With the Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks all picking up wins on the first day of the NBA Playoffs away from home, the Washington Wizards will look to continue the recent success on the road tonight in Chicago.
Tonight’s game will tip off at 7:00 PM from the United Center. It will be broadcasted on TNT.
- Washington beat Chicago two out of the three times the teams met during the regular season.
- Nene will return to the starting lineup for Washington tonight, replacing Trevor Booker.
- The Bulls have the highest defensive rating in the NBA, but they’re bottom five in terms of offensive. We have seen teams that struggle scoring the ball ultimately have a tough time winning in the playoffs. Will that continue tonight for Chicago?
- We previewed the series with two Chicago Bulls writers. How do they think the match up will play out?
- John Wall has averaged about 20 points and 8 assists against the Bulls during the regular season. Chicago has typically taken away the three point shot away from their opponent, and after considering how much the Wizards rely on the outside shot, Wall has to remain aggressive. He can’t settle for shots during the playoffs.
Key Match Up:
It’s no secret that Joakim Noah has been one of the best big men in the NBA, and even when it looked like the Chicago Bulls would slip in the standings, the team rallied around him and finished with home court advantage in the first round.
Marcin Gortat struggled to defend Noah the last time the two teams met, but Washington did get two wins over Chicago during the regular season with Nene in the lineup. Now that Nene is back, I’d expect him to end up guarding Noah, especially out on the perimeter.
Nene has never been the greatest rebounder, but Washington is a better rebounding team with him on the court, so the Wizards have to take care of the defensive glass. Giving up extra possessions by not securing defensive rebounds are a killer, especially in the NBA Playoffs where virtually every possession counts.
Gortat has to remain aggressive on the offensive side of the floor, since Chicago has a tendency for taking away the three point shot from the opposing team. If the Wizards fail to knock down their shots from the outside, Gortat and Nene will be called upon for offense in the post, and they have to deliver. Of course, the majority of Washington’s offense will still come from John Wall and Bradley Beal, but Nene and Gortat must find a way to match the intensity of Noah and Carlos Boozer. After all, Noah has carried Chicago and the outcome of the entire series may be determined by the front court players.