly Oubre, Jr. at the three and push Otto Porter to the four. That lineup itself should have no serious drop-off from the one with Smith. But the domino effect will be interesting. Who plays the three in the second unit? Brooks will probably have to go small with three guards, stagger the minutes of his starters to compensate or turn to someone like Tomas Satoransky, Carrick Felix or Chris McCullough for some playing time after all three were DNPs in the opener.

[RELATED: OTTO PORTER ON HANGING WITH J. COLE]

A familiar foe

Wizards fans rejoiced when the Celtics shipped Avery Bradley to the Pistons, knowing he would not be able to guard John Wall and Bradley Beal if the Wizards see Boston again in the playoffs this season. But he's still in the Eastern Conference and because of that will see the Wizards plenty. Bradley is flat-out one of the best defenders in the NBA and one of the only players who can give Wall fits. He's got the size to guard both Wall and Beal and is as tough as they come.

Bradley will provide a strong test for both Wall and Beal, who each appear to have improved this offseason based on the limited action we've seen so far. Wall is in better shape than he was last year and Beal's confidence handling the ball and running sets continues to grow. They are up for any challenge and Bradley certainly presents one.

[RELATED: HOW MAHINMI LOST WEIGHT, WHY HE LOVES D.C.]

Harris and Drummond

The Wizards' frontcourt injuries won't make it any easier to stop what is one of the better big men combos in the Eastern Conference. Tobias Harris is a well-rounded power forward who can stretch the floor with a solid three-point shot. He puts up similar numbers to Morris, but blew up in the Pistons' first game on Wednesday against the Bobcats. Harris dropped 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 4-of-7 from three, to go along with 10 rebounds and three assists. Last year he averaged 18.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in three games against Washington.

Drummond remains one of the best rebounders in basketball. He's a walking double-double, but did have a tough time against the Wizards last season. Washington held him to 8.7 points and 9.7 rebounds, modest for him, and he shot just 40 percent in three matchups. 

[RELATED: KELLY OUBRE CAN SEE WHY DURANT MADE A FAKE TWITTER ACCOUNT]

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Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 46 - Wizards get good injury news; Chris McCullough joins the show

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NBC Sports Washington

Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 46 - Wizards get good injury news; Chris McCullough joins the show

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman personal injury lawyers, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller broke down the season opener, plus some positive news on the injury front with both Jason Smith and Markieff Morris.

Wizards forward Chris McCullough joined the show to discuss fighting for minutes, who he models his game after and why he goes by the nickname 'Briskuno.'

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

[RELATED: 10 QUESTIONS WITH BRADLEY BEAL]