After dropping two straight games, the Wizards came into Chicago trying to play spoiler to the Bulls, who had a chance to reach .500 for the first time since November. Led by John Wall and Nene, the Wizards got off to a great start right out of the gate and eventually went on to coast to a 102-88 road win. Here are the Bullet Points:
- Randy Wittman decided to start Nene instead of Trevor Booker tonight, and needless to say, his rotation move payed off for the Wizards. Nene finished the game with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, but more importantly, he looked more explosive tonight than he’s ever looked since being traded to Washington a few seasons ago. The Wizards ran their offense through Nene every time they got the chance and the Bulls had trouble containing him on the offensive side of the floor. Once he knocked down a few shots from the elbow area, he mixed it up inside and even dunked the ball 3 or 4 times, which we definitely haven’t been seeing from Nene. He’s been dealing with foot issues over the past few seasons, but it didn’t seem to affect him at all tonight. Nene also played 36 minutes tonight, which makes me believe that he’s off his minutes restriction. He’s tonight’s MVP for the Wizards.
- Trevor Ariza has consistently been good for the Wizards this season, but he’s put up some big numbers without making too much noise. He scored a quiet 16 points to go with 9 rebounds and 4 assists, but he also knocked down a few crucial 3-point shots which helped put the Wizards up over Chicago.
- Speaking of quiet games, Marcin Gortat helped contain Joakim Noah to just 8 points. He also scored 7 of his own points with 11 rebounds. Washington held Chicago to just 43 percent shooting from the field and Gortat really anchored their interior defense. Gortat has been up and down this season, but the Wizards couldn’t ask much more of him tonight. I thought he looked very solid against Noah and Carlos Boozer.
- John Wall played another terrific “floor general” game tonight. He didn’t do anything out of the ordinary and simply played his game. He scored 19 points and dished out 7 assists. Wall has a tendency to force the issue at times, but I thought he did a really good job at managing the game. He mixed it up offensively with penetration and perimeter shots. Very solid game from Wall.
- Wittman decided to shorten his rotation tonight, playing just 3 players off the bench. Martell Webster, Garrett Temple, and Trevor Booker all had solid games, combining for 28 points. Webster knocked down some key shots in the first half after struggling a bit over the past several games. Temple also scored 10 points in 13 minutes, which was pretty unexpected. Overall a good game from the 3 reserves.
Washington has been playing some really good basketball against teams below .500 and it continued tonight against the Bulls. They shot over 50% against a top-3 defensive team, and although the Bulls aren’t as talented as the Wizards on paper, it wasn’t an easy win by any means. The Wizards got contributions from some unlikely suspects and it certainly helped them get the ‘W’ tonight.
They’ll be back at it on Wednesday night against the Miami Heat before meeting the Chicago Bulls again on Friday. Great win to start off the week for Washington.