“Dun Dun”, as Mike Dunleavy, Jr.’s Bulls teammates like to call him, should be credited with saving Chicago’s postseason. With only 4 teams ever coming back to win a series after dropping the first 2 at home, the possibility that the Bulls will still win this first round matchup vs. the Wiz is still an unlikely one. Dunleavy allowed fans to dream however.
Mike went an unbelievable 12-19 from the field, including 8-10 on threes. His 16 pt. first half led Beal to tell a local reporter at the half that Dunleavy would not score another point in the second half. The entire Wizards team, including Beal would soon learn that he was in a zone and just would not miss. Mike even managed to draw a foul/4 pt. play on Beal at the 4:11 mark of the 3rd with the game tied at 62. The 35 pts. was one shy of his career high.
Aside from Dunleavy’s explosion, which kept the Bulls in the game (nice to answer Washington’s offense with shot after shot for a change), things were pretty much the same in this one. Bulls were outrebounded and outhustled to 50/50 balls. Washington continues to ooze points quickly, and in bunches. 6-0, 7-0, 9-0 runs. Both Wall and Beal seemed to score at will and Chicago again lost the lead in the 4th quarter. There was lousy execution in the final minutes by both teams (Snell giving up 3 FT’s to Wall with 4.7 left and Ariza’s errant pass to Wall in the waning seconds), but finally when the dust settled, the Bulls had 3 more points. Whew.
- Trevor Booker emerged as an enforcer/goon for Washington with 5 fouls as he fouled both Jimmy and Noah pretty hard at the rim and with attitude
- Nene (in one of the most unprovoked NBA altercations I’ve ever witnessed) decided to get up in Jimmy’s face who’s maybe 60 lbs. his jr. (why not Taj or Noah?). He got ejected for his efforts and subsequently suspended for today’s game 4. If Bulls manage to take the series, THIS immaturity and lack of experience is one of the reasons that Chicago was chosen over the Wizards to win, even though they have younger, more athletic and offensively talented players.
- Bulls had the most turnovers in this game than the previous 2, a mind blowing 17 with the Wiz getting 26 pts. off those turnovers.
- Game could have easily been lost at the line with the Bulls managing a pathetic 20-30 (67%).
EVERYONE seems to think that the Bulls will win this game with Nene out, but the Wizards know that they have a disadvantage down low without him, especially facing a team like the Bulls with such a talented front court. I predict that Wall and Beal will shoot even more from the perimeter, Gortat will look to get more touches and their role players may be inspired to produce even more. They are still at home and that crowd is everything the UC is not. Loud and amped for their team. Bulls also historically are not great playing this early in the day (Noon CST – ABC).
The Bulls have to control their turnovers, hopefully they can win the loose ball battle and my God, please get some second chances with some offensive rebounds. Gortat and Booker need to be boxed out in this area as these are the two players hurting us the most on the boards. Not Nene. It will help not to have his big body in the way though for real. Crossing my fingers that Noah can have a big game here. I’ll see you guys on the other side, Go Bulls!