Everything appeared to be going extremely well for the Chicago Bulls early in the third quarter of game one in their playoff series against the Washington Wizards when they stormed out to a 13 point lead. However, almost immediately Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman called a timeout to call out his team’s lack luster defensive effort. Once this occurred the game took on a whole new feel as the Washington Wizards began to seize control on their way to an impressive road win in the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs.
Easily the most impressive player in game one of this series was power forward for the Washington Wizards Nene Hilario. Nene did what not many players have been able to do this season when he flat out outplayed Joakim Noah in the post. Nene scored an improbable 24 points on 11-17 while consistently out muscling Joakim Noah out of the way for easy baskets.
After the result of game one it has become very clear that in order for the Chicago Bulls to have any chance in this series they are going to need their post players in Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson to consistently outplay the Wizards’ post players in Nene and Marcin Gortat. This is definitely not unreasonable seeing as most people myself included, firmly believed that the Bulls would have the advantage in the post in this series but that clearly was not the case in game one.
Something else that is going to need to change if the Chicago Bulls hope to have any chance of winning this series is the performance of backup point guard D.J. Augustin. Augustin has been described as the “season saver” by head coach Tom Thibodeau because of how much he has helped the Bulls since being signed in December. If he hopes to live up to that name he is going to need to have a much better game in game two than he did in game one where he only went 3-15 from the floor.
In the end there is no getting around the fact that this was a very discouraging loss for the Bulls on their home court. However, if the Bulls have taught us anything this season it is that we should never count them out of anything. I firmly believe they still have a great chance to come back and win this series.