Key Legislature: Wizards 85 at Bulls 81, Preseason Game 1 — Pierce Pops Off | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 85 at Bulls 81, Preseason Game 1 — Pierce Pops Off

Updated: October 7, 2014
[Paul pokes Joakim -- via @NBAcom]

[Paul pokes Joakim — via @NBAcom]

DC Council Key Legislature

by Rashad Mobley.

Prior to the Wizards vs. Bulls preseason opener, Chicago Coach Tom Thibodeau had this to say about how his team should approach the game:

“I think the way to look at it is it’s competition and it establishes who you’re gonna be. I don’t subscribe to the notion that [preseason] games aren’t important, regular season games aren’t important, nothing is important. Well, everything is important. If you study winning and you study guys who have won big, everything is important.”

In the first quarter of the Wizards’ 85-81 victory over the Bulls, Paul Pierce and Derrick Rose decided to send strong messages to their teammates about who they were and what they were about.

Pierce was a non-factor offensively in the opening quarter, but with 8:57 left he fouled Jimmy Butler in the open court, hard, with his right bicep after Butler rebounded a missed dunk by Marcin Gortat. Less than a minute later, as the referees were trying to determine whether Pierce’s foul was an intentional or clear path foul, Pierce and Joakim Noah got into a shouting match that nearly ended with Pierce’s finger in Noah’s eye. Coach Thibodeau had to stand between the two men to prevent further damage.

Pierce was not a member of the Wizards when Nene put hands (and a head butt) on Jimmy Butler during Game 3 of last season’s playoffs. But with those two aggressive stances — whether it was Pierce being caught up in the moment, or a calculated move announcing his arrival to his teammates and the Bulls — he thrust himself in the middle of the budding rivalry.

Fortunately for the Bulls, and perhaps less fortunately for the Wizards, Derrick Rose also sent a bit of a message to his teammates and the Wizards.

Like Pierce, Rose also was not around during the Wizards’ first-round victory over the Bulls in last season’s playoffs. Instead, he was in a suit and watched his shorthanded teammates lose despite a valiant effort. But in the first quarter of Monday night’s preseason game, Rose scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, and he drove by John Wall and Bradley Beal with ease. D.J. Augustin sporadically showed the ability to get into the lane against the Wizards during last season’s playoff series, as did Kirk Hinrich, but neither of them possess the explosiveness nor the ability to draw attention like Rose.

He may not be 100 percent, and he most likely is still learning how to play with Pau Gasol and re-acquainting himself with Butler, Noah, Dunleavy and the rest of the gang. But much like Paul Pierce, in that first quarter of preseason basketball, Rose did exactly what Coach Thibodeau requested. He was competitive, he established who was going to be, and he played like the game was important.

The Bullets.

  • John Wall seemed to be going through motions. That would be fine if the New York Knicks were the opponent, but considering how tough last year’s playoff series was, and arguably the game’s greatest point guard (Derrick Rose) was on the other side of the floor, a little more effort would have been nice.
  • Bradley Beal looked just as inconsistent as Wall at times. However, in the third quarter when the Bulls — specifically his man Jimmy Butler — turned up the defensive intensity, Beal played his best. He hit a 3-pointer, and followed that up with a pretty reverse lay-up that lead to a 3-point play.
  • Glen Rice is still in summer league mode and that’s a good thing for his confidence. Coach Wittman may be inclined to work him into the early-season rotation at this rate.
  • Kris Humphries has good touch on his jumper, but he should never step out beyond 16 feet. And Dejuan Blair was equally physical and light on his feet in the post.
  • Otto Porter looked like a rookie again. An aggressive, slightly more buff rookie, but a rookie nonetheless.

The Vines.


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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop,, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.