After dismantling the Detroit Pistons on Monday the Chicago Bulls started out well against the Washington Wizard but fell flat in the second half, resulting in a 107-97 loss. It was a huge letdown considering how well Chicago played only a few days before. But credit to the Wizards for using their speedy guards to push out in transition and catch the Bulls off guard in the open court. They were able to take advantage of Chicago’s shaky transition defense, which is even worse than their half court defense, and ride that wave in the second half.
The battle in terms of fast break points wasn’t even close as Washington doubled Chicago’s total 32 to 16. It was pretty significant considering that both teams finished with 48 points in the paint but a lot of those baskets came easy for Washington. With Chicago shooting 40% from the field (38 of 95 (!)), the Wizards had some chances to outlet the ball out to their guards to get into their offensive sets quickly. It also didn’t help that the Bulls turned the ball over 15 times and the Wizards scored 19 points off those turnovers. Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo both had four turnovers each to lead the team while Washington only turned it over 10 times as a team. It was a very clean game from the Wizards in that sense. They shot well from the field at 52.4% and relied on their backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal to cut the Bulls open. The duo scored 23 and 21 points respectively, and did all of that despite shooting 1 of 9 from three-point land. But with the shots they were getting at the rim and in mid-range, they didn’t need the three-ball to help them out.
Wall is a very speedy point guard and could easily be argued as the fastest point guard in the NBA.
It was evident against the Bulls, especially in the clip below (although he missed the shot)
Wall also uses his strength to basically shrug off Rajon Rondo who was right by his side right when he caught the ball. If it wasn’t for Taj’s last ditch effort to contest, Wall would have had an easy layup.
Chicago’s defense already struggles in transition where maximum effort is required to get back and defend. When you combine that with an opposing point guard who is super quick and can get to the basket with ease, it’s near disaster for Chicago.
Opponents can’t buy a three
It was mentioned earlier that Wall and Beal shot a combined 1 of 9 from three and that was basically the same trend that the whole Wizards team followed in this game. As a team Washington was 3/18. Otto Porter Jr. was the only Wizard to make more than two and along with Beal were the only two to make a 3 on the team. After the Bucks shot very well in their two wins over the Bulls, the 3/18 performance by Washington followed a 3/23 one by Detroit. Don’t know if this trend will continue so we will have to see.
Bulls win......in the battle of the boards
It doesn’t really mean anything knowing that they lost but credit to the Bulls for wining the overall rebound battle 49-44 and another game where they were over 30% in offensive rebound rate. In the first quarter (by far the Bulls best), the Bulls had 9 missed shots and grabbed 6 of them for a rebound.
Butler and Gibson led the way with 11 rebonds while Rondo and Nikola Mirotic grabbed six each. Fred Hoiberg played all of his starters 30 plus minutes so Cristiano Felicio wasn’t able to make that much of an impact on the glass, grabbing 3 rebounds in 7 minutes.