Domination is what the Washington Wizards brought down on the Bulls in a physical first round clash. Below are the “test scores” for some of the key contributors to the Wizards’ shocking upset and how those players fared during the duration of the series:
Top of the Class
Trevor Ariza (A+)
Ariza raised his regular season averages of 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds to 15.6 points and 8.6 rebounds during the first round of the playoffs. Not to mention, he shot 49.1% from the field and a blazing 46.4% from three-point range in this series. A game 4 performance of 30 points and 6-10 shooting from behind the arc spoke volumes for Ariza’s importance to the Wizards. Length and shooting touch helped this 6-foot-8 utility player make it to the top of this list.
Nene Hilario (A)
Is it Nene Hilario or just Nene? Be sure to ask him if there is some uncertainty or else he might be forced to show off his mixed martial arts moves. Just ask Jimmy Butler. Wizard… no way! This guy was a warrior during this series. Nene absolutely demoralized Joakim Noah by hitting jumper after jumper. Nene is a seasoned veteran and displayed that by stepping up to the plate with averages of 17.8 points. 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in the first round. Any guy who can score at will against a defender such as Noah,deserves a round of applause. Nene could get on the boards a tad bit more but other than that, bravo big man, bravo.
Bradley Beal (B+)
It would be easy to consider Beal as an a-list guy but he has a lot more in the tank. Nonetheless, the kid had a great series. 19.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists a game is a laudable playoff stat line. Beal also lit the Bulls up by shooting 45.5% from downtown and 88% from the charity stripe. However, this 20-year-old is not getting off the hook. He has superstar, not star, but superstar ability. This was his first playoff series as an NBA player, so he can get a pass for now but Beal needs to demand the ball in the clutch more and take over on offense like he is capable of.
John Wall (B)
Wall used his athleticism to his advantage during the entire series. Let’s not forget that this is the 23-year-old’s first playoff experience. The Wizards go as Wall goes and boy, did this guy go. Wall averaged 18.8 points, 6.8 assists and 4.6 rebounds in the first round. His peskiness on defense was also evident as he averaged 2.2 steals a game. Wall got to the line whenever he wanted to against the Bulls by using that athleticism to take the bump and even finish with the contact. The only soft spot in Wall’s first round report card is his shooting percentage. He shot 36.4% from the field and 27.3% from three-point land. That has got to improve as Washington prepares for the second round but all in all, good job floor general.
Marcin Gortat (B)
Who doesn’t love the big fella? Gortat’s name is just cool to say. This 6-foot-11 giant put up 10.8 points and 9.6 rebounds in the series. He also averaged 2 rejections against Chicago. Gortat gave the Wizards good efforts on both end of the floor but he shot an abysmal 38.9% from the field. For a big guy who takes most of his shots from 10 feet and in, 38.9% is not good. Nevertheless, Gortat played hard and banged down low with the likes of Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah. Therefore, Gortat gets a B for his first round grade.
Trevor Booker (B-)
Booker’s series numbers stood at 5.6 points and 6.6 rebounds. He played his role very well against Chicago. Head coach Randy Wittman puts Booker in the game for defense and rebounding. In the 24 minutes a game that Booker played against Chicago, he definitely made a difference. Booker scored 8 points and grabbed 9 rebounds when Nene was suspended for game 4. This flyswatter also averaged 1.6 blocks during the series and had 3 rejections in both game 4 and game 5. It always pays off to have a guy to do the dirty work off the bench.
Martell Webster (C+)
Webster knocked down some big shots for the Wizards in the first round. Unfortunately, he only played about 18 minutes a game, which is well under his regular season average of 27.7 minutes a game. Webster is put on the floor to be a perimeter threat but he only shot 31.3% from downtown in the series. There is a lot of room for improvement but Webster gets a C+ for his first round grade.
Andre Miller (C+)
Miller is not getting a C because he did not do well during the series against Chicago. When he got in the game, he gave the Wizards an veteran push on both ends of the floor. Miller only played 10 minutes per game in the first round, so it was hard for him to put up a memorable stat line. However, Miller is more than a player. He provides the players with great advice and guidance. Every team can use a basketball savvy veteran on the team when trying to make a nice playoff run. Believe it or not, those 4 points and 1 assist that Miller provided in the series were big.
The Wizards shocked the basketball world with their upset of the Bulls. They had a complete effort from multiple guys. Nene, Gortat and Booker handled everything down low. Wall, Beal and the Ariza outplayed their opposition game after game. The supporting cast chipped in when necessary. The bottom line is that this team is on the brink of some serious playoff success. Actually, they have already found success along with a new victorious identity.
Related Article: http://isportsweb.com/2014/04/27/washington-wizards-overpower-bulls-earn-commanding-3-1-series-lead/
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