NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 17th (All times Eastern)
Chicago Bulls (18-19) at Washington Wizards (18-19), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Who would have thought the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls would share the same record by mid-January?
That's exactly the case and both teams will meet Friday at the Verizon Center.
Washington is feeling good about itself after upending the two-time defending champion Miami Heat with Wednesday's 114-97 victory in the opener of a five- game homestand. Washington scored a season-high 43 points in the first quarter (43-18), as well as a season-high 69 points at the half, to take a 69-48 lead into halftime.
"That first quarter from a defensive standpoint and an offensive standpoint was really good to watch. That was really good to watch," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
The Heat put forth a furious rally, but it wasn't enough to topple the Wizards, who were led by John Wall's 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Wall was one of seven players to finish with 10 or more points. Nene (19), Bradley Beal (19), Trevor Booker (13), Marcin Gortat (12), Martell Webster (11) and Trevor Ariza (10) rounded out the double-digit scorers.
Booker also grabbed 11 rebounds and Nene added a career-best nine assists for the Wizards, who allowed only three Heat players to post double-figure scoring efforts (LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Norris Cole) and made a season-best 54.7 percent of their shots. The Wizards also had a season-high 34-point lead and snapped Miami's 22-game winning streak versus Southeast opponents.
Washington has won two in a row and four of six games, and will also host Detroit, Philadelphia and Boston.
The Bulls have prevailed in six of their last seven games, and are coming off Wednesday's 128-125 triple-overtime victory at Orlando. Joakim Noah ended with 26 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, Carlos Boozer scored 23 points and Jimmy Butler contributed 21 in the win.
Butler's 60 minutes played set Chicago's all-time regular-season record.
"We're grimy and we play as a team," said Butler. "There is no guy that doesn't give all their effort on every single play. When you play like that, good things happen. Basketball gods will reward you."
D.J. Augustin scored 19 points off the bench for Chicago, which improved to 9-3 over its last 12 games and have allowed 91.0 points per game in that time. The Bulls, who are second in the NBA in opponents' scoring (92.8 ppg), have won their last four road games and own a 7-11 mark as the guest.
Noah set season highs in points and rebounds, and has posted 12.1 points and 12.6 rebounds in his last eight games. Chicago will start a brief homestand versus Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Lakers this weekend.
Chicago was just beaten by Washington, 102-88, on Monday, as Wall and Nene scored 19 points apiece. Boozer had 19 points as well in that one for the Bulls, who are 9-4 in the past 13 matchups in this series.
01/17 10:32:24 ET