Measuring up to elite post players inspires Wizards center Marcin Gortat to play better. In Friday's win the New York Knicks, he did most of his damage early. Gortat posted 13 points and 10 rebounds against Tyson Chandler and will be facing Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.
"I like to play against guys who did get something in this league," Gortat said of Chandler. "He's got a championship. He's got a defensive player of the year (award). I always want to take that challenge. ... I'm want to fight for my respect. I want to fight for my team."
He'll get his wish with Noah, now the centerpiece of the Bulls who are without two All-Stars yet still are the No. 4 seed in the East with a chance to move up a spot. Derrick Rose (knee) is out for the season and Luol Deng was traded.
Noah is undersized but long, quick and a leading candidate for the NBA's top defensive player award.
Chicago has won six of their last seven, but two came vs. the Boston Celtics, one vs. the Milwaukee Bucks, one vs. the Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks.
TV: The is no pregame show. Tipoff from Verizon Center is 7 p.m. ET on CSN+, the overflow channel. There will be Wizards Postgame Live immediately follows the conclusion on CSN. Radio: 106.7 FM. 1500 AM.
Last game: Wizards (40-36) won 90-89 at New York Knicks on Friday; Bulls (44-32) beat Milwaukee Bucks 102-90 on Friday.
Last meeting: Washington won 96-93 at Verizon Center on Jan. 17, and Chicago missed eight of their last nine field goals. Season series: Wizards lead 2-0.
Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Trevor Booker, C Marcin Gortat. Bulls –- PG Kirk Hinrich, SG Jimmy Butler, SF Mike Dunleavy, PF Carlos Boozer, C Joakim Noah.
Around the bend: The Wizards will be off Sunday after playing back-to-backs and then will have two days to prepare for their final meeting with the Charlotte Bobcats at Verizon Center on Wednesday (CSN, 7 ET).