While the majority of Bulls fans wanted the Wizards instead of the Nets in the first round of the playoffs, we must not forget that Washington did win the season series 2-1. That of course doesn't mean too much, but it's something we can't completely scoff at. The Wizards also did finish the season on a high note, although their four-game winning streak to close the year did come against three terrible teams and a Heat team that didn't give a crap about winning. The last two "real" games were a blowout loss to the Bulls and an overtime loss to the Bobcats.
Anyway, let's take a look back at the three-game regular-season series between the Bulls and Wizards.
Jan. 13 in Chicago: Wizards 102, Bulls 88
Chicago had just traded Luol Deng a week earlier, but they were starting to show some signs of turning things around after the 12-18 start. The Bulls were riding a five-game winning streak to begin 2014, and a win over the Wizards would have returned Chicago to the .500 mark for the first time since late November.
However, it was the Wizards who came out strong, jumping out to a 26-19 lead after the first quarter and riding that momentum through the second quarter into halftime. Washington shot 59 percent in the first half, using a balanced scoring effort to go up by 13 at the break.
The Bulls immediately made a run at the outset of the second half, scoring the first eight points and getting to as close as four. But every time it looked like the Bulls would surge ahead, the Wizards answered with timely baskets of their own. This happened early in the fourth quarter as well, and the Wizards finally put the game away with a 9-0 run after the Bulls had gotten back to within five points with 5:28 left.
Nene and John Wall had 19 points apiece to leads six Wizards in double figures. Washington shot 52.0 percent for the game and knocked down 7-of-18 from deep.
Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 19 points. This was also one of Tony Snell's better games, as he scored 12 points in just under 16 minutes of action. The Bulls did go 9-of-21 from three, but they shot just 43.0 percent overall and turned the ball over 18 times.
Jan. 17 in Washington: Wizards 96, Bulls 93
The Bulls had a chance to get some revenge on the Wizards just a few days later in Washington, but it wasn't meant to be. A tight game throughout, the Wizards made just enough plays down the stretch to come up with yet another victory over Chicago.
Like the first meeting, Washington got off to a hot start offensively, scoring 30 points in the first quarter and 54 in the first half. But the Bulls were able to stay closer this time, trailing by just four at the break. The Bulls made up that deficit heading into the fourth quarter and led by one after a Kirk Hinrich jumper with 5:16 left.
However, the Bulls made just one basket the rest of the game (another Hinrich jumper). The Wizards only made three baskets in the final 5:16, but that was all they would need to secure the victory. Nene sealed the win with a block on a desperation three attempt by Jimmy Butler:
Wall really had his way with the Bulls in this one, scoring 23 points and dishing out 11 assists. He also made one of the more ridiculous shots you'll ever see:
The Wizards once again had six players score in double figures and again shot over 50.0 percent overall, knocking down 50.6 percent of their shots. Washington made 6-of-11 from deep and had 44 points in the paint to just 30 for Chicago.
Hinrich led the Bulls with 18 points, while D.J. Augustin came off the bench to score 16. Chicago shot a respectable 46.1 percent overall and 9-of-24 from long range, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Wizards' hot shooting.
April 5 in Washington: Bulls 96, Wizards 78
Safe to say this game went a little better than the first two. With the Bulls hitting their stride down the stretch run, they returned to Washington and ran roughshod over the Wizards, who were without Nene. It was the Bulls' fifth straight win during a seven-game streak.
Chicago absolutely dominated from the start, going up 28-16 after one quarter and opening up a 52-26 lead at halftime. While the Bulls were shooting 47.4 percent overall and 5-of-10 from three for the half, they were holding the Wizards to a paltry 31.0 percent shooting overall and 0-of-8 from three. Wall and Marcin Gortat were the only two Wizards able to get anything going, but even Wall was just 4-of-11.
The Wizards finally woke up in the third quarter, scoring 35 in the frame. But after a Gortat layup at the start of the fourth quarter made it a 13-point contest, the Bulls ripped off a 12-0 run to put the game away. This was one of those games where the starters stayed in far too late for my liking, but obviously nothing bad happened.
Augustin had 25 points and hit six of the Bulls' nine three-pointers on the night. Augustin and Hinrich combined to knock down 9-of-15 from long range, while the rest of the team went 0-of-8. Joakim Noah notched his first double-double of the series with 21 points and 12 rebounds (only three assists).
Wall did wind up with a solid finishing line, scoring 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Gortat also had a nice game, scoring 19 points and pulling down eight boards. The Wizards managed to shoot nearly 40 percent after their woeful first half.
Series Statistical Summary
D.J. Augustin (3 GP): 25.1 MPG, 16.0 PPG, 4.3 APG, 37.5 FG%, 50.0 3PT%
Carlos Boozer (3 GP): 28.9 MPG, 15.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 55.6 FG%
Joakim Noah (3 GP): 35.7 MPG, 12.7 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 4.0 APG, 56.6 FG%
Kirk Hinrich (3 GP): 28.1 MPG, 12.3 PPG, 6.0 APG, 48.4 FG%, 50.0 3PT%
Taj Gibson (3 GP): 26.3 MPG, 9.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 52.0 FG%
Mike Dunleavy (3 GP): 30.9 MPG, 8.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 34.6 FG%, 36.4 3PT%
Jimmy Butler (3 GP): 39.3 MPG, 8.0 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.3 RPG, 28.6 FG%, 23.1 3PT%
John Wall (3 GP): 35.4 MPG, 20.7 PPG, 8.0 APG, 4.0 RPG, 50.0 FG%, 25.0 3PT%
Nene (2 GP): 35.2 MPG, 14.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.5 APG, 41.4 FG%
Bradley Beal (3 GP): 30.3 MPG, 13.7 PPG, 3.0 APG, 3.0 RPG, 50.0 FG%, 37.5 3PT%
Marcin Gortat (3 GP): 35.4 MPG, 13.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 58.6 FG%
Martell Webster (3 GP): 26.7 MPG, 9.3 PPG, 52.4 FG%, 54.5 3PT%
Trevor Booker (3 GP): 25.4 MPG, 8.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 50.0 FG%
Trevor Ariza (3 GP): 33.9 MPG, 7.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 33.3 FG%, 27.3 3PT%
Stats via NBA.com's stats page