The Chicago Bulls headed out on the road this evening to take on the Washington Wizards. Dawning the best road record in the league, they underestimated the challenge they’d be facing tonight. Although John Wall’s statistic figures aren’t otherworldly, sitting at 14 points and 6 assists per game, the Wizards have been 5-3 since his return. He finished with 15 points and 7 assists today. Final Score: Wizards 86 – 73 Bulls
Heading into the game, Washington held a 5-game winning streak at the Verizon Center. With wins against the Thunder and Hawks under their belts, they came into the game with a confident swagger.The Bulls, on the other hand, came into the game with a three-game winning streak and had won six of their
last seven games. Luol Deng missed his fifth straight game with a hamstring injury, so Jimmy Butler got the start.
Chicago opened the game the way they played it, committed a turnover and allowing Bradley Beal to go from coast-to-coast for a transition layup. The Bulls and Wizards had no problem trading baskets for the majority of the first half, but the Bulls lack of tenacity on the defensive end spelled trouble ahead. If there’s one thing that’s certain about the Rose-less Bulls it’s that they can’t count on their offense to carry them for 48 minutes, or 24 even.
The Wizards did a good job of pushing the ball up in transition this evening, catching the Bulls flat-footed on more than one occasion, Carlos Boozer namely. Today, he decided to allowed Emeka Okafor to score 15 points and grab 16 rebounds. After a 5-0 run, head coach Tom Thibodeau called a timeout, obviously frustrated with Chicago’s effort on the defensive side of the ball but right out of the break the Bulls allowed yet another transition dunk, courtesy of Nene this time.
The third quarter ensued a great deal doom and gloom for Chicago. Going completely dry on offense, they couldn’t manage to get enough stops to neutralize the 23-11 run Washington forced upon them. Although they got a couple of free throws in that run, the Bulls went without a field goal from the seven minute mark of the third quarter to the ten minute mark of the fourth quarter. That’s about nine minutes of game-time without seeing the ball drop into the basket.
The Wizards built their largest lead of the game at 20 until the Bulls finally managed to score, courtesy of a Jimmy Butler three-pointer. Coming off the first double-double of his career, he couldn’t duplicate his previous performance tonight. Although Chicago managed to get the game down to 10 at one point, it was far too little and far too late for them to pick up the pieces.
Chicago’s problem tonight was transition defense and far too many mid-range jumpers. Although The Bulls always do a good job of moving the ball around but they get a little too trigger happy sometimes, especially Nate. Although he was the only Bull to score in double-digits, finishing with 19, so he might be doing something right. Not to mention, their 16 turnovers didn’t help them out much.