The Bulls are fully aware of how a point guard can make all the difference to a team’s successes, patiently awaiting the return of Derrick Rose. The Wizards have lived that the last two months.
With John Wall not only healthy but playing as well as any point guard in the league, Washington will host Chicago tonight at the Verizon Center in the nation’s capital. Coverage begins at 6 p.m.
The Wizards’ season could not have gotten off to a worse start, losing their first 12 games without their star Wall, who was recovering from knee surgery. Things didn’t get much better from there after the winless start. And after a 28-point loss in Miami, making them losers of 13 of 14, the Wizards had the worst record in the NBA at 4-28. A near-miraculous win over Oklahoma City at home produced win No. 5, and it also marked the last game Washington played without Wall.
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Wall returned on Jan. 12 against Atlanta, and 14 points and four assists later the Wizards had picked up another win, their first two-game win streak of the year. Including that game Washington is 22-18 in the lineup, which would be good for the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference (by win percentage), right behind the sixth-seeded Bulls.
But it hasn’t been only Wall helping the Wizards to an above .500 record since his return. Rookie Bradley Beal has improved his averages each month of the season, including 16.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists since February. He’s making 2.1 3-pointers per game on 47 percent shooting from beyond the arc in that span and he’s quietly turning the Wizards into the owners of one of the best young backcourts in the league.
Those two aren’t alone, however, as seventh-year pro Martell Webster has caught fire since Wall’s return and is locked in as the team’s starting small forward. With averages of 13.4 points on 48 percent shooting, 2.4 3-pointers on 45 percent shooting and 3.8 rebounds since Jan. 12, Webster has played well enough to have the Wizards, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, debating whether or not to re-sign the impending free agent to a long-term deal.
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It’s hard to figure how well the Wizards may have played all year with a healthy Wall playing alongside Beal and Webster, but what matters now is they are playing excellent basketball heading into tonight’s affair. They have won seven straight games at home and will look to make it eight when the Bulls come to town.
Catch the young Wizards tonight, and see if the Bulls can stop their hot streak on Comcast SportsNet. Also, make sure and stay up-to-date by checking out Bulls Pulse and by using #BullsTalk on Twitter to join the conversation with the rest of Bulls Nation.