Opening Statements: Wizards vs Bulls, Game 77
As Tom Thibodeau alluded to in his pre-game presser Saturday night, this is an exciting time of year in the NBA–especially in the Eastern Conference. The Heat and the Pacers are tied for the number one seed; the Raptors and Bulls are tied for the number three seed; the Bobcats, Wizards and Nets are separated by just three and a half games; and the Hawks have just a one game lead over the Knicks for the eighth spot … with the Cavaliers lurking. No first-round playoff game is set in stone, no travel arrangements can be made, and presumably scouting at this juncture is a bit of challenge.
Despite this abundance of excitement, Coach Thibodeau and Randy Wittman’s respective jobs are to keep their teams even-keeled, prepared, and ready to play one game at a time. Thibodeau’ has the easier job of the two coaches, because the Bulls have endured countless playoff battles with and without their All-Star, Derrick Rose. What the Bulls lack in talent is more than made up via defense, hustle, hard work, and coaching.
Coach Wittman’s task figures to be a bit more difficult. He does have veterans like Andre Miller, Trevor Ariza, Al Harrington, Drew Gooden, Nene, and Marcin Gortat, who are playoff-tested and can share their knowledge with the team. But the starting backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal are still riding the high of just qualifying for the postseason, and there is really no way for either of them to be prepared for the intensity of the playoffs (although most games against the Bulls should have the intensity and physicality of a playoff atmosphere).
In their first game after qualifying for the playoffs, the Wizards gutted out a tough road victory against a New York Knicks team desperate to qualify for the eighth and final spot. After Saturday night’s loss to Chicago, Coach Randy Wittman took responsibility for not having his team ready, while Coach Thibodeau had his guys focused and energized as usual. The end result was the Wizards putting out one of their poorest efforts of the season, and the Bulls won, 96-87.
Before the game, both coaches (sans emotion, I might add) cautioned against looking ahead and spoke about the upcoming matchup, which could also certainly be a future playoff matchup:
Better Know a Wizards Fan:
Redskins Man Edition (aka ‘Pump it Up’ Man).
All Recent Posts
- Key Legislature: Washington 105 vs Miami 103 – Heat Stay Hot but Wizards Too Cool December 20, 2014
- Wizards at Heat in 80 Tweets — Wall and Nene Stay Cool in Miami December 20, 2014
- Opening Statements: Wizards at Heat, Game 25 December 19, 2014
- Marcin Gortat on the Gortat Brand and 100 Ideas Per Hour December 19, 2014
- Better Know a Wizards Fan: Redskins Man Edition (aka ‘Pump it Up’ Man) December 18, 2014
- Key Legislature: Wizards 109 vs Timberwolves 95 — Game Changer Goes Dog Whisperer December 17, 2014
- DC Council 24: Wizards vs Timberwolves — Flip Saunders Back On Subway Diet December 17, 2014
- Flip Saunders on Building John Wall and Cleaning Gutters December 17, 2014
- Wizards vs Timberwolves in 70 Tweets — Wall and Rasual Flip Switch on Timberpups December 17, 2014
- Flip Saunders Name-Drops JaVale McGee, Pierre Responds on Twitter (VIDEO) December 17, 2014
- Opening Statements: Wizards vs Timberwolves, Game 24 December 16, 2014
- Progress, You Say? Bradley Beal and Long 2-Pointers December 15, 2014