The Chicago Bulls will try to snap an eight-game losing streak when they host the Washington Wizards on Sunday evening.
Chicago will play on short rest after sustaining a 112-104 defeat on its home court against the Phoenix Suns one night earlier. The Bulls were outscored 65-47 in the second half and dropped to 11-18 at home.
Cameras caught Bulls guard Zach LaVine looking annoyed with head coach Jim Boylen after he called timeout in the final minute with the team trailing by double digits. Boylen frequently has called timeout with games out of reach as a teaching method.
Boylen reportedly called LaVine into a room off-limits to media members to discuss his player’s reaction.
“He told me he likes working on things we do in practice,” LaVine told reporters afterward. “He’s the coach. He can call timeout if he wants. I just wish we were in the game. It’s frustrating. Obviously, you never know what can happen. But you’re down 10 with 30 seconds left, it’s tough to stay locked in.”
It also might be tough to bounce back less than 24 hours later against the Wizards, who have won five of their last eight games to climb into the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Washington is eyeing a postseason berth for the third time in four seasons.
“With a young team, you’re going to get there hopefully eventually,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks recently said to reporters. “You might as well get there as quickly as you can.”
However, the Wizards had a setback in their most recent outing, as they lost 113-108 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Bradley Beal scored 26 points in the loss, while rookie Rui Hachimura contributed 17 points and seven rebounds.
Beal and LaVine likely will attract most of the cameras’ attention when the teams tip off in Chicago. Both players start at shooting guard and lead their team in scoring.
LaVine, 24, is in a bit of a slump over the last two contests, during which he is shooting 38 percent (16 of 42) from the field and 20 percent (3 of 15) from beyond the arc. But he has 17 games with 30-plus points this season and could be motivated to change the narrative from the Bulls’ long losing streak and his latest clash with Boylen.
Beal, 26, is averaging a career-high 29.1 points per game on the season. He also has a career-high 6.1 assists per contest despite averaging less playing time per game than a season ago.
This is the second time in less than two weeks that the teams will face each other. The Wizards pulled away for a 126-114 win on Feb. 11 thanks to 30 points from Beal, 20 from Hachimura and 15 apiece from Ian Mahinmi and Shabazz Napier.
This marks the third set of a four-game homestand for the Bulls.
Washington will return home for two games after a short visit to Chicago. The Wizards are 7-20 on the road, compared with a 13-14 mark on their home court.
–Field Level Media