October 9, 2015

Washington Wizards Game 36 Review: Wall leads Wizards over Bulls, Rose


The Washington Wizards defeated the Chicago Bulls, 102-86, Friday night at the Verizon Center in Washington, as John Wall finally beat Derrick Rose head-to-head. Wall, now 1-5 when he and Rose are in the lineups against each other, scored 16 points and dished out 12 assists.

Rose finished with 19 points — and the loss.

The Wizards (25-11) have won five of their last seven games against Chicago dating back to last season, including the Wizards’ first round playoff series victory. The win moves the Wiz past Chicago in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Wizards jumped out to a 30-10 first quarter lead as the Bulls started the game shooting 4-for-24 from the floor. It led to Chicago’s season-low for first quarter points with 13.

“I thought the first half, on both ends of the floor, was really good,” coach Randy Wittman said. “We came out focused defensively which we have to do. That’s our calling card and when we hold teams under 100, I think we’re 20-1 now, this being the one team that beat us the last time they were in here. I thought they came out; our guys came out tonight, both offensively and defensively.”

The Wizards never relinquished their lead. The Bulls got to within eight in the fourth quarter, but the Wizards were able to stave off the rally.

The Wizards have won three straight, while the Bulls have lost back-to-back games.

The game was expected to be chippy due to the bad blood from last year’s first round playoff series. That chippiness was displayed when Aaron Brooks knocked down Wall in the fourth quarter on a long pass.

That was not the only place physical play showed, as Wizards big men Marcin Gortat and Nene pushed around Bulls bigs Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol all night.

“The NBA is about people having big tempers and egos,” center Marcin Gortat said. “Me and Nene we definitely got egos and tempers. We’re definitely not going to let anybody come in here and punk us like that. They did one time and we didn’t like that. We were ready for this game.”

Gortat wasn’t the only one that noticed the physicality.

“They were definitely more physical than us,” Chicago center Joakim Noah said. “They moved the ball better than us. They executed better than us. They just played a better all-around game.”

Bradley Beal, who registered 17 points, four assists and two rebounds, concurred. “Our biggest key was to make sure we played physical, and to make sure we hit [Pau] Gasol and [Joakim] Noah whenever possible, just to get them uncomfortable. I think our bigs did a tremendous job of guarding them, and making them put the ball on the floor and take tough shots. We definitely have to tip our hat off to our bigs.”

Gortat scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Wizards. Nene recorded his first double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Brooks added 16 points for Chicago.

Washington Wizards Game 27 Review: Rose, Bulls knock off Wiz at home

In a premier point guard matchup between the Washington Wizards’ John Wall and the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose, Rose scored 25 as the Bulls defeated the Wizards, 99-91, Tuesday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. Wall led four starters that scored in double-digits with 18, while Pau Gasol contributed 18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks to the Bulls’ winning effort.

Washington is now 19-8 overall, including a 13-4 record at Verizon Center this season.

“You know it just didn’t feel like we got in any kind of rhythm offensively all game,” coach Randy Wittman said. “The comfort level of getting in a rhythm. At the start the game especially, we got off, missed a lot of good shots, missed some layups and again I thought in the first half the 50-50 balls killed us again.”

The Wizards last held the lead at 20-18 just before the end of the first quarter, but it was almost all Chicago after that. When Rose stretched the Bulls’ lead out to 86-75 with 6:22 left in the game, it ignited a 12-0 Wizards run — keyed by 10 points by Wall. It was the Wizards’ last lead at 87-86 with 3:44 left in the game before the Bulls put them away for good with an 8-0 run.

“I just don’t think we could get over the hump as a team,” center Marcin Gortat said. “I had a lot of shots but most of them were tip-ins and put-backs. I’ve been missing a lot of shots on the outside. It just was not a good game overall for everybody. We were pretty close, we had decent defense but we just could not get over the hump.”

Gortat had his 10th double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The win was the Bulls’ fourth straight. The win also made Rose 5-0 head-to-head against Wall. This is the first time this season the Wizards have lost two straight at home.

Washington Wizards Game 4 Recap: Ariza’s 30 Helps Wiz to 3-1 Series Lead Over Bulls

As thousands in the Verizon Center chanted “Free Nene” in honor of their suspended forward, Trevor Ariza carried much of the weight in the Washington Wizards’ commanding 98-89 win over the Chicago Bulls Sunday afternoon.

