The Washington Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls on opening week by 2 points, 102-100. Coming into tonight it was clear that play-in positioning could be at stake and that this will be a close one. This will be remembered as a game that the Bulls didn’t really try very hard to win: they made many careless and unforced errors down the stretch, and gave the Wizards multiple life-lines and opportunities to snatch the game. Perhaps the Bulls are already in tank-mode. The fact that the Wizards didn’t win this one is a testament to.... well, just read some of Kevin Broom’s analysis on this and other #SoWizards losses.
The NBC Sports Washington broadcast highlighted the following interesting statistics, going into the 4th quarter: The Wizards were, until tonight, perfect at closing out games in which they led after 3 quarters (9-0 so far). They entered the 4th leading by a point, 81-80. And everybody is already talking about the Bulls about to tank hard. So the stage was seemingly set for another somewhat un-inspiring win by the Wizards. The Bulls led 105-111 with about a minute to go, and as if they were trying to amass another L, committed several careless turnovers (overall 19 on the night; which sort of canceled out vs. the Wizards’ 18) to allow the Wizards to easily get to within two, 109-111. But then the Wizards failed to capitalize, and, admittedly, the Bulls were also perfect 4-from-4 from the stripe to close this one out.
Porzingis had 28 points, but also 0-from-6 from deep (I wanted to say for another game, but actually on Sunday Porzi went for 1-from-6 from deep) and 5 turnovers. He did manage to get to the line 16 times (and cash in 12 times). Kuzma had an O.K. offensive night, contributing 21 points on 18 field goal attempts, but also had 2-from-5 from deep. Kispert also went for 2-for-5 from deep. Avdija had 4 steals, 6 assists, 10 points, 0 turnovers, and only 2 foul in almost 40 minutes and had a reasonably effective game.
For Chicago, DeRozan dominated the 4th quarter with 15 in that stretch alone, and 27 for the game. Vucevic had one of his best games of the season (doesn’t that happen all too often for opposing centers playing the Wizards?), scoring 25 on 16 shots, 3-from-5 from deep, and just 1 foul and 1 turnover. Zach LaVine also added 25 with 5-from-9 from beyond the arc, but also seemed to have checked-out a bit this season, manifested by his 6 turnovers, some pretty careless.
Ultimately, with both teams careless with the ball (18 & 19 turnovers), what decided the game was Chicago shooting above 43 perfect from three, to Washington’s subpar 29 percent.
Next, the Wizards travel to Indianapolis where they face the Pacers on Friday night.
Here are the highlights from tonight: