NBA Playoff Preview: Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls

The Washington Wizards and Chicago  Bulls are set to battle in the first round of the playoffs . This could be a highly contested matchup full of blood, sweat and tears. Photo: Geoff Burke-USA Today Sports

The Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls are set to battle in the first round of the playoffs . This could be a highly contested matchup full of blood, sweat and tears. Photo: Geoff Burke-USA Today Sports

A sea of red is what fans can expect to witness in the first round playoff matchup between the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls.

Both squads wear their bright red colors with pride, which is even more reason for them to do everything in their power to outplay each other. The Bulls finished the season with a 48-34 record. On the other hand, the Wizards finished at 44-38 and slithered past the Brooklyn Nets at the end of the season in order to jump from sixth to fifth place.

The Bulls had the better record out of both teams during the regular season but don’t get it twisted! Washington won the season series by a count of 2 to 1. That’s right. The Wizards might be widely looked at as the little brother in this matchup of two eager Eastern Conference foes but they proved they can not only  hang with the tenaciousness of Chicago but also defeat them.

The Wizards came away with a convincing victory in the first regular season contest against the Bulls by a score of 102-88 on January 13th. Six Wizards managed to score in double figures in that game and they shot %52 as a team against the Bulls, who are one of, if not the best defensive squads in the league. Not to mention, the game was in the United Center in Chicago, which means the Wizards have no problem playing in the house that “His Airness” built.

In the second game of the season series, John Wall had a double-double of 23 points and 11 assists as the Wizards snuck past the Bulls 96-93.  This game was played in Washington on January 17th and the Wizards were able to protect their home court by yet again having six players to score in double figures against the pesky defense of the Bulls.

April 5th was a different story though. This day marked the third and final matchup of the regular season between these two teams. The Bulls crushed the Wizards by a score of 96-78. Joakim Noah led the charge with 21 points and 12 rebounds. D.J. Augustin, who has been a pleasant surprise for the Bulls this season, added 25 points and drained 6 triples to help the Bulls get revenge on the Wizards in the last matchup.

Tale of the Tape

Below is a statistical breakdown of some of the key players in the upcoming playoff matchup and their statline in the 2013-2014 regular season series:

Washington Wizards

Trevor Ariza (3 GP): 33.9 MPG, 7.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 33.3 FG%, 27.3 3PT%

Bradley Beal (3 GP): 30.3 MPG, 13.7 PPG, 3.0 APG, 3.0 RPG, 50.0 FG%, 37.5 3PT%

Trevor Booker (3 GP): 25.4 MPG, 8.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 50.0 FG%

Nene Hilario (2 GP): 35.2 MPG, 14.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.5 APG, 41.4 FG%

Marcin Gortat (3 GP): 35.4 MPG, 13.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 58.6 FG%

John Wall (3 GP): 35.4 MPG, 20.7 PPG, 8.0 APG, 4.0 RPG, 50.0 FG%, 25.0 3PT%

Martell Webster (3 GP): 26.7 MPG, 9.3 PPG, 52.4 FG%, 54.5 3PT%

 

Chicago Bulls

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%

Jimmy Butler (3 GP): 39.3 MPG, 8.0 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.3 RPG, 28.6 FG%, 23.1 3PT%

Mike Dunleavy (3 GP): 30.9 MPG, 8.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 34.6 FG%, 36.4 3PT%

Taj Gibson (3 GP): 26.3 MPG, 9.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 52.0 FG%

Kirk Hinrich (3 GP): 28.1 MPG, 12.3 PPG, 6.0 APG, 48.4 FG%, 50.0 3PT%

Joakim Noah (3 GP): 35.7 MPG, 12.7 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 4.0 APG, 56.6 FG%

Stats via NBA.com’s stat page and Jason Patt of blogabull.com

When looking at the numbers that each key player is putting up against the other team this year, it is clear that the playoff series could be decided by strong play from the point guards, centers and bench players.

Wall is putting up 20 points and 8 assists against the Bulls but Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin combine for about 28 points and 10 assists when these teams meet and provide reliable play as floor generals. Taj Gibson is a favorite to win the Sixth Man of the Year Award in many people’s eyes and will try to outplay bench players on Washington such as Martell Webster, who is shooting a red-hot 54.5% from behind the arc against the Bulls this season. Gortat is a solid center for Washington but Joakim Noah is his competition in the post and is a workhorse down low. Noah was tied for the second-most triple-doubles(4) in the NBA during the regular season and he is sort of like a third point guard for the Bulls because he has a knack for setting up his teammates in multiple ways.

Game 1 of this series is set to tipoff on Sunday, April 20th at 7:00 PM ET. Definitely tune into TNT for this one! This series is going to be a battle. Will the young nucleus of Washington overcome adversity? Can Chicago’s defense and toughness get them over the hump? It sure will be interesting to witness what happens in this series because it has all the makings of a tug-of-war competition.

 

 

 

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