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Illness will prevent Bulls' best player from facing Wizards

Illness will prevent Bulls' best player from facing Wizards

The Wizards were given a gift over the weekend, when Giannis Antetokounmpo couldn't play for the Milwaukee Bucks because of illness. Tuesday, Jimmy Butler isn't expected to be with the Chicago Bulls at Verizon Center for the same reason.

According to Bulls Insider Vince Goodwill of CSNchicago.com:

Butler, who has scored 40, 52 and 42 since Dec. 28, only scored one point on 0-for-6 shooting in the Bulls' 109-94 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night. He played just 28 minutes. 

MORE WIZARDS: BUTLER MAY NOT BE ALONE ON CHICAGO'S BENCH

With Dwyane Wade (rest) expected not to play in the second game of a back-to-back either, the matchup with the Wizards (18-18) will look significantly different as they try to get over .500 for the first time since November 2015.

Rajon Rondo has been replaced in the starting lineup by Michael Carter-Williams and hasn't played in the last five games. Rondo is 1-for-16 in the two meetings with the Wizards, who won the last time to put the season series at 1-1. 

The first time these teams met, the Wizards didn't have John Wall as he was being held out of back-to-back games and Bradley Beal had a sore hamstring. 

Based on what took place last season on Feb. 24, however, the Wizards' core players should know better than take victory for granted. The Bulls had injuries galore -- no Butler or Derrick Rose at the time -- but E'Twaun Moore took over and led seven players in double figures of a 109-104 upset of a team desperately trying to qualify for the postseason.

They fell behind by 12 points to Milwaukee but came back to win 107-102.

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Kevin Durant's legacy won't be secured with just one NBA title with Golden State Warriors

Kevin Durant's legacy won't be secured with just one NBA title with Golden State Warriors

For the second time, Kevin Durant is in the NBA Finals. He’ll be with another team, the Golden State Warriors, that’ll be favored to win for the second time in three years.

Even in victory – and Durant will claim he doesn’t care what everyone says about how he got there – questions will remain for one of the league’s most prolific scorers.

Like LeBron James when he eloped to the Miami Heat to get his first two championship rings, credit won’t automatically come with it.

It took James returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to begin turn the page on “The Decision” in 2010 when he joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach.

James led them back from a 3-1 deficit to upset Golden State to win last year’s Finals.

That was without Durant, who has led a team that has yet to lose game in these playoffs with four-game sweeps of the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs.

“They’re in a groove,” Spurs big man Pau Gasol told Bay Area News Group after they lost 129-115 on Monday night. “They know what it takes to win and obviously they’ve been champions, they’ve established records that have never been set before and they’re on a path to get another championship.

"In all my years in the league, they’re playing at the highest level right now.”

[RELATED: Smacking some sense into the Jordan-LeBron and MVP debates]

With Durant, they should be that good. There's no extra credit for that. They have the league's most lethal shooter in Steph Curry, a two-way elite shooter in Klay Thompson and weapons galore. Durant had double-doubles in two of the wins vs. San Antonio, including 29 points and 12 rebounds on the closeout game.

He likely will make up for the 2012 disappointment with the Oklahoma City Thunder when they succumbed in five games to James and the Heat.

They appeared to be on the right track after winning Game 1 over Miami by 11 points only to lose the next four.  Durant could never get back to the Finals, with his next biggest failure professionally coming a year ago.

The Thunder were on the verge of upsetting the defending champion Warriors only to blow a 3-1 series lead in the conference finals. And he responded by joining them.

At least when James bolted Cleveland to join Miami, he didn’t run to a team that had kept him from a championship. The Boston Celtics had eliminated him six games of the conference semifinals despite his triple-double.

Durant one-upped James with his surprising move in free agency, bypassing his hometown Wizards by not even granting them a meeting. Yes, he’s a one-time MVP of the NBA who is now the best player on Golden State that already has a two-time MVP with Curry.

There are a lot of reasons to want to play in the Bay Area. The location alone is enough. But co-owner Joe Lacob has created a fantastic environment with the front office led by Bob Myers and an elite coaching staff. 

Durant's work won't be done by raising one Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy next month. They've done that in Golden State without him.

To the contrary, it'll be just beginning. He'll be judged by how much higher he can take them and in the end even that might not be enough.

[RELATED: Wizards hope to sign Wall to contract extension]

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Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 13 - Breaking down a possible John Wall contract extension

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Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 13 - Breaking down a possible John Wall contract extension

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Commuter Connections, Chase Hughes and J. Michael took a deep look into what it would take for the Wizards to sign John Wall to a new contract this summer. Wall wants to see the Wizards' long-term plan, so what do they need to prove to him?

That could mean simply a deeper bench, but what about the potential of acquiring a third star? Chase and J. Michael broke down the possibilities between Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins and others. They then ranted about the NBA's upcoming awards show, Boston sports radio hosts and the NBA playoffs so far.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play.

[RELATED: How does trash talking in the NBA compare to other sports?]