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East Contenders Clash As Wizards Host Bulls

John Wall, Paul Pierce and the Washington Wizards will look to earn a signature win over the Chicago Bulls when the two sides meet at Verizon Center on Tuesday.

John Wall, Paul Pierce and the Washington Wizards will look to earn a signature win over the Chicago Bulls when the two sides meet at Verizon Center on Tuesday.

Two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams go head-to-head in the capital Tuesday night as the Washington Wizards host the Chicago Bulls.

Tip-off at Verizon Center in D.C. is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.

Meeting for the first time this season, each team will look to build on its current good form to earn a signature win within the conference, before moving on to Christmas Day and high-profile holiday showdowns.

The Story So Far

Washington (19-7, 13-3 home) enters Tuesday’s night’s game in third place in the Eastern Conference.

The Wizards have been one of the few bright spots in the weak conference, getting good play from its young core of players. If there’s a knock on Randy Wittman’s side it’s that it has few marquee victories this season.

The Wizards’ best win comes in the form of a 104-96 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this month. Outside of that, wins over the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans – both good teams but not great teams – stand out.

Washington has fallen to the likes of the Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks. Tuesday’s game against the Bulls makes for an opportunity for the Wizards to impress against quality opposition.

The Wizards have won 10 of their last 12, but came up on the wrong ends of a 104-92 scoreline against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

Chicago (18-9, 12-4 road) sits right behind Washington in the conference standings, having navigated a number of injury scares.

The Bulls have been hit and miss when it comes to taking on the top teams in the league, earning wins over the likes of the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers but losing to the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks. This inconsistency is best seen in the side’s splitting a pair with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Chicago was involved in an epic battle with the Toronto Raptors on Monday night. Uncharacteristically, the Bulls scored 49 points in the fourth quarter (to the Raptors’ 37 points) to emerge with the 129-120 victory. The frenetic pace of that quarter could prove a hindrance in the second game of a back-to-back.

Tuesday’s game sees the Wizards and Bulls meeting for the first of four head-to-head clashes this season. The teams will take to the court again on January 9 in Washington before meeting in Chicago on January 14 and March 3.

Impact Players

Washington’s backcourt combo of John Wall and Bradley Beal leads the team by example. Wall is averaging 17.8 points and 10.5 assists per game. Beal is good for another 15.1 points per game.

The addition of veteran Paul Pierce has paid dividends for the Wizards. The 16-year man out of the University of Kansas is averaging 13.2 points in 27 minutes a game.

Center Marcin Gortat also continues to be an important cog in the Wizards’ wheel. The big man from Poland is averaging 13 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

Jimmy Butler has developed into an emerging superstar for the Bulls. The two-guard is averaging 22.1 points and 6.2 rebounds a game on the season, and has put down an average of 31 points during the Bulls’ current three-game winning streak.

Pau Gasol has been a good pick up for Tom Thibodeau’s side. The Spaniard is averaging 18 points and 11.5 rebounds through 24 games.

Derrick Rose is averaging 17.5 points and five assists on the season. After missing a pair of games, he returned to the fray on Monday, dropping 29 points on the Raptors.

Injury Report

Washington forward Martell Webster (back) is out indefinitely.

Chicago forward Doug McDermott (knee) is also out indefinitely.

Jimmy Butler has stepped his game up over the past week.

Jimmy Butler has stepped his game up over the past week.

Betting Report

Below you’ll find Betting Sports’ breakdown of odds and betting trends.

Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards odds for 12/23/2014

Moneyline: Washington opened as the home favorite over Chicago on the moneyline.

The Wizards are 8-1 in their last nine home games, while the Bills are 5-1 in their last six games on the road.

The Wizards have won seven of their last 10 contests against the Bulls, including four of the last six played at Verizon Center.

Spread: The spread opened at 3.5 in favor of the Wizards.

Chicago (13-14-0 ATS) has fared marginally better than Washington (11-15-0 ATS) against the spread this season, but both sides have losing records when it comes to covering the spread.

Washington is 7-9-0 ATS when playing at home and 9-11-0 ATS when considered the favorite.

Chicago is 9-7-0 ATS on the road and 3-5-0 ATS when playing as the underdog.

The Wizards are 4-1-0 ATS in their last five games against the Bulls, but just 3-7-0 ATS in the last 10 the two teams have played in D.C.

Total: The total opened at 195.5.

Chicago (15-11-1 O/U) has favored the over this season while Washington (13-13-0 O/U) has split the over/under evenly.

The total has gone over in four of the last five head-to-head meetings but under in 13 of the last 16 the two sides have played in Washington.


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