The Washington Wizards weren’t expected to make much noise in the NBA Playoffs, but after picking up a road win in Chicago on the opening day of the series, the Wizards showed that they’re certainly capable of pulling off an upset.
They’ll continue the series tonight in Chicago from the United Center. The game will be broadcasted on TNT at 9:30 PM EST.
- Nene scored 24 points against the Defensive Player of the Year, Joakim Noah in game 1. Washington’s front court thoroughly outplayed Chicago’s big men, but look for Noah to be more aggressive on the offensive side of the floor. He finished with just 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Marcin Gortat put up 15 points to go along side 13 rebounds.
- John Wall and Bradley Beal both struggled in game 1, making just 7 of their 25 combined attempts from the field. While Washington’s frontcourt played well, their backcourt has to step up, especially since they have a significant advantage over their defenders. Now that their playoff jitters are over, I’d expect them to play better in game 2.
- Nene played 35 minutes on Sunday night. He’s still on a minutes restriction and I wouldn’t be surprised if Drew Gooden or Al Harrington get a chance from Randy Wittman.
Key Match Up:
John Wall and Bradley Beal have been taking what the defense gives them, and after seeing Wall’s postgame comments, it wouldn’t surprise me if they continue to do so in game 2: “I credit me and Brad with not forcing issues. We took shots, they just didn’t fall.”
Wall scored just 16 points, while Bradley Beal struggled to get quality shots off against Chicago’s elite defense. Luckily for both, Andre Miller and Martell Webster both had their moments in the game, and though Wall and Beal’s bad performances didn’t end up affecting the outcome of the game, they have to do a better job in game 2.
John Wall has to attack Kirk Hinrich, force the Bulls to collapse, which will eventually open up shots from the perimeter for guys like Beal and Trevor Ariza. Wall can’t look to pass on every drive because the Bulls are too good defensively and won’t allow easy looks from the outside. John Wall is at his best when he’s attacking the basket aggressively and he has to do that against Kirk Hinrich, who’ll definitely have trouble staying in front of him.
Game 2 will essentially be a ‘must win’ for Chicago, given their loss at home on Sunday, so John Wall has to give it all he has. He can’t be a spectator, especially since Washington’s offense is so dependent on him.
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