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NBA Preview: Washington Wizards (28-31) at Chicago Bulls (27-33)

The Chicago Bulls will try to keep the momentum going when they play the Washington Wizards on Sunday after recognizing and taking advantage of the urgency in their first game back after the All-Star break.

Chicago’s 131-87 home victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday ended a six-game losing streak and gave them their second lead of 50 points in the NBA this season.

The Bulls moved within one and a half games of Washington for the final spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament going into play on Saturday in conjunction with the Wizards’ defeat to the New York Knicks earlier on Friday.

The Bulls were led by Zach LaVine, who scored 32 points, and DeRozan, who scored 17, as the starters rested for much of the fourth quarter.

In his Bulls debut, Chicago native Patrick Beverley scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds, and had four assists. He was signed during the All-Star break following a contract buyout with Orlando. The veteran’s enthusiasm and defensive communication, on the other hand, were equally appreciated by the team.

On Friday, Washington got off to a fast start when Kristaps Porzingis scored 19 points in the first quarter and hit all five of his 3-point attempts.

The host Wizards eventually extended their lead over the Knicks to 19 points, but they were unable to maintain it, snapping their two-game winning streak.

This season, Washington has lost ten leads of double digits.

That has “been our trend all year,” according to Wizards coach Monte Morris, who cited the team’s tendency to reduce their defensive intensity when they gain a lead.

The goal for Washington is to win the season series against Chicago. To do so, the rivals would need to win on the road for the first time this season. Both of the Wizards’ victories over Chicago were at home, with the Bulls getting a home win in between.

Nine points have separated the teams’ three previous games.

In the last ten meetings, Chicago has won seven times.

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