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Bulls have no answer for Nene as Wizards take Game 1

Apr 20, 2014, 10:02 PM EDT

Nene, Carlos Boozer Nene, Carlos Boozer

It’s more than likely that the Chicago Bulls prepared to play a very different version of the Wizards team they ultimately faced to open the playoffs on Sunday.

Washington big man Nene had missed 21 games due to a knee injury, and had just barely begun to make his way back into the rotation for four out of his team’s last five regular season contests.

But he got the start in Game 1 of the playoffs in Chicago, and the Bulls had no answer. Nene finished with a team-high 24 points, to go along with eight rebounds, three assists and a couple of steals in leading the Wizards to a 102-93 victory.

Chicago’s defense did the job in shutting down John Wall and Bradley Beal, who combined to shoot just 7-of-25 from the field while scoring 29 points. But they were killed inside, with Nene and Marcin Gortat combining for 39 points and 21 rebounds.

All season long, it’s been the defense that’s won games for the Bulls. Chicago ranked second in the league in defensive efficiency, and somehow managed to secure the four seed in the East with an offense that ranked among the league’s worst. The Bulls forced just 10 turnovers in this one, however, and allowed the Wizards to shoot better than 48 percent.

There isn’t any one player Chicago can turn to for help offensively, but what the team can’t have is someone like D.J. Augustin playing 32 minutes off then bench and finishing just 3-of-15 from the field. Combine that with a rough 4-of-12 shooting night for Mike Dunleavy, along with limited touches for Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, and it gives you Chicago’s undesirable result.

The infusion of Nene into the starting lineup could have been enough of a wild card to steal Game 1, but the Bulls now are aware of exactly what they’re up against. It’ll be up to Tom Thibodeau to make the necessary adjustments, but Washington’s chances improve immensely with Nene on the floor, and the Bulls will need to find consistent offense from somewhere in order to even the series in Game 2 on Tuesday.

  1. goodtogo28 - Apr 20, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    DAGGER!!!

  2. uscoach - Apr 20, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    I know there is a long series to be played, but the Wiz are not going to be an easy out.

    • pantsfreezone - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:19 AM

      Wiz in 6. And the Bulls are going to need luck to win 2 games.

  3. fearthehoody - Apr 20, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    NBA = Fixed

  4. dolphindubs - Apr 20, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Funny….

    In Chicago before the game was over the fans were already starting to leave.

    In Indianapolis before the Pacers game was over the fans were already starting to leave.

    I thought all the internet trolls said that was only a Miami fans thing?

    • psung26 - Apr 20, 2014 at 10:45 PM

      Not only, but your fans are just the worst example of it.

    • pantsfreezone - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:20 AM

      Obviously, those fans don’t deserve their teams.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:39 AM

      But Heat fans actually did it during the NBA Finals, so it’s worse.

      • gofinsgoheatfloria - Apr 21, 2014 at 7:44 AM

        “Heat fans actually did it during the NBA Finals” only because they had an NBA Finals to go to. That’s the actual issue, and one that is seen here day after pathetic day. NBA GMs say the Heat have the 4th-best home court advantage in the league ( http://www.nba.com/news/2013-14-nba-gm-survey/ ). The game is played indoors so it isn’t the weather. Work it out, Sherlock.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        Well being in the Finals is even of more reason not to do it – knowing you have the basketball world’s undivided attention. So it actually makes the act of having done it even more unforgivable.

    • redbaronx - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      @dolphindubs – Miami fans did that during a Finals game. Are you really going to compare Chicago and Indi fans to Miami fans leaving a Finals game?

  5. rodge1 - Apr 20, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    @dolphindubs
    You’re totally right, all fans do it. The haters say that about Miami fans because that’s all they have left to say since the Heat keep winning.

  6. voorheesma - Apr 20, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    Well the more talented roster won. Get off the bulls jock. Very over-rated

  7. beach305 - Apr 20, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    I noticed with 34 sec to go and only down by 6, Bulls fans were leaving. I’m expecting to here a national outrage tomorrow on ESPN about this!

  8. dolphindubs - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:22 AM

    @psung26

    You have any data validating that opinion of yours?

  9. wethog66 - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:11 AM

    This was an even game throughout and the Wiz earned the victory down the stretch. I don’t get the steal/stole labels in regards to the Wiz taking game 1. The Wiz stole nothing.

  10. windycitymonstersofthemidway - Apr 21, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    Worst officiating seen this season — refs had the Bulls back on their heels with a quick 4 personal fouls on Chicago before the game seemed to even be underway. Have seen this before, the officiating can take all the steam out of a team with a heavy onslaught of early calls . . . and that’s what happened to Chicago.

    • sire2334 - Apr 21, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      Haha….if you say so. The fact is the Bulls just don’t have the fire power right now. Unfortunately, it’s on the bench in a suit. There’s still a long way to go but as a Wiz fan I’m impressed with the Bulls even making it this far and if they win, it will be an awesome effort by that team.

    • unxpexted1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 8:59 AM

      not even close. The bulls had the wizards in the bonus in EVERY quarter. In the second quarter the bulls had the wizards in the bonus with 8 minutes left in the quarter. So every foul was a free throw for the bulls. Def not time to complain about officiating.

    • redbaronx - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      @windycitymonstersofthemidway – You should check your game stats. Wizards had more fouls. Just take it like a man. Bulls got beat fair and square by the Wizards!

  11. unxpexted1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    Nice to see the Wizards come out and put in a solid effort. I think this will be a tough series for the Bulls. The wiz didn’t even play a great game, and have another level they can take it to when Beal and Wall are on. The bulls just did with the bulls do, and even scored more than usual. I called the wiz in 7 originally but, if Beal can grow up fast and knock down shots, it could be over quicker.

  12. aboogy123456 - Apr 21, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    A lot of Bulls fans were on here this weekend saying how the Wizards suck and have no chance, so it’s good for them to see their first wizards game of the year. The truth is, the Wizards are a better team, and they just need to play disciplined to win this series. They sure played disciplined game 1.

  13. redbaronx - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    Wiz in 6. I say 6 instead of 5 or 4 just because the Bulls are scrappy, and the Wiz kids (Beal / Wall) are just getting their feet wet in the playoffs. With that being said, they have a lot of playoff veterans like Ariza (who has a ring…), Nene, Andre, etc that have a good deal of playoff experience. I will not be surprise if the Wizards do close this out in less than 6. The Bulls just don’t have any offense to speak of, and it’s kind of a miracle they made it this far.

  14. sportsfan18 - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    Bulls have no answer for Nene?

    But the Bulls center is the Defensive Player of the Year…

  15. realfootballfan - Apr 21, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    Wizards are a bad match up for the Bulls.

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