The Bulls fought valiantly throughout the game, even pushing the game to overtime. Joakim Noah had a huge double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds, and the Bulls had a 49-42 advantage on the boards, meaning that Chicago gave great effort throughout and fought as any team should in a playoff game.
Yet for some reason, it does not seem to matter to the Wizards what the Bulls do.
Despite a rebounding disadvantage and an inefficient night from the big men Nene and Marcin Gortat, the Wizards found a way to pull out a close win. Most of the credit needs to go to Washington’s young backcourt.
John Wall and Bradley Beal are two rising stars in the NBA. Wall is a point guard who has athleticism rivaled by few, and who also has great court vision to boot. Wall is the type of player meant to play in a drive-and-kick system, as he can get into the lane almost at will and either finish at the rim or kick it out using his passing ability and find open teammates from deep.
Beal is the kind of shooter who benefits from that system as well. Beal is one of the better 3-point shooters in the league, and his ability to move without the ball and create an opportunity for himself to shoot the ball is very valuable in terms of teaming with Wall. The young guns combined for 42 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in the win, proving that just because they are young, does not mean they cannot come up big in the playoffs.
Other players that benefit from playing with the kind of player that Wall is include Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster. Both of them are marksmen from deep and can shoot the ball with the best of them. With a team full of capable shooters and scorers, Wall has many options in terms of passing the ball which takes a lot of pressure off of him to be the primary scorer and carry his team game by game.
The Wizards are built to play together on offense, but they are not so bad on defense either.
Overall, the Wizards held the Bulls to just 43.2 percent shooting from the field and 29.4 percent from three. Even though the Bulls are not one of the top offensive teams in the NBA, the Wizards have not been given enough credit as a capable defensive squad.
During the regular season, the Wizards ranked ninth in defensive efficiency with a 102.4 rating, proving that they are more than capable of playing quality defense to go along with their offensive attack.
The Wizards have multiple athletic perimeter players and solid big men down low to hold their own on defense, and it showed throughout the regular season and in the playoffs in these first few games against the Bulls. Washington has a knack for being able to control the game defensively and force turnovers in order to generate easy offense.
The Wizards have a solid game plan that they have built their team around. The offense and defense both have an identity, and that is important in order for a team to have playoff success. Beating a defensive juggernaut like Chicago is no easy task.
Consider yourselves warned Eastern Conference; The Wizards are on the move in the playoffs, and they have proven so far that they are a team that is for real in the East.