What to watch for as the Wizards travel to take on the Bulls

Last night the Washington Wizards dropped to 2-6 as they lost to the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers at the Verizon Center 105-94.

With no Bradley Beal (sidelined with a tight hamstring), the Wizards took an early lead in the first quarter thanks to John Wall’s 12 points, the Cavaliers found themselves having trouble protecting the ball. They are one of the best teams in the league at doing so, but had six turnovers after the first 12 minutes. From there on out, they began to take usual form.

The Wizards allowed the Cavs back into the game after they hit a bevy of three-pointers. They finished with a total of 14. Despite Wall’s big night with 28 points and Markieff Morris pitching in with 20 of his own, there wasn’t enough from the surrounding cast to hold on.

Tonight the Wizards take on the Chicago Bulls (5-4) in their second game of a back-to-back. With that being the case, Wall will sit out as he continues his recovery plan as announced by head coach Scott Brooks a little over a week ago.

What to watch for:

  • The Wizards won’t know if Beal will play tonight until 90 minutes before tip-off. Marcus Thornton will likely get the start as he did last night, but he wasn’t close in replicated Beal’s production. Thornton finished with two points on 0-5 shooting (two made free-throws). He was a -13 and essentially problem for the Wizards whenever he was on the floor. Nothing is expected to change drastically by tonight, but if Thornton can put up a performance similar to the one he had in their last win against Boston when he finished with 16 points, four assists, and four rebounds.
  • Satoransky is expected to get his second career start in place for Wall. He hasn’t put up eye-popping numbers, but he has shown the ability to get the offense in sets and make the right play at the right time. It seems like with each game, Satoransky’s game continues to grow. He’ll get his shot to prove himself once again, this time against Rajon Rondo.
  • Opponent’s are shooting 39 percent against the Wizards this season, which ranks 29th in the league. Chicago ranks 11th in the NBA in three-point percentage (35.7). The Bulls are a team filled with players who pride themselves on attacking the rim off penetration. They received a ton of grief this summer for their additions and the fact that they don’t have any true shooters. So far, they continue to prove those skeptics wrong. Will it last? Who knows. But it’ll continue to be a concern for Washington defensively.
  • Otto Porter came into this season as the easy choice for the fifth option offensively. In the past three games, he is averaging 21.6 points including his 34-point outburst against Boston. If the Wizards stand any chance tonight, Porter will have to have another solid scoring performance. It’ll be interesting to see if his hot streak can continue against one of the best perimeter defenders in Jimmy Butler.
Glenwood Thomas