Familiar faces in new uniforms as Bulls host Wizards
Two teams that were on opposite ends of the same telephone line at the trade deadline take their news looks to the basketball floor Saturday night when the Washington Wizards visit the Chicago Bulls.
Actually, both teams debuted their new talent to rave reviews Friday night.
The Wizards ended a three-game losing streak with a 119-106 thumping of Cleveland at home, with newcomer Bobby Portis immediately making himself thousands of new fans.
Acquired from the Bulls with Jabari Parker for Otto Porter Jr., Portis poured in a game-high 30 points, his second-most this season, off the bench to pave the way to the win.
Parker also played a key role as a reserve, contributing a season-high nine assists along with 11 rebounds, seven points and three steals. He played 23 minutes, with the Wizards outscoring the Cavaliers by 16 points while he was on the floor.
With Portis (12-for-18) and Parker (3-for-6) combining to hit 15 of their 24 shots, the Wizards shot 50.0 percent for the game. It was just the 17th time in 55 games that Washington has made at least half its shots in a game.
The deal for Portis and Parker was labeled a sell-off by the Wizards, who received two players who can become free agents at season's end.
Portis insisted to reporters before Friday's game that the transaction gives him something to prove.
"Go out there and try to play with a chip on my shoulder," he said of his new situation. "Go out there and try to do whatever's necessary for us to win."
Parker noted before his Wizards debut that the club is far from eliminated from playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. Washington took the court Friday just four games out of the final playoff spot in the East.
"I like the fit a lot," Parker boasted to reporters. "Just being able to contribute with guys who've been playing and who focus on winning. Hopefully I can enhance that playoff run."
Porter got a start in his first game with the Bulls on Friday and put up 18 points in one of Chicago's most impressive efforts of the season, a 125-106 win at playoff-contending Brooklyn.
Porter shot 7-for-9 overall and 4-for-5 on 3-pointers, helping the Bulls convert 50.0 percent of their 28 attempts from beyond the arc.
Porter got the start alongside Lauri Markkanen in two-thirds of what the Bulls now envision as their frontcourt of the future. Center Wendell Carter Jr., who completes the frontcourt trio, likely is out for the season following surgery on his left thumb.
Guard Zach LaVine, whose 26 points were second-most to Markkanen's 31 at Brooklyn, is excited to get an early glimpse at the team's future.
"Lauri has been playing great," he observed to reporters before Friday's game. "I want to see (how Porter meshes). It's weird because you don't know how it's going to be. It's changed, but we're going to see how it goes."
Coincidentally, neither Portis, Parker nor Porter played when the Bulls won 101-92 at Washington in December in the clubs' only previous meeting this season.
The win was the Chicago's second straight over Washington. Portis had 18 points for the Bulls and Porter 17 for the Wizards when Chicago recorded a home win last April.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 8, 2019