May 20, 2022

Wizards vs Bulls Game 3 Preview: 5 Keys to Victory for Washington

On Friday night at 8 PM EST in the Verizon Center, the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls will add a third chapter to their highly contested Eastern Conference Playoffs series.

This past Tuesday night, it took some late game heroics from young Bradley Beal to bring the Wizards to victory. Now up 2-0 in a playoff series for the first time since 1982, Washington has a chance to take a stranglehold on this series. If they want to do just that, here are their five keys to victory.

Key Number 1: Fast Start

The Wizards raced out to a 17-point lead on Tuesday night in Chicago and immediately took the hometown crowd out of it. This will be the first time since 2008 that D.C. has hosted an NBA playoff game, so you know the “Phone Booth” will be wild and crazy. A fast start will keep the crowd into the game and make things that much harder on the Bulls.

Key Number 2: Three-Point Shooting

If Game 3 comes down to which team shoots the three better, then Washington can win the game handily. In their explosive start to Game 2, they shot 5-of-8 from behind the arc. The Wizards made nine threes, including four from Beal, in their overtime win on Tuesday night. If they can continue to shoot well from downtown, they’ll take care of business.

Key Number 3: Make The Free Ones

After shooting 74 percent from the free throw line in Game 1, Washington managed just 57 percent in Game 2. Had they made their free throws in the second half, Tuesday’s would have never gone to overtime. If the Wizards can make the freebies, they should have no problem taking Game 3.

Key Number 4: Front-Court Play

After combining for 39 points and 21 rebounds in Game 1, the front-court duo of Nene and Marcin Gortat contributed just 24 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2. Luckily for Washington, the guard play was much improved and they picked up the slack. Nene played well in the first quarter and overtime of Game 2, but Washington will need him playing like he did in Game 1 for them to have their best shot at winning.

Key Number 5: Guard Play

Note that that doesn’t say back-court play, but rather guard play. More specifically, this is referring to John Wall and Beal. While they totaled 29 points in Game 1, Game 2 saw them pour in 44 points. As mentioned in key number four, the front-court struggled, but that back-court picked up the slack. If Beal and Wall can duplicate their Game 2 efforts Friday night, Washington should take care of business.

With a win on Friday night, the Wizards will have a chance to sweep Chicago out of the playoffs at home in Game 4. If they can take care of these five keys, then Sunday night’s game will be an exciting one for D.C as they’ll try to win their first playoff series since 2005.

About Brian Skinnell

Brian Skinnell is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Nationals and college football. He is a born-and-raised follower of Washington, D.C. sports, “The” Ohio State Buckeyes and auto racing. A graduate of Shepherd University in December of 2014, he has a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a Concentration in Sports Communications. Prior to joining District Sports Page (for his second stint), he spent time with Rant Sports, Yahoo Sports and the Washington Redskins. For his day job, he is an Editor for Team Velocity Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Skinnell.

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