Ariza recorded a career playoff-high 30 points, completing six of 10 three-pointers, while Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and John Wall added 18, 17 and 15 points, respectively.

As Nene served his one-game suspension for grabbing Jimmy Butler’s head in an argument during the Wizards’ Game 3 loss, the Wizards looked to get an early jump on the Bulls in Game 4 to erase any doubts of their ability to carry onward.

They did exactly that – tallying the first 14 points of the game before Chicago could respond.

“Well, we were locked in,” said Wizards head coach Randy Wittman after the game. “I could tell our focus was back yesterday, even with the news of Nene when it came of being suspended. I saw our guys bond together like ‘That’s okay, big fella’s not going to be here, but that’s okay.’ We were in tune right from the start. Extra passes and simple plays, those are the things these guys are going to get tired of hearing me say. They probably can’t wait until this series is over because those are the things I’ve used with them in this series. Make the simple play. Make the easy play and we did that at the start of the game. We got a lot of different guys scoring and when we move the ball like we talked about in Game 3 at the third quarter where we stopped – the ball stopped and people stopped. We can’t play that way and we didn’t fall into that tonight.”

Perhaps even more, Washington enjoyed a tremendous advantage from behind the arc – going 8-for-19 compared to the Bulls’ 4-for-19.

Chicago power forward Taj Gibson did his best to keep his team in the mix, posting 32 points in 32 minutes on the floor, while adding seven rebounds. But, only Butler and Joakim Noah rounded out the Bulls’ double-digit-points club on the night.

The Bulls actually shot with greater efficiency – making 35 of 78 field goals to reach a 44.9 shooting percentage, compared to the Wizards’ 40.7 percent. But, they lacked execution from Game 3 star Mike Dunleavy, as well as Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich.

As has been the case throughout much of the series, the Wizards seemed on pace to run into foul trouble as four players recorded two fouls apiece before the start of halftime. They settled down, however, despite Trevor Booker earning a technical foul from the bench.

Washington cruised to a 28-18 lead to end the first quarter, but the Bulls regained some ground to pull within four points with 7:09 remaining until halftime. From there, Wall sank a jumper before Beal went back-to-back for a combined five points. Gortat rounded out the miniature run with a jumper that put the Wizards back in front by 13 points.

In fact, for the final 3:32 of the half, the game very much consisted of Gibson versus the Wizards. Only Gibson posted baskets for the Bulls – three, to be exact – while the Wizards added another 10 points to their total in the same time frame.

Just as they did in the second quarter, the Wizards outscored the Bulls 27-22 in the third.

In the fourth, the Bulls jumped on a 16-7 run, sparked by early baskets from Gibson and Tony Snell. But, the game ended much as it begun – with powerful drives from Gortat, Ariza and Beal – to hand the Bulls their 98-89 loss.

“I know a lot of people probably doubted us,” Beal said. “We did a great job coming out and focusing in. It started with our defense like [John Wall] said. Once we got out to that 14-0 run at the beginning of the game, we just took off from there. Yeah, [the Bulls] went on that run, but I think we did a great job of staying poised the rest of the game.”

“In two and a half years, we’ve grown and developed those intangibles, you talk about, not just the skill level, but playing the game the right way, doing the right things off the floor as well as on the floor, being professional, as I like to call it,” Wittman said. “I think now these guys are just playing basketball, they understand that this is a job. Playing games like this helps that. Like I said, we haven’t done anything yet. We’ve put ourselves in a position to do something but we have yet to do anything.”

Worth noting is that the Washington Wizards franchise boasts a 5-0 record in closing out a best-of-seven playoff series after taking a 3-1 lead. This record has held true through 1971, 1975, 1978 (twice) and 1979.

Washington Wizards Game 2 Recap: Wiz Narrowly Edge Bulls to Take 2-0 Series Lead

After charging out of the gates in Game 1, the Washington Wizards clawed back from a sloppy second half to top the Chicago Bulls 101-99 Tuesday night in an overtime contest littered with sloppy mistakes, questionable foul calls and missed free baskets.

But, just as it appeared Game 2 had all but slipped from the Wizards’ grasp, Nene once again emerged from the dust, this time to help undo the damage of the third and fourth quarters.

