It wasn't very difficult to grasp what defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau's game plan was in Game 1 against Washington on easter Sunday: Take away the perimeter, run shooters off the 3 point line, and prevent dribble penetration, particularly from John Wall.
In a way, Thibodeau succeeded. John Wall and Bradley Beal shot the ball terribly, being lured into long 2 after long 2. When either touched the ball, Chicago sent pressure almost immediately, forcing the ball out of their hands early in possessions. Thibb's game plan worked.
And absolutely none of it mattered.
Heading into the series, it was thought by most (outside of DC) that Chicago had an advantage in the frontcourt, with Defensive Player of the Year candidate Joakim Noah along side Sixth Man of the Year candidate Taj Gibson. It seemed to make perfect sense: Focus on taking away the 3 point threat and dribble penetration from the perimeter, and let your ace front court defend the interior.
From the first bucket, Nene physically assaulted Noah on both ends of the floor, banging his way to the basket on one end and crowding Noah in the high post on the other. Everyone knows adjustments are coming in game 2, but what exactly can Chicago do? More specifically, what can they do to take away Washington's interior without giving up more opportunities for the Wizards on the perimeter?
Taking away Nene has to be the top priority in Game 2 for Tom Thibodeau, but sending extra attention to Nene, a fantastic passing big man, will open up the Wizards driving lanes and 3 point opportunities. As much as Bulls fans are claiming to have faith in Thibodeau to game plan around Nene in Game 2, a question they should be asking themselves arises:
When extra attention is given to Nene, is it yet another great game plan by Tom Thibodeau, or are the Bulls falling into the exact trap that the Wizards want?