Wizards 101 – Bulls 99 (ot)
April 22, 2014
United Center, Chicago, IL
Shocked in ChiTown
In what’s the first playoff appearance for the Washington Wizards in six years, it appears as though all fans will need to stock up on their Jack Daniels, Fireball and Xanax for the rest of the Wizards’ time in the postseason.
The Wizards came out hot by taking advantage of Chicago’s inability to score and going on a quick 7-0 run. They practically owned the first half of Game 2, and things were looking pretty good on #WizardsTwitter.
Then the dreaded 3rd and 4th quarter came.
An offensive meltdown similar to the one they faced in Game 1 plagued the Wizards, as Chicago was able to slow the game down to their tempo and take care of business on both ends of the court. Once down by 17, the Bulls reversed course and took a lead that neared and finally met double digits.
Things were beginning to look bleak until one Bradley Beal warmed up again and sunk some crucial shots to tie the game up for the Wizards. He then had a great opportunity to seal the game, but some great defense and a poorly drawn play sent this game into overtime on a work night.
Yes. Overtime. The dreaded overtime that the Wizards can never seem to pull themselves out of. But this time, folks, the Wizards proved themselves to be real.
Fresh off a hot Game 1 and a questionably quiet regulation performance in Game 2, Nene sunk three buckets to give the Wizards a six point lead early in overtime. Life was looking good.
Then the Bulls found a way to claw back thanks to a poor decision by John Wall on an offensive foul and an even worse flop by D.J. Augustin to draw the call.
With the ball in Kirk Hinrich’s hands with seconds to play, he ended up drawing the foul (which wasn’t actually a foul, we’ll discuss later) to go to the line with a chance to tie it up.
Thankfully, the ball don’t lie, and now the Washington Wizards are up 2-0 headed back to Washington D.C. to hopefully close this series out. `
Bradley Beal – 26 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Bradley Beal, after having a slow and jittery first game in the playoffs on Sunday night, came out balling against the Bulls last night. Throughout the first half, John Wall and Beal combined for almost half of the Wizards points.
Beal then seemed to slip into oblivion in the second half until his time was called. Late in the 4th, he sunk some huge shots that kept the Wizards in the game and eventually sent them into overtime after being down for a good portion of the second half.
While he did not sink the dagger jumpshot at the end of regulation, nor did he have much to do in overtime, Beal still wins the MVP as it appears he finally has his groove back and one can only hope this continues into game three at the Verizon Center.
A forgettable night for:
I hate to blame the outcome of a game on the referees because it’s often an issue on big calls that alter a game; however, the general consensus of not only #WizardsTwitter, but #BullsTwitter as well, is that the refereeing in this game was absolutely terrible.
The league should be embarrassed at the multitude of missed, blown and glaringly terrible calls throughout this game. The most worst of them all is when there was a wet spot on the floor and Beal and Jimmy Butler dove to the ground. Butler was on top of Beal fighting for the ball, and while it was still loose, Crawford calls a foul on Beal.
Or maybe the final call on Nene as he went straight up against Hinrich and got hit with the foul that sent him to the bench for the rest of the game?
These are the playoffs, and the same calls that are made during the season are not made in the postseason, so maybe Wizards fans are just not used to this style of officiating, right?
Wrong—if you need any support for these statements, just check out this Vine.
Key stat of the game:
I didn’t have to change the key stat of the game from the past two saved templates I have. I don’t know what these players have to do, but something has to be done about this abysmal free throw shooting.
I’ll say it again- these are the playoffs; most games are going to come down the line. The Wizards would have been better off tonight just taking the ball from the sideline and running another play rather than going to the line.
With the physicality of this series only increasing as the minutes go by, the Wizards have to get their act together at the line. I’m literally at a loss for words on what else to say about this.
But thankfully, when it came down to crunch time, the Wizards began to sink their free throws in overtime. However, the fact still remains that overtime wouldn’t have been needed if they would’ve sealed the deal from the line to begin with.
The Wizards get a nice two days off before they come back to Washington on Friday night for Game 3 at the Phone Booth. Those two days are going to be much needed after the absurd physicality of this game.
With the first playoff game in the Phone Booth in six years coming upon us, look for this Wizards team to be extra hyped up. This could pose some issues as they’ve often come out too excited and dug themselves a bit of a hole.
The Wizards are also going to have to find an answer for D.J. Augustin who just torched the Washington defense last night. They also need to find a way to get Nene more active with the switch-up of the Bulls putting Boozer on Nene instead of Noah. This may come down to Gortat having a big game, but the Wizards need to get the big men involved again to have success in game three.