Bulls vs. Wizards recap: Huge first half crushes Wiz

USAToday

Way back in the 3rd week of January, the Bulls lost 2 games to the Wizards (a triple-OT win over the Magic wasn't that confidence-boosting either), notable as these two teams may face eachother in the playoffs. Since that time the Bulls have been on a remarkable tear, playing the same 7 guys on their way to beating up the bad teams and having some signature victories as well. And as we know, the Bulls are serious about this shit, so they were no doubt looking forward to the next game against Washington.

And with both teams on a back-to-back, the Bulls went on the road and blitzed the Wizards in the first half and secured a dominant win. The Wizards scored a season-low (by 10) 26 points in that half and were down 28 at the break.

The Bulls were just relentless on both ends. Kirk Hinrich (::gags before typing this::) really set the tone (::gags again::) by stymieing former teammate John Wall and keeping him from setting up the Wizards offense. Hinrich even outscored Wall 5-4 in that first stint, and if that battle is won the Bulls are probably in good shape. Wall finished 4-11 in the first half as helping Hinrich was the Bulls outstanding rim protection. The Bulls had 4 blocks but more impressive was their challenging of everything and forcing several close misses from Wall and others. The bigs also decimated Washington on the glass in that half, holding them under 20% in offensive rebound percentage, while getting over 35% of their own misses.

Offensively, the Bulls started out very well with player and ball movement, with everyone in the lineup (the starters really do have great passers throughout the whole lineup, Butler had 9 assists) contributing towards a layup line at times. And while the 2nd quarter saw their shooting percentage drop, the Bulls built an even bigger lead on the back of extra points from the FT line and behind the arc. And the culprit was DJ Augustin, who came in and (ho-hum)  hit his first 3 three-pointers, including 2 back-to-back which blew the game open. Augustin had 17 in the first half, including going 3-4 from the line. The Bulls were 5-8 from the line in that second quarter, while the Wizards were 0-3. They only scored 10 points.

(It actually could've gone even worse for the Wiz there, as both quarters ended in tough last-second makes by them)

Washington did come out in the 3rd quarter and showed a pulse, with Wall playing much better (12 points, 3 assists in that quarter) and quickly putting points on the board: his team had 18 in the first five minutes and 35 overall. The lowest they had the deficit was 11 after an absolute bomb by Wall. But the Bulls were still doing enough offensively to keep the Wizards at that safe distance, either passing their way to layups or on a couple of big threes from Hinrich.

Down 15 entering the 4th, the Wizards were back to being ice-cold. A couple of Joakim Noah putbacks had the lead up to 20, and yet another DJ Augustin three-pointer really finished them off. A fitting way to do it, as Noah and Augustin were the Bulls best performers tonight, Noah with 21 points and 12 rebounds (though he was icing his thumb after the game, which...yikes) and Augustin's 25 led the Bulls bench to a 35-6 advantage. Taking away the garbage-time minutes (you can mark them by the Jimmer) the Wizards reserves were atrocious, shooting 3-16 from the field in nearly 57 combined minutes of game time. They received decent outings from Gortat and (half) Wall, but beyond that it was pretty dreadful in the face of the Bulls D. This was a very impressive performance by Chicago.

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