Early in the night, it appeared the Wizards were on pace to shut down the Bulls from start to finish. On the backs of Bradley Beal and John Wall, Washington leaped to a swift 17-point lead before the close of the first quarter. By evening’s end, Beal recorded 26 points and Wall added another 16 to Washington’s efforts.

But the earliest signs of a moment change surfaced in the final 1:41 of the first, when D.J. Augustin began to pester Washington, posting a quick eight points to pull Chicago within 11.

The Bulls outscored the Wizards in the second quarter, 29-25. Along with Joakim Noah, Augustin continued to hurt Washington. Perhaps more importantly, the Bulls accomplished something the Wizards struggled with throughout the night — they made their free throws.

Washington fell asleep in the third quarter, posting just 14 points to compete with the Bulls’ 26. Worse yet, the Wizards quickly found themselves in foul trouble with their backs against the wall.

Yet, somehow, Nene fueled Washington’s resurgence in the five extra minutes of basketball. He opened overtime with a two-point shot before slamming one in to put the Wizards up 95-91 with 3:24 remaining.

At long last, the Wizards sank their free throws to remain in front. As irony would have it, with Kirk Hinrich at the line, the Bulls found themselves a pair of missed free throws away from catching Washington. Instead, the Wizards held on to win it, marking the first time since 1982 that Washington has led a playoff series 2-0.

Washington Wizards Game 1 Recap: Wiz come back to beat Bulls on road

Behind 24 points from Nene and some timely veteran presence from backup point guard Andre Miller, the Washington Wizards came back from a 13-point third quarter deficit to beat the Chicago Bulls in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals matchup 102-93.

The Wizards outscored Chicago 30-18 in the fourth quarter.

Nene was a force all game, dominating in the paint and drilling medium range jumpers with equal ease. He grabbed eight boards and handed out three assists to lead the Wizards in every sense of the word.

Miller was outstanding in a reserve role. He entered in the third quarter while the Wizards were facing some of their deepest deficits and jump-started the comeback, slashing through the lane for a couple of easy layups and completely shutting down Bulls PG D.J. Augustine. Miller finished with 10 points in 13 minutes.

Trevor Ariza added 18 points and John Wall chipped in with 16. Wall was just 4-of-14 from the floor and Bradley Beal, who finished with 13 points, went 3-of-11. Marcin Gortat has 13 rebounds to go with 15 points.

Augustine and Kirk Hinrichs finished with 16 points apiece to pace Chicago.

The Wizards, ranked 25th in the league in free throw shooting, went to the line 35 times and made 26 but made all 12 of their fourth-quarter attempts. They were 12-for-19 in the first half.

Game 2 is Tuesday in Chicago at 9:35 pm ET.

Washington Wizards Game 82 Recap: Wizards Rout Celtics to Clinch No. 5 Seed in East

Photo tweeted by @DrewGooden with the caption "Headed back DC! Let's get it!!"

Photo tweeted by @DrewGooden with the caption “Headed back DC! Let’s get it!!”

Bradley Beal scored 27 points and all five of the Washington Wizards’ starters reached double-digit scoring as the Wiz Kids topped the Boston Celtics 118-102 at TD Garden Wednesday night.

With the win, the Wizards finish the regular season six games above .500 and secure the Eastern Conference’s No. 5 seed. Washington will take on the Chicago Bulls in their first playoff appearance since 2008.

At the end of the first quarter, it was clear Washington was going to run with the lead. John Wall tallied 13 of the Wizards’ 38 points in the first 12 minutes of play, and the team played like a cohesive unit counting down the days to the postseason.

The Celtics nearly matched the Wizards’ efforts in the second quarter as Chris Johnson and Jeff Green helped the team to a quick 11-3 run. With roughly six minutes left in the half, Nene and Beal hit a three each to keep the Celtics at bay and Washington took advantage of free baskets to end the half up 68-56.

The third proved a slower quarter for both teams. Washington went nearly two and a half minutes before sinking a basket and, in that time frame, Boston pulled within four points.

But, at last, it was the Wizards’ night to celebrate the end of the regular season, knowing there is still basketball left to be played.

In the final five minutes of play, Washington went on an offensive drive, shutting down the Celtics to regain a 16-point lead to end of the quarter.

