When: Thursday, January 1 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington, NBA League Pass
How to listen: The Team 980 AM, 106.7-2 FM
Wizards: Spencer Dinwiddie (Protocols, Out); Montrezl Harrell (Protocols, Out); Raul Neto (Protocols, Out); Rui Hachimura (Protocols, Out); Aaron Holiday (Protocols, Out); Brad Wanamaker (Protocols, Out) Thomas Bryant (Knee, Out)
Bulls: Lonzo Ball (Protocols, Out); Alex Caruso (Foot, Questionable); Tony Bradley (Protocols, Out); Ersan Ilyasova (Protocols, Out); Alfonzo McKinnie (Protocols, Out); Marko Simonovic (Protocols, Out); Patrick Williams (Wrist, Out)
The Washington Wizards (18-17) face a tall task on Saturday night as they host the red-hot Chicago Bulls.
Streaking with the Bulls - Chicago has been on a tear of late. The Bulls are tied for the longest active winning streak in the league at five and have won nine of their last 11 games overall. They’ve done this even while facing sporadic absences from lead guards Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso, and Lonzo Ball.
Scheduling edge - The Bulls will be on the second night of a back-to-back set, both of which are on the road. Chicago is flying into D.C. from Indiana after their Friday contest with the Pacers. The Wizards may be down some key contributors in Spencer Dinwiddie and Montrezl Harrell, but perhaps they can take advantage of the opponent’s tired legs.
Wizardry at home - Washington has had rather road-heavy start to their season though they’ve held their own whether in D.C. or elsewhere. They’re 9-5 at Capital One Arena and 9-12 anywhere else. This is the second leg of a four-game homestand, with 11 of their next 13 games at home. If the Wizards want to climb back up the standings back toward the Top-4 like last November, they’ll need to defend their home floor.
D.C. is down a LOT of guards - Spencer Dinwiddie, Raul Neto, and Aaron Holiday are all currently in health and safety protocols. Now add Brad Wanamaker to the list just a game after he started and played 27 minutes for the Wiz against the Cavs. Bradley Beal will need to act as the lead guard and get his teammates involved. But when he goes to the bench, things could get weird. Point Deni, anyone?