Wizards-Bulls Preview

It took two seasons for Chicago’s Derrick Rose to establish

himself as one of the top point guards in the NBA.

Washington rookie John Wall has the potential to follow the same

path.

Two of the last three overall No. 1 picks meet for the first

time Saturday night at the United Center when the Bulls try for a

fourth straight home win over the Wizards.

Rose, the first overall pick in 2008, made his first All-Star

team on the way to averaging 20.8 points and 6.0 assists in

2009-10. The Chicago native has been even better this season,

averaging 23.6 points and 9.7 assists.

He had 22 and 13 assists for his third double-double of the

season in Chicago’s 120-90 win over a tired Golden State team

Thursday. Rose and Luol Deng, who had 26 points and 11 rebounds,

combined for 39 points in the first half as the Bulls (4-3) shot

54.8 percent and set a season high for points.

“We want to play fast. It works to our advantage,” forward

Joakim Noah told the Bulls’ official website. “We can be a

dangerous team when we play uptempo like that. It’s a good fit for

us.”

The Bulls have a chance to do that against a Washington club

that’s allowed 104.1 points per contest this season. The Wizards

have given up 112.0 a game while losing three in a row at the

United Center.

Rose has averaged 27.7 points on 50 percent shooting in his last

three games against Washington. He had 37 in a 121-119

double-overtime victory in the teams’ last meeting in Chicago on

Jan. 15.

However, Rose’s greatest value Saturday could be his defense

against Wall.

“I love matchups,” Rose said. “Of course he’s a rookie, but it

should be a fun matchup.”

Averaging 18.4 points and 10.3 assists for the Wizards (2-5),

Wall recorded his first triple-double with 19 points, 13 assists

and 10 rebounds in Wednesday’s win over Houston. He wasn’t nearly

as dominant with 13 points and 11 assists in a 93-85 loss to

Charlotte on Friday.

The former Kentucky star went 6 for 16 from the field and had

two layups blocked.

Still, Wall has a double-double in four of his first seven

games. He had nine assists before halftime Friday, giving him at

least seven assists in each game. Oscar Robertson was the last

rookie to have that kind of start, with 10 in a row in 1960.

Wall looks to help Washington bounce back and win for the first

time on the road after starting 0-3 away from home. None of his

double-doubles have come on the road.

“We’re young, and we’re going to have to learn,” said veteran

guard Gilbert Arenas, averaging 10.3 points in four games coming

off the bench. “It’s still the learning process.”

Washington guard Kirk Hinrich returns to Chicago where he spent

the previous seven seasons. The ex-Bulls captain averaged 13.4

points and 5.8 assists with Chicago before the team traded him to

Washington in July.

Averaging 11.4 points this season, Hinrich had 14 and eight

assists in Friday’s loss.

Chicago hopes for a perfect three-game homestand before heading

out on its annual “Circus Trip,” which starts Tuesday in Houston

and features seven games in 12 days.