Marcin Gortat was elated about getting traded from Phoenix last October but upset that the move meant that he would miss a Polish heritage night for the Suns season opener that he spent a lot of time – and money – to put together. More than five months later, the Wizards will take time to honor Gortat’s native country as they host the Chicago Bulls on Saturday at Verizon Center.
“Yeah, I’m actually kind of scared, because it’s going to be a back-to-back and I hope I’m going to have some energy to play in front of my own crowd,” Gortat said. “It’s going to be a lot of people. And then, I’m hoping we’re going to get a win. It’s going to be a lot of people.”
Gortat said he expects to have at least 500 fans in the arena, dressed in red and white and waving Polish flags: “It’s going to be sick. You never seen anything like that in D.C.”
Saturday’s game could serve as a playoff preview with the Wizards (40-36) currently in sixth place and the Bulls (44-32) tied with the Toronto Raptors for third in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards have won the first two meetings this season in January, when the Bulls were just recovering from the Luol Deng trade to Chicago.
Washington edged the Bulls, 96-93, on Jan. 17, when Nene recorded a game-saving block on Jimmy Butler as time expired. It also won the first meeting four days earlier in Chicago,102-88, as Nene and John Wall both scored 19 points.
With Nene still sidelined with a sprained left knee, Gortat is expected to help the Wizards remain physical against the rugged Bulls. “For me, it’s going to be a extra huge game,” Gortat said. “I would like to get a win for my country, for my people that’s going to support us. Again, it’s going to be a team we might face in the playoffs, we want to make sure that we’re going to play hard and we’re going to prove that we can beat this team again and hopefully, later on in the playoffs, if we face them, we can beat them again. It’s going to be a physical game. We’re going to need everybody and we’ll see.”
(TV: Comcast SportsNet. Radio: WJFK-106.7 MF, WFED-1500 AM).
Here’s some reading to get you ready for tonight’s game: