Chicago Bulls in town, not the Charlotte Bobcats. Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton? Back for Chicago. Luol Deng? Out for a bit. Andray Blatche? Questionable. President Obama? Nope. The last time people expected Washington to lose this much (aside from pretty much all the time) was the Oklahoma City Thunder game. The Wizards somehow won that one. Chicago is favored by nine points on the road this evening. Should you get any ideas? Probably not. Chicago has the second best Defensive Rating in the NBA (97.4 points allowed per 100 possessions)… the Philadelphia 76ers are best (94.6 DRtg), and we all know how games against the Sixers work out for Washington. Nonetheless, let’s do the 3-on-3 drill… featuring Beckley Mason of HoopSpeak.com along with TAI’s John Converse Townsend and Kyle Weidie. Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) Derrick Rose will be walking into the Verizon Center with the weight of Sunday night’s loss to the Miami Heat (partly due to his missed free throws) squarely on his shoulders. Not only will John Wall have to face off against a motivated Rose, but he’ll most likely have to face off again John Lucas, who had a career game against him on January 11 (25 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds — although backup Bulls PG CJ Watson, unavailable in the previous meeting between these two teams like Rose, is also back). Who has a better game tonight, Wall or Rose?
MASON: Rose has the better game because he’s the better player playing on the better team. Especially troubling for Wall, who struggles with turnovers in pick and roll sets, is that the Bulls play awesome, suffocating pick and roll defense. I think the only way Wall has the better game is if it becomes a real up-and-down contest.
TOWNSEND: John Wall has flirted with triple-doubles for the past month; the numbers might convince you that Wall will get lucky tonight. But then you remember that Wall’s career averages against Chicago are, well, average — 13.3 points and 4.3 turnovers. Reality sets in: It’s Derrick Rose, not Wall, with the No. 1 stitched on the back of his jersey, and it’s Rose who has learned to bend the laws of physics, and it’s Rose who wins the game.