Beal had a field day in the fourth, posting 12 points to help the Wizards write off the season with a 118-102 win.

The Wizards will first face the No. 4 Chicago Bulls (44-34) on the road on Easter Sunday, April 20, at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Game two will take place in Chicago on Tuesday, April 22 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

And, the Washington Wizards will return home Friday, April 28, to take on the Bulls in an ESPN primetime game at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Game four is slated for Sunday, April 27 at 1:00 p.m.

If necessary, game five will take place in Chicago on Tuesday, April 29; game six will take place in Washington on Thursday, May 1, and Game seven will send the two teams back to Chicago for a sudden-death matchup on Saturday, May 3.

Washington Wizards Game 36 Recap: Road luck continues as Wall, Nene lead Wiz in Win over Bulls

Following two tough losses, the Washington Wizards reached .500 on the road with a 102-88 win over the Chicago Bulls Monday night.

John Wall and Nene each posted 19 points for the Wizards, as Wall added seven rebounds and five assists the effort. All but Trevor Booker and Marcin Gortat reached double-digit points before day’s end and Gortat came up big with 11 rebounds on the night.

All in all, it was a well-rounded effort. Washington moved the ball well with 25 total assists. They outpaced the Bulls and stayed in front from the get-go, never appearing to run out of gas as they had in recent matchups.

Just three and a half minutes into the second quarter, the Wizards carried a 36-21 lead thanks, in part, to a series of missed jumpers and bad passes by Chicago.

The Bulls bounced back a bit, trimming the lead to as few as six points on a Carlos Boozer jumper minutes later. But, with four and a half minutes remaining in the half, Trevor Ariza sank back-to-back threes to put Washington up by double-digit points once more.

Wall came through with four free throws and a layup, and Ariza added another free basket to help carry the Wizards to a 56-43 lead at the half.

The Bulls outscored the Wizards 25-22 in the third quarter, which featured nine of Boozer’s 19 points on the night. Taj Gibson’s shot with three seconds to go narrowed Washington’s lead to 75-68, but Garrett Temple quickly answered with a 30-foot shot at the buzzer. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 74 Wrap: Wall’s 27 points power Wizards to eighth straight home win

The Washington Wizards (28-46) may have their sights set on ninth place in the East, but John Wall played as though the Wiz Kids were vying for a playoff spot in the team’s 90-86 win over the Chicago Bulls (40-33) at the Verizon Center. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 42: Okafor, Nene deliver in Wizards’ fifth straight win at home

The Washington Wizards (11-31) cruised to an 86-73 victory over the Chicago Bulls (26-17) at the Verizon Center Saturday night, marking the first time since January 2008 that Washington has celebrated five straight wins at home.

The game lacked the dazzling plays and late-quarter dramatics that many of the Wizards’ seven wins in the past 10 games featured. The crowd – which represented the Wizards’ third sellout this season – rose to its feet primarily for giveaways and Jumbotron opportunities until the game’s final minutes.

But, the Wizards did exactly what they needed to in order to beat the Bulls at home for the first time since Feb. 22, 2010.

They spread the ball and – more importantly – they shared the wealth. By the end of the night, three of the Wizards’ starters – Emeka Okafor, Nene and John Wall – tallied double-digit points. Okafor added 16 boards to round out his ninth double-double of the season. Even more, while Wall – along with Bradley Beal and Kevin Seraphin – struggled to sink mid-range jumpers, the Wizards scored 48 points in the paint – nearly 15 points higher than their average this season. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 42 Postgame Audio: Nene “We Going To Shut Up People Mouth”

WASHINGTON–The Washington Wizards won their fifth straight home game for the first time since 2008 as they defeat the Chicago Bulls 86-73.  The Wizards have won seven of their last ten, largely because for the first time this season they’re fully healthy, and forward Nene had some words for all the early critics out there.

“I remember like in the beginning everybody say we sucks…now we going to shut up people mouth, that’s what we going to do.”

And they’re doing it as they defeat another likely playoff bound team.  This time it was done by defense as they held the Bulls to only 29 second half points.

“Couldn’t be any more proud of these guys,”  Head Coach Randy Wittman said about the defense.  “These guys defensively tonight were in tune. That’s what won the game.”

Wittman said he switched something defensively at the half, but wouldn’t divulge what. [Read more…]

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