The Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards have both had rough starts to the NBA Season 2020-21. Going 0-3 in the games they have played so far, players from both franchises will come into this clash hungrier than ever before.
With the two teams having a lot to prove, this game is likely to be a fiercely competitive one. Another loss for either of these two teams, could leave them with many questions that will need to be answered as soon as possible.
Fixture: Chicago Bulls vs Washington Wizards - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Tuesday, December 29th, 2020 - 7:00 PM ET (Wednesday, December 30th, 2020 - 5:30 AM IST)
Venue: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal as a duo have yet to fully click together for the Washington Wizards. But, the two players working together have definitely shown potential in the games they have played. On the other hand, the Chicago Bulls as a team have looked mediocre at best this season.
The team even struggled to put away a misfiring Golden State Warriors side, despite having a lead as big as 17 points at one stage. Given the performances of the side, the Chicago Bulls need to make some changes soon, or they may just miss out on the NBA Playoffs once again.
Chicago Bulls Preview
Offensive firepower is a strength for the Chicago Bulls right now. But what the franchise direly needs is playmaking. The roster certainly has some capable scorers but no players that can be considered elite facilitators, which causes their attack to stagnate far too often during tight games.
Defense is another problem for the Bulls. While they may not be terrible, there aren't any players that can individually deal with some of the better scorers in the league on their own.
This causes the team to overhelp when a player attacks, causing the defensive system to be ripped apart in the process. These are problems the franchise needs to pay attention to as the season goes on.
The Chicago Bulls' injury list does little to encourage fans of the franchise. Thaddeus Young (leg) and Devon Dotson (hip) continue to be unavailable, while Lauri Markkanen (calf) has also been ruled as doubtful ahead of this clash.
Key Player - Zach LaVine
Zach LaVine's inconsistency can frustrate fans of the Chicago Bulls at times. However, on his day, the player can compete with some of the best in the NBA. His finishing and touch around the rim have reached a very good level, while his jumper has started to touch elite levels.
While his defense absolutely needs some work, when he catches fire, there a few players that are superior on the offensive end of the floor. If the Chicago Bulls wish to win this game, Zach LaVine will need to be the best version of himself against the Washington Wizards.
Chicago Bulls Predicted Lineup
G Coby White, G Zach LaVine, F Patrick Williams, F Otto Porter Jr., C Wendell Carter Jr.
Washington Wizards Preview
The Washington Wizards have problems of their own heading into this clash. Much like the Chicago Bulls, the team needs players that can get a stop on defense on their own. Russell Westbrook has been a welcome addition, but that alone will not solve all of the franchise's defensive issues.
On offense, Westbrook has been somewhat of a liability at times. While his playmaking has greatly benefitted the team, his inefficiency and overall shot selection have been a source of worry for Washington Wizards' fans. However, if the former MVP can get out of his funk and be efficient again, this could well be an easy game for the franchise to win.
Rui Hachimura (groin) is the only player injured for the franchise and has been ruled out from featuring against the Chicago Bulls.
Key Player - Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal has blossomed into one of the elite players in the NBA over recent seasons. While he is a terrible defender, Beal has consistently been one of the best on the offensive end of the floor. He ranks among the best shooters in the league from behind the arc, while his scoring from inside is at an elite level as well.
Given the form of Westbrook right now, it will be likely that Bradley Beal will have to carry a huge load of the Washington Wizards' offense against the Chicago Bulls.
Washington Wizards Predicted Lineup
G Russell Westbrook, G Bradley Beal, F Deni Avdija, F Isaac Bonga, C Thomas Bryant
Chicago Bulls vs Washington Wizards Match Prediction
The Chicago Bulls certainly have a lot of talent on their roster. But, the team may just seem out of its depth in this clash.
While LaVine, White, and Williams could potentially step up their game on the offensive end, their lack of defense is bound to hurt them against any franchise. And while Russell Westbrook may be misfiring for the Washington Wizards right now, his playmaking, Bradley Beal's abilities, and the team's defense overall could take this game away from the Chicago Bulls.
And so, for these reasons, the Washington Wizards will be considered as the favorites to win, headed into this clash.
Where to watch Chicago Bulls vs Washington Wizards?
For those in USA, this game will be broadcasted locally on the NBC Sports Network.
International fans can stream the game live on the NBA League Pass.
Published 29 Dec 2020, 20:25 IST