Man I can’t figure these guys out, but I’m starting to get close. The Chicago Bulls slapped the daylights out of the Washington Wizards 96-78 in a game that the Bulls led from pillar to post. Two things will happen if things go the way they did on Saturday night. One, if the seeds stay the way they are the Wizards will be the Bulls’ first round opponent. Two, if things go like they did Saturday night, the Bulls will dispose of Washington in about six days. Chicago showed Washington that those two earlier losses this season will have no bearing on what will happen in the playoffs. The Bulls have now won five straight and are STILL tied with the Toronto Raptors for the third seed in the Leastern conference standings. DJ Augustin led the Bulls with 25 points while continuing his torrid pace during the winning streak averaging close to 20 points per game. Joakim Noah had a nice bounce back game shooting the ball after a 2-14 brick mason convention against the Milwaukee Bucks. He shot 9-13 from the field while hitting all three of his free throws on the way to 21 points while grabbing 12 rebounds. Carlos Boozer continued his strong play scoring 16 points in 24 minutes before the street lights came on and he had to sit down for the night. Anyway as always here are the three things that I learned.
1) The Chicago Bulls showed the AARP squad (aka the Wizards bench) their birth certificate.
The Washington Wizards brought in some very good albeit older players in Al Harrington, Drew Gooden, and Dr. Dre Andre Miller to provide stability off the bench. Al Harrington spent much of the season on the injured list. Andre Miller was exiled in Denver after kindly letting the coach Brian Shaw that maybe he didn’t share the same philosophies on winning basketball as he did. Drew Gooden was trying to get picked up in pick up basketball to stay in shape. With these three individuals have combined to mentor and provide locker room leadership to a franchise that has sorely needed it since the Gilbert Arenas gun fiasco. Oh by the way, they can score too. Last night, the Bulls sent them to the NBA old folks home because they were a complete non factor. Drew Gooden only had four points and the other two…well the next point that they would have scored would be their first. The bench of the Wizards were dominated by the Bulls bench led by DJ Augustin. If the Bulls play the Wizards in the first round, stopping the bench will be the key to shutting Washington down for the series.
2) If Joakim Noah continues to be aggressive and can knock down shots…playoff teams had better watch out!
I think Joakim Noah is REALLY starting to figure this offense thing out. At the beginning he would sometimes overpass looking to get the offense moving. In doing this he would sacrifice his own offense sometimes to the detriment of the Bulls offense. Boy it looks like he has found the proper balance and understanding of when to shoot and when to pass. The time frame in which it took for Noah to learn the difference is amazing and should be pointed out. It takes years for some point guards to figure out. There are some point guards that still haven’t figured it out yet (Ex. Raymond Felton or Tyreke Evans.) Joakim Noah has gotten a grasp in a few months with no training camp. His basketball I.Q. is off the charts right now. He had only three assists but he played a great floor game that kept the offense flowing freely. While he was handing the scoring duties the backcourt of Jimmy Butler, Kirk Hinrich and DJ Augustin had 18 assists between them. Jimmy Butler who shot an anemic 1-9 from the field had nine assists to lead the team.
3) DJ Augustin dare I say it is the Bulls best scorer. Not just off the bench but period.
This dude has been balling!!!! The next time you watch the Bulls play, take a look at Augustin’s face. He looks like he thinks he’s the coolest cat on the floor. Let me tell everyone something, he’s supposed to. The game of basketball is all about confidence. Right now he has a ton of it. He absolutely lit the Wizards up for 25 points knocking down 6-11 from the land of the extra point. Strange thing that happened was that he was throwing up bricks from two point range shooting 2-8. Hey Mr. DJ! Who cares, just as long as you keep knocking them down from distance. The inside outside combination of Taj Gibson and Augustin has catapulted the Bulls to one of the more formidable benches in the NBA. When they add Ronnie Brewer to the mix (if they are smart) the bench will be solid for the playoffs without wearing out Gibson and Augustin down the road.
Here’s what I learned…now learn from this!
The Bulls gave up 16 points in the first quarter. Then the Wizards must have made the Bulls mad because they only gave up ten points in the second quarter. This just in to Pippen Ain’t Easy, if Chicago decides you won’t score…you don’t.
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