Well, that escalated quickly. The Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls began their preseason's in similar fashion to the way last season's first round playoff series between the two ended -- with heated exchanges and a Wizards win.
1. Paul Pierce is officially a Wizard
No, we do not endorse fighting on this site.
But you can go ahead and add Pierce's name to the ever-extending list of players involved in this rivalry. After a tough foul on Jimmy Butler, Pierce scuffled with Joakim Noah as both benches cleared to put an end to the first-quarter scuffle.
Via Truth About It's Kyle Weidie, here's Pierce's foul on Butler:
The poke heard 'round the globe ensued, followed by #boxinghands, via @DCSportsNexus:
Here is Paul Pierce vs Joakim Noah, the poke & pose (NSFW Language) https://t.co/NxV99hN65d #Wizards #Bulls— Chris Ford (@DCSportsNexus) October 7, 2014
We shouldn't be surprised, though. It all started during pre-game introductions:
Paul Pierce just went over to Benny The Bull during intros and pretended like he was going to punch him. And so it begins!— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) October 7, 2014
That Pierce guy, he's a real bully.
2. Kevin Seraphin joins the fun
For Seraphin, it all started way back on Draft Day, when he explained his style of play by forming a fist with one hand and pounding it into his other hand. Then again, he didn't speak much English either. But no language was needed to explain this no-nonsense screen he set on Butler in the third quarter last night:
The screen itself wasn't anything terrible. It was a hard pick set on a player trying to keep up with a sprinting John Wall. Nikola Mirotic didn't call out the screen to warn Butler what was behind him, so he deserves most of the fault for allowing him to run blindly into Seraphin.
Butler understood the situation:
"I think it was a good screen," Butler acknowledged. "My teammates just didn't call it out. It was hard, but okay."
3. No Nene
That happened a lot sooner than expected.
Officially Nene not playing is being called "just rest." #WizardsTalk @CSNMA #WizBulls @CSNWizards— J. Michael (@JMichaelCSN) October 7, 2014
It was only a matter of time, though certainly we would have enjoyed seeing the Brazilian big man on the court last night. Not much to be said, in any case. Regular season/postseason health is obviously more important than preseason minutes.
4. Kris Humphries' night ends early
Starting in place of the resting Nene, Humphries played a solid nine minutes last night before heading to the locker room after cutting his hand.
He fought in the paint, both offensively and defensively, and stretched the defense with his ability to hit the midrange shot. Unfortunately, though, we won't see any more of him during the WIzards' final two games of this road swing.
EIght stitches were required to treat the cut.
5. Bulls deserved to win?
But don't shoot the messenger. These aren't my words. They come from Sam Smith over at Bulls.com:
The Bulls Monday opened the 2014-15 preseason with an 85-81 loss to the Washington Wizards. Though, unofficially, make it 1-0 for the Bulls.
The focus of the blog is solely on how the Bulls looked regardless of their opponent last night, but it's nice to see the Wizards beat a Chicago team that he felt looked great coming out of the gates. The Bulls are no pushover; their stars and contributing pieces did some very nice work, yet the WIzards were able to come away with the win in Chicago. That's really important to see, especially since the WIzards still have a tooonnnnn of work to do themselves.
Wall, Pierce, Otto Porter, and even Bradley Beal struggled offensively. But the bench produced 45 points, with Glen Rice Jr. leading the way. That's a great sign for a team in desperate need of consistent bench production.