Here's your recap roundup for the Washington Wizards' 90-86 victory Tuesday over the Chicago Bulls. Be sure to check out our StoryStream for additional coverage, as well as postgame interviews with Randy Wittman, John Wall, Bradley Beal, A.J. Price and Martell Webster, courtesy of Monumental Network.
Wall finished with game highs of 27 points, nine assists and three blocks, and he added eight rebounds and made 11 of 13 from the free throw line. He committed one turnover and no fouls in nearly 37 minutes as Washington remained mathematically in the hunt for the playoffs.
"As funny as you might think it is, we're not eliminated yet," Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said. "Stranger things have happened. Has anybody hit the lotto in here? Let's go buy some tickets."
It's easy to have that kind of belief after the Wizards held the Bulls (40-33) to 31.8-percent shooting and 37 points in the second half. In a clash of two of the NBA's stingiest defenses, the lock-down effort was a perfect complement to John Wall's 27 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and three blocks.
"I think we're better defensively than the Bulls," Wizards forward Martell Webster said. "They're just a lot more physical than we are. We play a team-oriented game, and they got some bruisers over there. That's the way they play. I think we play a better team defensive game."
''We want to, but we know we probably gave, like, eight games away since I've been back,'' Wall said. ''Detroit twice, Charlotte, Orlando, Toronto, Minnesota. If we had won those games, we would be right there. We're still fighting - we're not going to give up on the season - but that's a very long shot. We've probably got to win every game; they've got to lose every game.''
The Wizards got their eighth straight win at the Verizon Center as they beat the Bulls 90-86 on Tuesday night. John Wall was not far from a triple-double, as he had 27 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. This is the first time the Wizards have won as many as eight straight at home since the '06-'07 season.
Not only did John Wall carry the team offensively, he completely dominated the game. Scoring 27 points along side 8 rebounds and 9 assists, John Wall flirted with a triple double all night long on the way to victory. John Wall was simply too fast for Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson tonight. Hinrich, who looked frustrated throughout the whole game, got ejected after committing multiple fouls trying to stop Wall. I would've liked to have seen Wall settle for less pull up jump shots, but he did a great job mixing it up on offense. At times, Wall took it to the basket at will overpowering his defender, but he also knocked down a plethora of perimeter shots. If John Wall continues to play like this, and I don't see why he wouldn't, he'll definitely earn his inevitable max contract. Dominating the best defensive team in the league doesn't happen often. It takes a special player to do what John Wall did tonight.
"The main thing I want to do is keep my turnovers down, while I'm leading my team," Wall said after the game. "I want to get the assist and play defense. I like getting blocks. It gets our team excited and puts more enthusiasm into the game and it puts more enthusiasm in my game. I don't think people think I can chase down and block shots, but I do."
The first half proved to be a tough task for the Wizards, who showed a lack of intensity, letting Chicago climb all over them to grab boards on both ends of the floor. But thanks to some halftime adjustments, the Wizards came back and ended up out-hustling and outscoring the Chicago Bulls, holding them to only 37 points in the second half. The defensive intensity was a complete 180 from what was seen in the first half, and Randy Wittman was quick to acknowledge it. The Wizards are going to have to bring that same second half intensity to Toronto on the road for their next game.
The third quarter belonged to the Wizards, though, and John Wall, in particular. The Bulls led 62-54 with about five and a half minutes left in the third quarter when Wall took over, scoring13 of his 27 points in the third and putting Washington ahead for the first time 65-64 with 3:38 left in the period. The teams battled back and forth, with Wall trying to put the Wizards up for good and Boozer refusing to let him do it when some slick outside shooting and unstoppable moves and finishes in the paint.
Nene (sore right knee) played for the first time since March 23, getting 10 points on 5-for-11 shooting and seven rebounds, four assists and a block in 28 minutes. His assist to Okafor for a dunk gave the Wizards the winning basket with 45.9 seconds left. SG Bradley Beal (left ankle sprain) came off the bench for the second game in a row, but he wasn't nearly as effective as he was in scoring 24 points to beat the Raptors on Sunday. He appeared a step slow and finished eight points on 3-for-11 shooting.
Beal had missed 11 of 14 games with a sprained ankle but sank six three-pointers in Sunday's 109-92 home win against the Raptors. But during warmups Tuesday night, the ankle began acting up, Beal said, and the pain became especially intense in the second half.
Beal finished with eight points and exited the game for good with 7 minutes 58 seconds left. His final point came via 1 of 2 free throws to give Washington a 71-69 lead with 9:33 to play, and Beal said afterward he told Coach Randy Wittman to remove him from the game as he saw fit.
While Wall dictated the pace of the game, fellow guard A.J. Price helped deliver the win with 8 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. Perhaps lost in box score Trevor Booker's intensity on defense helped change the game and the Wizards held the Bulls to 37 points in the second half on 31 percent shooting from the field.
The Wizards have had to manage without Price's ball-handling ability. Starting point guard John Wall has to play extended minutes, but Price was on the floor with him simultaneously down the stretch because shooting guard Bradley Beal re-injured his sprained left ankle.
He went out at 7:58 and didn't return. Price played the entire fourth quarter. A free agent after the season, he hopes his run continues in Washington.
"I definitely want to be here," said Price, who doesn't believe his groin injury be 100% until the off-season. "I've expressed that many times as far as coming back."
And a lack of Taj and Joakim Noah allowed the Wizards to really exploit the Bulls big men on high pick-and-rolls all game. The Bulls battled foul trouble or reacting too slowly to even foul as John Wall repeatedly forced the Bulls to over-help. Wall showed a little bit of everything tonight, with a game-high 27 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and only a single turnover. Wall was aggressive on the mentioned high screens as well as showing no mercy in transition, working his way to the line (11-13 FT) or coming off screens for an improved midrange jumper.
Trailing 83-82 with 3:18 left, Nazr Mohammed looked to give the Bulls the lead on his put-back, but it was waved off as an offensive interference call. Hinrich started pleading his case with official Sean Corbin, who promptly handed him a technical.
The problem was that Hinrich was complaining about a non-call on his drive to the basket the play before, and when he tried explaining that, along came technical No. 2 and the ejection.
"I didn't, but in that situation late in a game, you just got to try to avoid that happening,'' Hinrich said when asked if he felt the calls were warranted. "I got to bite my tongue and let it go.''
Losing to the Wizards felt much worse than losing to the Mavericks. Getting beaten by clutch shots from Dirk Nowitzki is a little different than getting beaten by clutch shots from A.J. Price (10 fourth quarter points) and Trevor Ariza (7 fourth quarter points).
While John Wall (27 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, 3 blocked shots) was doing the superstar thing and Washington's role players were delivering, the Bulls were unraveling physically and psychologically, which sort of made this game a microcosm of the season.
Of greatest significance, far more significant than the 90-86 final that marked the Wizards' eighth straight home victory, the Bulls also lost Taj Gibson to the same MCL sprain in his left knee that previously sidelined him for 10 games.
A.J. Price however knocked down the dagger trey bring the Wizards to their first lead at 76-73. Nate Robinson and Hinrich fortunately, somehow found spark for three-point range as they nailed a couple open looks here and there. Nonetheless, Ariza answered back hitting another three as the Wizards eventually regained.