The Day After: Bulls Wizards Game 1
The Bulls Game 1 loss Sunday to the Wizards unearthed several issues. With the loss, the Bulls now have a must win Game 2 at home on Tuesday. There are five areas of concern the Bulls have in this series.
1. Nene’s Domination.
Nene won the overall matchup against Joakim Noah. Nene missed two of the meetings this season, and the Bulls had no answer for him. The 11-17 night shooting does not do justice to the kind of night he had. A majority of his mid-range jumpers were uncontested as a result of John Wall’s penetration.
Nene was able to disrupt the pick and roll that the Bulls run with Noah. Twice Nene was able to strip Noah that lead to easy points for the Wizards. He also had a eight rebounds before fouling out.
2. John Wall’s Defense.
Wall is dominating the Bulls point guards on defense. The 6-foot-4 Wall has a 6-foot-9 wingspan. That reach gave the Bulls smaller point guards D.J. Augstin is 6-foot-1 and Kirk Hinrich is 6-foot-4 but has a shorter wingspan. The two guards could not drive when Wall was on the court.
Wall was able to force the guards into tough jumpers that helped contribute to the 21 missed field goals from the point guard position. Wall also added two steals, Coach Tom Thibodeau has to figure out how to run the offense with Noah and his two point-guards having difficult matchups.
3. The Bulls were out rebound
In my preview to the series. I wrote that the tandem of Taj Gibson and Noah would be able to outrebound Nene and Marcin Gortat. The Wizard’s frontcourt duo won the rebound matchup 21-16. That might not seem like a huge difference, but a majority of the Bulls’ game depends on getting rebounds to end possessions and to get easy points on offense.
4. The Bulls poor offense
The Bulls struggled the entire game running their offense. Hinrich (7-16), Augustin (3-15), and Mike Dunleavy (4-12) shot horriblly from the field. Dunleavy’s struggles are more alarming, because his offense is needed. Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer are the Bulls’ first quarter offensive options.
The Bulls rely heavy on Dunleavy to hit shots off of screens. Last night Dunleavy was able to get open, but the shots were not failing. Minus the three shots he made at the beginning of the second half, Dunleavy was never quite able to get into a good shooting rhythm.
5. The Wizards back court struggled
Wall and Bradley Beal looked like the playoffs spotlight was too much for them in Game 1. The two young guards combined for 7- for-25 from the field. The two did hit free throws hitting 15-for-17 from the charity stripe.
The Bulls can not rely on those two having more bad games especially when the series goes to Washington.The young Wizard guards will get shots to fall later in the series, that starts to happen combined with Nene’s dominance the Bulls do not have enough offensive power to keep the series competitive.