Well Pippen Peoples, it’s over. The Chicago Bulls ended their season Tuesday night with a 75-69 loss in the United Center. If I start to ramble, I’ll apologize early. I am in total shock as to how a NBA team in the playoffs with their season on the line can only muster up 28 points in the second half. I was watching the game and I hoped, man I hoped to God almighty that Chicago would win. I really mean that. Never mind that I had been whining, moaning and complaining that this team could not score. Never mind that the Legion of Booz and the Leroy-alist party had been fighting over Carlos Boozer for months. Never mind that I wrote an article calling for the Bulls to bench Kirk Hinrich that was so scalding that Ashley Wijangco wrote a rebuttal 12 hours later. I wanted the Bulls to win Game five, even though deep down in my heart based on what I’ve seen over the last 20 games and over the duration of this series I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Even when the game was tied at the half. Now the season is over.
Well so much for that home court advantage thing. The Chicago Bulls lost at home for the sixth straight time in the playoffs over three playoff series. Breaking that down that’d be one to the Brooklyn Nets, two the Miami Heat and three in this series to The Washington Wizards. Since 1979 Washington hadn’t had much success since they were named the Wizards. That is until Tuesday night. Up until now the Wizards have only won two playoff series since the 1979 NBA Finals vs. the Seattle Supersonics. Way back in 1982 the Washington franchise known back then as the Bullets beat the New Jersey Nets 2-0. Now understand that three parts to this information I just gave you don’t even exist anymore. These things are..
The Seattle Supersonics
The Supersonics are no longer a franchise. They were moved to Oklahoma City and are now known as the Thunder.
The New Jersey Nets
The team moved across the pond to Brooklyn. I bet you can’t even remember who the star leading scorer or the coach was for that team. Well we here at Pippen Ain’t Easy can tell you. The leading scorer and star was Buck Williams and the coach was Larry Brown. Yeah that one.
The Washington Bullets moniker was dropped.
The Washington name was changed to the Wizards by late owner Abe Pollin in 1995 to do his part to distance the franchise from the gun violence in the city and trying to use the franchise as a positive influence.
This is how long it’s been since the Washington Wizards have had any playoff success. Until 2005 when they beat guess who? The Chicago Bulls in six games. That team was led by Gilbert Arenas before the “Gun Gate” scandal that set the franchise back years…until now.
We could go back and forth on who was at fault. We could break down every little thing that could have turned around the fortunes for the Bulls to win this game. But one thing just cannot be ignored…
THE BULLS CAN’T SCORE MAN!
When the Bulls went into halftime tied at 41, I actually prayed that the Bulls could keep this up. Let me tell you all something. The first half meant nothing to me because the Bulls have the same issue that has killed them through out the series. At some point in the last quarter in crunch time they can’t operate their halfcourt offense in crunch time. They just can’t. In Game five the struggles started in the third quarter. Now understand they were throwing their normal brick quota in the fourth quarter because they only scored 17 points. But missed shots, turnovers and a lack of an offensive system added up to 11 points in the third quarter. Now about those lay ups. The Bulls missed…wait for it, 18 lay ups which included the point blank lay up by Jimmy Butler with less than 30 seconds to go to seal it for the Wizards. If the Bulls hit half of these lay ups, we go to Game six. Hold up if they hit 1/3 of these lay ups we go to Game six. Man, Bulls fans are going to remember this one for a long time.
Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler each scored 16 points to lead the Bulls but this was an issue in itself. Usually when your point guard leads your team in scoring that is a problem. This is not a knock against Hinrich because trust me if you’ve been watching the Memphis-OKC series you can see that Russell Westbrook is basically doing the same thing as Hinrich, only more shots. Hence the Thunder are one game away from elimination as of this writing. The point is that if Hinrich is shooting that means other players are not involved and can’t get into a shooting rhythm. Hinrich shooting neans…
Mike Dunleavy who scored 35 points in Game three to even force the series to a game five shoots only eight times.
Joakim Noah, who has to have at least 12-15 shots to keep Nene and Marcin Gortat honest shoots only eight times.
Taj Gibson who went nuts in Game four for a career high 32 points only shot ten times before injuring his ankle.
Believe it or not, the Washington Wizards wanted it this way. In the playoffs, your opponent will take something away from your offensive scheme. That something was…DJ Augustin.
DJ Augustin’s season is very well documented, by this website and all sports media in general. Since Luol Deng was traded Augustin was the Bulls leading scorer. The only problem with that is he became a priority of the Wizards. If this was December, Augustin could have scored 25 points like in Game 2 and the Wizards would have shouted LUCK! But now it’s the end of April and the Wizards shouted TREVOR! After Game 2, the Wizards took Augustin out of the offense entirely and didn’t let the man breathe. In Game five, Augustin scored four points on 1-10 shooting. Trevor Ariza exposed all of Augustin’s weaknesses, he has trouble with long athletic defenders. The Wizards figured him out in Game 2 and he struggled for the rest of the series.
I will say this Pippen Peoples, I have a lot of respect for you. As a New York Knicks fan, I know passion when I see it and you guys have it. Granted we had plenty of differences in opinion along the way, but that is what made this website what it is today. NBA fans, not just Bulls fans but NBA fans can come together and let their voices be heard. The season is over, but Pippen Ain’t Easy’s season is not. We will break down all aspects of this franchise. From the front office to the coaches with all of the players in between. We have the draft to breakdown along with free agency. Stick with Pippen Ain’t Easy for your best choice for Bulls news, previews and reviews.