Ever since I proclaimed that the Washington Wizards would beat the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs, I was the target of ridicule from NBA fans. Many believed that the Wizards’ lack of experience would be their undoing against the more experienced Bulls.
Unfortunately for Bulls fans and NBA pundits alike, John Wall and the Wizards put on their sorcerer hats and made the Bulls disappear from the playoffs in five games.
The way the Wizards did it was not shocking at all; one of my main points for the Wizards was to speed up the game. The Bulls simply do not have the speed nor the offense to keep up with the young guns from the nation’s capital.
And what do you know? The Wizards out-sped, out-jumped and out-scored the flat-footed, offensively challenged Bulls. There was no chance that Chicago could contain the electrifying back court of Wall and Bradley Beal, who had their way against the over-matched Bulls back court.
And what about their supposed lack of playoff experience? The Wizards’ starting front court of Trevor Ariza, Nene and Marcin Grotat have plenty of playoff experience under their belts, and it showed against the Bulls. Joakim Noah, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, looked just plain ordinary against Nene, who played the best playoff basketball of his career.
In the end, the Wizards were destined to get passed the Bulls and into the second round of the playoffs. The road to the Eastern Conference Finals could actually get easier for Washington if the Atlanta Hawks pull of their first-round upset over the Indiana Pacers. The Hawks are young and talented, but the Wizards’ front court will manhandle them easily, and the Pacers are now just a shell of their once dominant selves.
So join me in welcoming the Wizards to the second round of the playoffs. This team earned it.
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