It was a back and forth ball game all night at Verizon Center and the Wizards came out on top of the Bulls, 96-93. The win was the Wizards third straight and moves them back to the .500 mark at 19-19. The game was close the entire way, with the largest lead being the Bulls by eight in the third quarter, but the Wizards immediately answered that with a 10-0 run. It came down to the wire, with the Bulls getting the ball with 10 seconds left, down by three, with a chance to tie. Nene played the hero as he blocked Butler's three attempt at the buzzer to seal the win. Noah sealed off Wall and Nene was forced to switch onto Butler and the rest as they say is history. No team led by more than five in the fourth quarter and there were a number of lead changes. The Wizards took that five point lead with 2:46 to go on a Gortat bucket but Hinrich immediately answered with 2:20 to go. No team would score in the final 2:20 as that three point lead would hold for Washington.
For the second straight game, the Wizards opened the game like a house on fire, shooting 68% in the first quarter. For the game they shot 50.6%, their third straight game shooting over 50%. They also shot very well from beyond the arc at 54.5%, led by Webster's 4-5 performance. It feels like a broken record at this point, but John Wall was the star again, leading all players with 23 points (on 9/15 shooting) and 11 assists. He also scored hit one of the most acrobatic circus shots you will ever see during the third quarter. Five other Wizards finished in double figures, led by Beal and Webster with 14. Hinrich led the Bulls with 18 points. - Jacob Raim
6:00 PM Update:
We just heard from head coach Randy Wittman for his pregame media availability and he gave the ok on Trevor Ariza for tonight's game. Ariza was battling a fever during Wednesday night's game and then was held out of practice yesterday, but he'll be available and back in the starting lineup tonight.
Wittman also gave an update on Glen Rice and Al Harrington, who are both rehabbing injuries. He said Rice was closer than Harrington to a return, but neither have started full contact practice yet, though Rice has been doing some shooting and dummy offense.
The Wizards won't practice again until Tuesday, so we'll see how things progress with the two injuries.
As for tonight's game, Wittman answered today the same way as yesterday as far as any tactical changes. For the Wizards, that would be a good thing as they rolled to a 102-88 win in Chicago on Monday.
They then went on to cruise past the Heat, 114-97, here at Verizon Center on Wednesday. Tonight will be a chance for them to win their third straight game and get back to .500 again. Both the Wizards and Bulls enter tonight at 18-19, so the winner will exit a .500 team.
We'll start the Live Chat at 7pm and look forward to talking with you throughout the game!
The homestand continues on as the Wizards welcome the Chicago Bulls to town tonight for their second matchup of the week.
The two teams met in Chicago on Monday night and it was the Wizards that came away with the win. It was one of the Wizards better games of the season as they jumped out to an early 8-0 start and would never relinquish the lead, going on to beat the Bulls 102-88.
That win will be fresh on the Bulls' minds as they look to return the favor and take down the Wizards in their own building.
The Wizards win over the Bulls on Monday was Chicago's only loss in their last seven games and they are coming off a thrilling 3OT win in Orlando on Wednesday night. The Wizards hope that game may have worn them out a bit, but don't expect the Bulls to roll over tonight. Head coach Tom Thibodeau always gets the most out of his players and he'll have them focused and ready to go when the whistle blows.
Don't expect too many changes from Monday night. As Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said, "we'll play our way and they'll play their way," when asked about what differences he anticipates tonight. Even though the Wizards broke the 100 point plateau on Monday, the Bulls are still a top-notch defensive team who love to play a tough and physical brand of basketball. More on the Bulls from Wittman and Bradley Beal:
The Wizards are coming off another impressive win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night in a game where they set a season-high shooting 55% from the field. They scored 43 points in the first quarter on 77% shooting and were able to hold off a second-half Miami push to secure their first home win in their last five attempts. Including tonight, they now play four more here at Verizon Center before heading out west for a week. This would be a great time for them to get hot, tally up some home wins, and move above the .500 mark for the first time in four years. Like the Bulls, they enter tonight at 18-19 so this one could be labeled "The battle for .500."
We'll check back in just before gametime with Wittman's pregame media availability and check to see if Trevor Ariza is feeling ok. He had a 102 degree fever on Wednesday but gutted it out and gave the Wizards some solid minutes.
The action gets going at 7pm from Verizon Center.
GAMEEEDAYYY !!!— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) January 17, 2014