In possibly the most tough-to-call matchup of the first round, the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls kicked off their opening round 2014 NBA Playoff series on Sunday night. The Bulls are making their sixth straight playoff appearance, while the Wizards are entering the postseason for the first time in the last six years. The matchup is certainly a battle of young stars versus a tested veteran team.
Chicago was favored to take care of business in game one, even though Washington is a popular upset pick this postseason. If nothing else you can argue that the Wizards have a much higher ceiling, but we all know that the Bulls are going to be consistent.
Game one did indeed boil down to veteran play. But ironically, it was Andre Miller sparking the Wizards in the fourth quarter. The 38-year old guard was huge for Washington, scoring 10 points in just 13 total minutes.
Washington’s young stars were all solid and its bigs were even bigger. Nene Hilario and Marcin Gortat combined for 39 points and 21 rebounds — easily the difference in the game.
The Bulls struggled on offense down the stretch, something that many predicted would happen. They’re a tough and smart team, but in the playoffs you need scorers. Chicago just didn’t have a go-to guy late in the fourth quarter.
The Wizards played better when it mattered most and were clearly the superior team by the time the buzzer sounded.
If you’re a Bulls fan, you should probably be worried about the outcome of this series. The more confidence this Wizards team gets, the better it’s going to be. Experience can only take a team so far. The Bulls will have to play better offensively while containing Nene and Gortat to have any shot moving forward.