WALL, GORTAT AND NENE ALL REGISTER DOUBLE-DOUBLES IN WIN
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.