John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo and the Chicago Bulls on Friday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.
Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…
WASHINGTON WIZARDS vs. CHICAGO BULLS
Where: Verizon Center
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: CSN (coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM
Three things to watch...
Wall is banged up
The status of John Wall will likely be determined at shootaround on Friday morning, as the Wizards star continues to deal with a sore left foot after Wednesday's loss to the Mavericks. Despite missing practice on Thursday, it would be a surprise of Wall didn't face Chicago, given he returned to play in the second half after suffering the injury vs. Dallas.
All that said, the Wizards and Wall want to play it safe. If he does indeed play, it will be interesting to see if he's held back minutes-wise or if he is limited in any fashion. It is an interesting time of year for the Wizards. They pretty much know they will be in the playoffs and still have plenty to play for in terms of seeding. But they also want to do everything possible to make sure they enter the postseason in full health. Wall's latest injury will test that notion.
Bulls will be without Wade
The Bulls won't have any sympathy for the Wizards after the piece of news they received on Thursday, that 12-time All-Star Dwyane Wade will miss at least the rest of the regular season. Wade, 35, suffered a fracture in his right forearm during Wednesday night's game against the Grizzlies.
With Wade out, the Bulls could turn to rookie Denzel Valentine to start at shooting guard in his place, according to CSN Chicago. Valentine, if you remember, was the one who woke up "a monster" in Wall the last time these two teams played.
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Better defense needed
We know what head coach Scott Brooks will be looking for on Friday night and that is an improved effort on defense from his team, which has lost two straight games to teams with sub-.500 records. The Wizards have allowed 100 points or more in eight straight games, their longest streak of the season. Their previous season-long streak was six games, done twice: once in November and once in December. Or, in other words, when the Wizards were off to a disappointing start to the year because of their poor defense night in and night out.
The Wizards are 18th in defensive rating (106.1) this season overall, but since the All-Star break are 27th at 110.8. During that span guys like Wall, Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat, Bojan Bogdanovic and Otto Porter have all registered 112 defensive ratings or worse. The Bulls are 26th in points per game (101.8) and just lost their second-leading scorer in Wade (18.6 ppg), so Friday offers a good opportunity to bounce back.