Opening Statements: Wizards at Bulls, Game 61 | Wizards Blog Truth About

Opening Statements: Wizards at Bulls, Game 61

Updated: March 3, 2015

Washington Wizards at Chicago Bulls - Dec. 29, 2012 - Truth About

Bitter rivals? Not quite. Rivals? You could make a good argument. Just bitter? That would accurately describe the relationship between the Washington Wizards and the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls are smarting from a home loss to the Clippers on Sunday afternoon. Without Derrick Rose, without Taj Gibson, and after that third loss in the last six games, they will be without Jimmy Butler due to a shoulder strain for 3-to-6 weeks. Chicago, as the 3-seed in the East, sits 10.5 games behind first place Atlanta, one game behind second place Toronto, a half-game ahead of fourth place Cleveland, and three games ahead of the visiting Washington Wizards.

The Wizards are smarting from injuries, patience, inefficiencies, indescribable intangibles, indiscernible unmentionables, and the facts of the life of an NBA franchise under the thumbprint of one of the foremost dad-like NBA dads, Randy Wittman, who combines ‘chill’ with being ‘out of touch’ (per Trey Kerby of NBATV’s “The Starters”). Despite ‘taking care’ of the Pistons on Saturday, the Wizards are still losers of 11 of the last 14 games.

These two teams are pissed. And that’s a good thing for the fans. There will be dancing—sharp dancing—featuring elbows, cuts, knees, joints, and tempers, all of which will hopefully remain relatively intact during the course of a competition that, while likely grinding, should be entertaining as hell, even with several parties not playing. Despite ‘stats.’

Speaking of… The Wizards are one of four sad franchises, at this juncture, who have not attempted at least 1,000 3-pointers on the season. Their contemporaries would be the Kings, Grizzlies, and Timberwolves. The Wizards’ 3-point shooting (36.1%, ranked 6th in the NBA) still provides a stark contrast to the attempts, even if their ability to make 3s has come back to earth.

Over the course of 60 games, Washington’s opponents have attempted 11 more shots from the field. Yet, the Wizards have made 137 more field goals in those 11 less attempts. That’s good, right? Not totally.

Because of this thing called the 3-point line, Washington has only outscored opponents by 157 points over those 137 more makes. So, in essence, the Wizards are only making up 1.1 points per bucket.

It gets worse when you factor in the free throw line, where Washington has been outscored by 116 points on the season. So, with the work the Wizards have put into making 137 more basketball shots than opponents, they are only outscoring the other team by 41 points. Because of Randy Wittman’s system they must exert more effort for less results.

Seriously? Seriously.

Moving on in all seriousness, and some silliness—and speaking of one Trey Kerby (@treykerby), native Chicago Bulls fan—we proceed to the Q&A portion of today’s opening statements. LEGO.

Teams: Wizards at Bulls
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Venue: United Center, Chicago, IL
Television: CSN+
Radio: WFED-AM 1500/WNEW-FM 99.1
Spread: Wizards fav’d by 1 point.

Q #1. If you made a Venn Diagram of Wizards and Bulls fans, what terms/thoughts/’things’ would be in the cross-section?

@treykerby: One thing I really like about Wizards fans is that they seem to hate their team, even when they’re good, as much as Bulls fans do. With both of these fanbases, it kind of seems like you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and I think that is a really great way to live. Also, we both are hugely skeptical of the team’s ownership, with good reason.

Q #2. Nene says that he ‘hates’ the Bulls, but do the Bulls hate Nene?

@treykerby: Well, Joakim Noah kind of hates everyone who isn’t a Bull, so I would guess he definitely does. As for the rest of the Bulls, I doubt it. The Wizards aren’t a traditional Bulls rival and there’s not a ton of history between Nene and the Bulls, so they probably don’t hate him that much. Personally, I love his smile and his hair, but do kind of hate him for what he did in the first round of last season’s playoffs.

Q #3. Have you ever found yourself making #WittmanFaces in the mirror? Or would you rather smoke a bunch of cigarettes and talk in #ThibsVoice for a week?

@treykerby: Maybe I’ve unintentionally made some #WittmanFaces, so I’l go with that. Plus, I’ve got a life insurance exam coming up and if I smoked enough cigarettes to get a #ThibsVoice, my premiums would be astronomical.

Q #4. How much does having good players like Snell or Mirotoc (and before them, Butler) in the pipeline help alleviate being seemingly snake-bitten by injuries? Who ‘steps up’ ‘most’ as the regular season winds down? (And just so I can sneak this in there: What’s your gut feeling about Rose?)

@treykerby: I’ve never thought about the Bulls pipeline as a way for them to combat injuries, but I guess that’s true. That being said, with the number of players on a roster, having good young players can only take you so far. After all, as my good friend Kelly Dwyer always says, it’s not the backup that you worry about, it’s the backup’s backup. I mean, E’Twaun Moore seems like a chill bro and he does a pretty good job in spot minutes, but you don’t really want him playing 20 minutes per.

And then there’s the whole development question, where the young guys don’t play a ton until someone gets hurt and then they thrive. Wouldn’t it be a better use of personnel and minutes to reduce some of the stars’ minutes and develop the young guys before you need them? That’s obviously the biggest criticism of Thibs and I think it’s pretty valid, especially considering how limiting minutes is trending in today’s NBA.

As for Rose, the post-surgery/rehab news was just about the best you can ask for, given the situation. I really hope he comes back this season in the timeframe they’ve announced, but considering he’s always been a “my body has to be 100 percent” guy, and considering his college coach was shocked by his low pain tolerance and the Bulls themselves say that there might be a bunch of players in the league with the same problem that don’t even know it while Rose is the only guy who is having surgery for this, I will believe that when I see it. Also, I’m super sad again, so thanks.

Q #5. Describe your life when the Google Reader was still active and the ShareBro network was going strong. Was that the ‘What a time to be alive’ time or is now the ‘What a time to be alive’ time?

@treykerby: Considering GReader has been dead for years now, but we’re still talking about it’s impact, I think you know the answer.


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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.