For a team that has trouble scoring the ball, the Chicago Bulls certainly did a good job at competing offensively tonight. Led by John Wall, the Wizards sneaked past the scrappy Bulls, 96-93, reaching .500 for the third time this season. Here are the Bullet Points:
- The Bulls are one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA, ranking 29th in points per game, but their guards really stepped up offensively tonight. D.J. Augustin chipped in 16 points in just 20 minutes of action off the bench, while former Wizard Kirk Hinrich added 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Washington didn’t play great defense tonight, but I’m sure the Wizards lived with some of the shots Chicago made. Overall, the Wizards did a good job at keeping their composure after it looked like they’d continue trading baskets with Chicago’s guards.
- Nene scored 19 points in each of the last two games, including Monday’s game against the Bulls, but Chicago did a really good job at keeping him away from the paint tonight. Nene finished the game with 10 points on just 3 of 15 shooting, but he did come up with a key defensive stop on Chicago’s final possession of the game. Jimmy Butler went up for a game tying 3-pointer, but it was met with Nene who rejected the shot. Chicago is the second best defensive team in the NBA and it definitely showed tonight, especially against Nene.
- Trevor Ariza, who’s dealing with the flu, scored just 4 points tonight in 33 minutes of action. Although he had a quiet game, he did hit a pull-up jump shot in the fourth quarter that helped put the Wizards over the Bulls. He did add 8 rebounds, but it wasn’t a spectacular night for Ariza. We’ll give him a pass, since he’s dealing with the flu.
- Even though Ariza had a bad game, Martell Webster picked up the slack off the bench. Webster scored 14 points off the bench and knocked down 4 of his 5 three point attempts. Webster has played much better with the starters, and with Bradley Beal getting in foul trouble early, he was able to benefit from playing along side John Wall right out of the gate. Webster knocked down a few threes that put the Wizards ahead of the Bulls and it really helped swing the momentum. The NBA should seriously consider putting Webster in the 3-point contest this year.
- Randy Wittman decided to play more than 8 players tonight, but no one besides Garrett Temple and Trevor Booker made much of an impact off the bench. Booker added 12 points and 7 rebounds, while Temple scored 6 points to go along side 5 assists in 14 solid minutes of basketball. Booker has become Washington’s motor, especially off the bench, and I have no doubt that the Wizards will seriously consider bringing him back next season. He always finds a way to grab an impossible rebound and he’s picked up his defensive play as of late. Temple has also done the little things which help win games, but often go unnoticed. I was impressed by both of them tonight.
- John Wall had another terrific game tonight, scoring 23 points and dishing out 11 assists. Wall had a very efficient offensive game, making 9 of his 15 shot attempts from the floor. Whenever the Wizards needed a bucket, John Wall found a way to score the ball. There was a point where the Wizards were down by 8 in the third quarter, but John Wall led the Wizards on a terrific comeback, starting with the most ridiculous layup I’ve ever seen. Tom Thibodeau praised Wall before the game, noting his improved pace and ability to control the game. Wall has done a terrific job at managing games this season and there’s no doubt that he’s been the best point guard in the Eastern Conference this season.
Washington won’t have time to rest, as they’ll be back at it tomorrow night against the Detroit Pistons.
The Wizards have all the momentum on their side, so it’s important that they string together a few wins while they’re at home. For the third time this season, the Wizards find themselves at .500 with a chance to finally get over the hump. They’ve shown that they could compete against elite-defensive teams this season and their confidence seems to be at an all-time high. Let’s hope they continue playing at this level for the rest of the homestand.