NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls @ Washington Wizards Preview
There is no doubt that the Bulls are the class of the NBA this year. The team is 17-5, and it already has eight wins on the road, including several of which have come on the West Coast. Chicago didn’t have a great week last week though, losing its first home game of the year to the Indiana Pacers and then getting beaten on the road by the Miami Heat, the other top contender in the East. Richard Hamilton and Luol Deng are both up in the air for this one, and if both are out, it could serious hurt a defense which ranks No. 2 in the league, allowing just 87.4 points per game. The Bulls have given up at least 95 in four in a row though, which has to concern Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, a defensive mastermind. At least Thibodeau knows that his offense is in good hands with Derrick Rose calling the shots. Rose has averaged 22.6 points and 7.8 assists per game this year, and with the rest of the bigs getting the job done on the glass, this is the perfect point guard to run the show for an offense that can be a heck of a lot of fun when all of the stars are shining.
And then there are the Wizards, who have basically been the anti-Chicago. Washington has just four wins in 20 tries this season, though one of those wins did come against another fantastic team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, right here at the Verizon Center. We’ll say this much about the Wizards, though: They are playing a heck of a lot better ball now that Flip Saunders is no longer coaching the team. Since Saunders got canned, the Wiz have a pair of victories, though we must temper ourselves, noting that those wins came against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats, who are probably one of the only teams in the league that could contend with Washington for the most ping-pong balls in next year’s NBA Draft lottery. The team is at least starting to put up some decent offensive efforts, moving out of the bottom spot in the league in points per game and up to No. 27 at 88.8 points per game.
The Final Word: Even though the Wizards are playing better ball right now, that doesn’t mean that they have a shot against the Bulls. Chicago has covered four straight in this series and has won six in a row dating back two years. Already this year, Washington was held to just 64 points in a game against the Bulls, and that came without Rose in the fold. Now, one of the league’s best point guards is back in the saddle, and Chicago should come away with another double digit victory to continue this long road trip as a result.
Chicago Bulls @ Washington Wizards Free Pick: Chicago Bulls -9