Rashard Lewis prepares for debut with Wizards
Rashard Lewis is expected to make his season debut Wednesday against the visiting Chicago Bulls, giving the former all-star a chance see the floor with his new teammates and provide some frontcourt versatility as the Wizards will again be without rookie guard John Wall.
Lewis, who practiced for the first time Tuesday and was among the first to take the court during Wednesday morning's shoot-around, is getting acclimated to the Wizards' offense and fitting in just fine.
"It seems like he's doing great," guard Nick Young said. "He's picking the offense up fast. He's starting to get along with everybody. Everybody is bringing him in and making him feel comfortable."
The Wizards hope that the 6-foot-10 forward, who struggled at small forward this season for Orlando, will provide match-up problems for opponents with his size and ability to shoot three-pointers. Guard Kirk Hinrich said Lewis can bring more balance as a proven forward to the Wizards roster.
"He's a veteran big," Hinrich said. "He's been in big games and played on good teams. And just his game, [he's a] guy that can stretch the floor and cause problems for other teams."
Lewis, who the Wizards acquired in a trade Saturday for Gilbert Arenas, is on track to play between 20 and 30 minutes against the Bulls, said Coach Flip Saunders. "We have to wait and see his comfort level," he said. "But I anticipate that he will give us that."
Though the Wizards have played perhaps their best basketball of the season of late, they have yet to win consecutive games this year. They snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 108-75 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night.
On the other hand, the Bulls have been one of the hottest teams in the league, winning eight of their past nine games, including a 121-76 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday, and boast the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. Chicago is expected to be without big man Joakim Noah.
"I haven't paid too much attention to them, expect for yesterday and today, when we're getting ready to play them," said Hinrich, whom the Wizards acquired in a July trade from Chicago. "But just from what I've seen, they're playing hard, obviously defensively they're good. They've got some good players. And they're playing well. It's definitely going to be a challenge.
Said Saunders: "It'd be nice [to win two straight.] But we have got to play well. I think they feel pretty good about themselves as far as understanding what it takes to have a chance to be successful, as far as playing hard and playing as a team. So we just have to build off that."
* Saunders said there was "no change" in the No. 1 overall pick's condition. Wall, who has a bone bruise under his right kneecap and is out "indefinitely," hasn't played since a Dec. 10 loss to the New York Knicks.
| December 22, 2010; 12:18 PM ET
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