Well so much for Nene being on a minutes restriction coming back from the knee sprain. The big man for the Washington Wizards played a mind blowing 35 minutes and dominated with 24 pts 8 rebs 3 asts 2 stls and a block. He pushed Noah around on the block (he took his lunch money is what he did) and got to the rim at will. Marcin Gortat also feasted on the Bulls inside netting 15 pts and 13 rebs.
Now understand, the Bulls have certainly been smacked in the mouth before and have gotten up off the mat and successfully fought back. Fans should also take comfort in the fact that what we saw tonight was certainly not a sustained effort on the offensive end. The ball stuck in D.J.’s hands (he also didn’t shoot the ball well, 3-15 effort from him), Noah seemed a tad distracted, Taj didn’t touch the ball enough and Kirk was preoccupied with the officiating. The Wizards OUTREBOUND the Bulls 45-39 (huh?) and Dunleavy played tight: 4-12 (or with the intensity he needed on defense), and got benched as a result. Bulls also took care of the basketball (8 turnovers) and kept the Wizards out of transition for the most part.
THESE are the only things that make me feel better about this loss. What makes me sick about the loss is that we could have still won this game with this subpar effort if the Bulls would have been able to score the basketball down the stretch. Bulls didn’t score from the opening of the 4th quarter til’ the 9:48 mark. You are just not going to be able to stop a team that long. Especially one that is potent scoring-wise as Washington.
The stat that could potentially have Bulls fans pressing the panic button is that Wall and Beal both had quiet games (for them anyway). 16 and 13 pts. respectively… Wall got most of his points at the line as he was drawing fouls left and right. Beal just seemed a little tight, but that won’t last. He’s too good of a player.
We’ll see what happens next game. Bulls will figure things out. D.J. is really the unknown entity in my mind. I know what Taj, Kirk, Jimmy and Noah can do in postseason situations. D.J. seems a bit rattled so far to me and we really need his quickness, his ability to beat guys off the dribble and his pick and roll play. Much quicker decisions must be made by him on the perimeter. Its almost like he’s playing not to make mistakes and that’s just not good enough at this level.