Apr 29, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) and Washington Wizards forward Martell Webster (9) battle for a loose ball during the second half in game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at United Center. The Wizards won 75-69 and won the series 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Throughout the course of the series between the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls, Ronald Agers (editor of FanSided’s Pippen Ain’t Easy) and I broke down each game in Q&A form, so now that the series is over, we took some time to reflect.
– Wiz of Awes: Ron, the series is over and the Washington Wizards have prevailed over the Chicago Bulls, which was a surprising outcome to the majority of NBA fans. Now that it’s over, reflect on the series and why the Bulls weren’t able to carry their regular season momentum over to the NBA Playoffs.
Ron Agers: There was many an argument about what the Bulls needed to do to win this series. There are many players that could be blamed for this loss. But when you get right down to it, the series came down to coaching. Randy Wittman gave Tom Thibodeau a coaching lesson in this series. Randy Wittman was the mastermind behind this series. He can’t get enough credit for the moves that he made staying not one but five, maybe six steps ahead of Thibodeau. He had a plan for Augustin and implemented it. We’re still looking for the looks Augustin got in the regular season because after Game 2 we couldn’t find any for the rest of the series. Wittman made Thibodeau look very lazy and unprepared.
The Bulls success did not carry over because they thought they could depend on their defense and wing it on offense. That was never going to fly because as you said Ben, the Wizards have a top ten defense. Thibodeau did absolutely nothing but hope and pray that someone could get hot and the defense would do the rest. Unfortunately for the Bulls, you don’t cover the Milwaukee Bucks or the Orlando Magic where this strategy would work.
– As expected, John Wall and Bradley Beal took advantage of Chicago’s guards right from the beginning of the series. Surprisingly so, Washington’s bigs, more specifically Nene and Marcin Gortat, severely outplayed Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. Why did that match up play out the way it did?
They never matched up well with Nene in the lineup. You pointed that out to your readers. The Bulls have lost all of the games when Nene was in the lineup. You know, I heard this analysis about the Nene matchup. Sometimes you don’t want to face a player that is similar to you. Nene moves just as well as Noah. He is stronger and willing to bang with Noah. Noah was the matchup that killed the Bulls. Carlos Boozer was never in danger of stopping Gortat. Boozer lacks the size to deal with Gortat, as you could see in the last two minutes when Gortat had three consecutive offensive rebounds. The only thing Nene did wrong in this series was get tossed in Game 3.
Let me say this and I want the readers to understand this. Joakim Noah really got outclassed in a way that he needs to understand going forward in his career. He embarrassed himself getting smoked like a pack of Kools in Chicago on the floor. Then he goes to D.C. and embarrasses himself OFF the floor fighting with the security manager and then laughing in the press conference mouthing “Roid Rage” after Nene got tossed. Nene smashed that Defensive Player of the Year trophy over Noah’s head and whipped him with it throughout the series. The defining moment of this matchup was when Nene hit a jumper in Noah’s eye in the final game and was yelling whoooo going back down the floor. Noah just shook his head because he knew Nene wasn’t going to be stopped.
– What could the Bulls have done differently to prevent a first round exit to a lower seeded Wizards team?
Used their bench. I called Ronnie Brewer, Lou Amundson, Jimmer Fredette and Mike James the Chairmen of the Bench. The Bulls were DEAD tired in Game 5. It was so sad. Now Joakim Noah is going to have a MRI because of bad knees. Jimmy Butler averaged more minutes than a full game. I mean, really? Plus the Chicago Bulls came into a series with the most predictable offense in NBA playoff history. I mean, even the Wizards knew what was coming half of the time. In honor of the Chairmen of the Bench I have a song for them because you never saw them…The Chairmen actually have a song…
Oh we are the Chairmen. We want to join the show. Thibs don’t like us. So now we have to gooooo.
– And finally, give us your thoughts on both teams and their future ahead.
The Washington Wizards are on their way to the Eastern Conference finals this year. I think that’s going to happen. For the future, IF the young guns John Wall and Bradley Beal stay healthy and don’t start believing the hype. They will be the best backcourt for the next five years. They have to keep working on their games though. The Wizards don’t want to be like that Washington squad with Chris Webber, Juwan Howard and Rod Strickland. A team with potential that stopped working to get better.
As for the Bulls, they are on the decline. Chicago has all their eggs in one basket waiting on Derrick Rose. With two knee injuries in two to three years, he’s not the same, period. But the Bulls have put so much wear and tear on their players, I don’t see them as contenders. I don’t see players dealing with Thibodeau’s marathon play schedule next year either.
I want to thank Ron Agers for helping to contribute on the site. Please check out Pippen Ain’t Easy, FanSided’s Chicago Bulls website.