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Bulls Begin Life Without Jimmy Butler Tuesday Against Wizards
Already without Derrick Rose for perhaps the rest of the regular season and without sixth man Taj Gibson for likely at least a week, the last thing the Chicago Bulls needed was another injury. However, the team learned Monday that All-Star guard Jimmy Butler was going to miss 3-6 weeks with a strained elbow.
Butler, who won't need surgery, suffered the injury when he collided with Clippers center DeAndre Jordan three minutes into the second half Sunday and did not return. The hope within Butler's camp is that rest and treatment will allow him to come back before the regular season ends and get a few games under his belt alongside Rose, who is expected to be out four to six weeks after having knee surgery Friday. Butler, who became an All-Star for the first time this season, has been the Bulls' best two-way player this season, averaging 20.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 55 games. Gibson, meanwhile, is wearing a walking boot after spraining his left ankle in Friday night's win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Chicago lost to the Clippers 96-86 on Sunday. Rookie reserve Nikola Mirotic scored a career-high 29 points. He's going to get a lot more playing time now. Mirotic accounted for all but one of his team's 17 points in the fourth quarter. The Bulls lost for the third time in their past 10 games.
Washington ended a season-high six-game losing streak with Saturday's 99-95 home win over Detroit. John Wall scored 22 points, and Nene added 21. The Wizards, who had lost 11 of 13, also got 16 points and 17 rebounds from Marcin Gortat. One night after turning in their worst shooting performance (32.3 percent) of the season, the Wizards shot 48.1 percent as they were boosted by the return of Paul Pierce (14 points), who missed two games with a bruised right knee, and Bradley Beal (right leg stress reaction) who missed eight. Beal finished with eight points in 33 minutes. Kris Humphries (strained groin) missed his second straight game.
This is the fourth and final meeting of the regular season between the Wizards and Bulls, although they could certainly meet in the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Wizards currently lead the season series 2-1. In the most recent meeting, Washington won 105-99 on Jan. 14 in Chicago. All five starters scored in double figures for the Wizards. They outscored the Bulls 32-19 in the third quarter to take control of the game. Pierce led the Wizards with 22 points on 7-of-12 from the field and grabbed six rebounds. Wall had 21 points to go along with nine assists. Beal tallied 17 points on 8-of-14 from the field and also added six assists and five rebounds. Rose led the Bulls with 32 points.
Key betting trends: Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in Chicago. Wizards are 13-3 ATS in the last 16 meetings in Chicago. Wizards are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings. Under is 24-10 in the last 34 meetings. Underdog is 13-3 ATS in the last 16 meetings. Road team is 10-2 ATS in the last 12 meetings.
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