Key Legislature: Wizards 114 at Bulls 100 — Watch D.C. Whip Chicago, Watch 'Em Nene | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 114 at Bulls 100 — Watch D.C. Whip Chicago, Watch ‘Em Nene

Updated: January 12, 2016

TAI’s Key Legislature… The game’s defining moment, its critical event, the wildest basketball thing you ever saw, or just stuff that happened. Wizards at Bulls, Regular Season Game 36, Jan. 11, 2016, by Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis). Photo: Monumental Network.

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Washington’s consistently inconsistent regular season slog continued on Monday night in Chicago. The Wizards were missing big men Marcin Gortat and Kris Humphries; guards Bradley Beal and Alan Anderson are still sidelined with injuries; Nene was limited due to a strained triceps; and Drew Gooden is battling a bad calf. Three opening day starters: unavailable.

Their only available bigs were Nene, Gooden, and DeJuan Blair. And Washington ranks second-to-last in NBA rebounding percentage, which would appear to be problematic in a matchup up against a tough Bulls front line of Joakim Noah, Pau GasolTaj Gibson, and Nikola Mirotic. Chicago is one of the top boarding teams in the league. Also: John Wall clearly needs a day off to deal with his various ailments.

Heading into Monday night, Chicago had won six of their last seven games, while Washington was scraping to win two games in a row. The dire situation was set up for Chicago to dominate Washington at the United Center. So then, of course, inexplicably, the short-handed Wizards handled the Bulls in stride for a 114-100 victory.

Washington sliced up Chicago’s top five defense with relative ease. Nene, making his first start since last April, immediately thumped the Bulls inside. He hounded Pau Gasol, finished multiple dunks, set massive screens, and throughly protected the rim. The Blair-Gooden pairing wasn’t the defensive disaster it was expected to be. Gooden was a positive pest, showing explosion around the rim like he was back in college at Kansas. Gary Neal did his Vinnie “Microwave” Johnson impression with beneficial scoring bursts. Otto Porter knocked down tough shots and helped out on the glass. Garrett Temple was an outside threat. The wild floaters of Ramon Sessions were dropping. Even Kelly Oubre slammed a dunk on a half court alley-oop toss. And Wall outplayed his point guard counter part, Derrick Rose. His sick block of Noah’s two-hand dunk attempt sent the Wiz bench, and those watching at home, into a state of euphoria.

Team Effort.

Early in the second quarter, Chicago took a 30-28 lead. The Wizards then went on a 22-5 run, fueled by the second unit. At halftime, Washington led 62-48. Their bench had outscored John Wall and the rest of the starters 32-30. Ten different players ended up scoring in the game for the Wizards, nine had at least three made buckets, and seven finished with point totals in double-figures. They impressively had three more offensive rebounds than (13-10) Chicago and attempted nineteen more shots as well.

Key Moment.

The key moment of the game was when Chicago trimmed Washington’s lead to four, 89-85, on a Doug McDermott four-point play. Over the next five minutes, the Wizards went on a 18-4 run. The Wall and Nene two-man game became unstoppable: Wall splashed two long jumpers when the Bulls defense went under the Big Brazilian’s screens, and when Chicago tried to hedge, Wall found Nene on two rolls to the hoop for easy baskets. During this pivotal stretch, Chicago committed five turnovers and shot 2-for-5 from the field. Washington went for 8-for-12 on field goals with zero miscues.

The exclamation point that symbolized how Washington outfought Chicago was when Rose threw the ball away at half court and Sessions had a clear lane for a break away dunk. Bulls guard Aaron Brooks was a few steps behind Ramon as he went up to the rim. The ball slipped out of Sessions’ hand, rattled around the rim and popped out: a blown dunk, an embarrassing moment. However, Rose stopped running at half-court and Brooks was no longer paying attention, allowing Temple to follow up the miss up with an easy put-back dunk.

Another “Shaqtin’ a Fool” Wiz crisis in Chi-Town had been averted.

The laid-back Fred Hoiberg was incensed at the lackadaisical play and waved the white flag by removing all of his starters at the 4:35 mark. The Chicago head coach admitted that Washington was the tougher team when it mattered:

After the Wizards secured their 17th victory of the season, Wall told CSN Washington’s Chris Miller that maybe his team has finally located the necessary ingredient for success.

“I think we have figured our identity out: be aggressive defensively, be grimy and dirty, that is the way we have always played,” Wall said. “Move the ball offensively. We need big shots go to me and Brad, but other guys are welcome to step up and make big shots. When we get out in transition, we are a tough team to beat.”


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(Picture from Monumental Network)

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Adam McGinnis
Reporter / Writer / Media at TAI
Adam is a bro from the Midwest who's been bopping around the District of Columbia for years. He's down with a range of sports, etc. and has covered the Washington Wizards for TAI since 2010.