The coaching staff for the Washington Wizards did an excellent job of scouting and analyzing the ways to beat the Chicago Bulls, coming up with a 101-99 win in overtime which wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Bradley Beal igniting in the fourth quarter with no one able to stop him, while Kirk Hinrich missed two free throws at the end of the game that could have given us a little bit more basketball instead of sending his team into a 2-0 hole.
The Wizards don’t care about Joakim Noah being the defensive player of the year. They feel Nene has an advantage over him, and kept attacking that spot. The Bulls decided to let the Wizards beat them on jump shots, and that directive failed. Nene finished with 17 points, John Wall had 16 to go with 7 assists while Bradley Beal scored 26 points, including nine as he helped the Wizards come back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Chicago have a problem creating points in large bunches, but through their defense and a big third quarter they managed to turn a game that seemed to be going very badly for them early on. The Wizards were up by 17 points in the first quarter, but couldn’t hang on as their run game didn’t generate points, and the jump shots, despite being their main weapon throughout game 2, didn’t keep falling the entire game.
Unlike game 1, D.J. Augustin and Taj Gibson made thing happen for the Bulls. Gibson scored 22 points to go with his 10 rebounds, nine of them coming on offense. The problem was the fourth quarter, in which the Bulls suddenly struggled to get easy points in the paint. After scoring 36 points on 18-of-31 shooting in the paint during the first three quarters, the Bulls were held to 8 points on 4-of-11 shooting on such shots the rest of the game. Outside shooting isn’t going to win the Bulls anything.
Augustin scored 25 points to erase his rough first game, taking 22 shots. But the Bulls got close to nothing from Boozer, Butler, Hinrich and Dunleavy, and when so many players on the team can’t get anything going offensively, there just isn’t a player or tandem to explode and make up for that. The Wizards defense made sure late in the game the Bulls wouldn’t get anything easy, and although Joakim Noah finished with 20 points as well, this wasn’t part of a smart ball movement offense, but more from scrappy battling that came up short.
Beal had no problem with Jimmy Butler chasing him. The Wizards kept screening with Nene, and Noah lost some confidence so he wasn’t attacking the ball handler right away. Beal had fun with that, but he did miss a shot at the end of regulation with Noah trying to block him that could have won the Wizards the game. The Bulls had their chance in the closing seconds, as Hinrich was fouled as he went for the layup, and his attempts from the line failed miserably, sending the favorites at the beginning of the series into a two-game deficit, with hope fading away slowly of ever winning the series.