Wizards-Bulls Game 3, Best and Worst

April 25

John Wall was plenty hyped up for the Wizards first playoff game in six years but it wasn’t enough to lead them to victory (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports).

Best and worst moments from the  Wizards’ 100-97 loss to Chicago at Verizon Center.

Best Dunk: Early in the first quarter, John Wall grabbed a steal in the open court and soared for a left-handed dunk while seemingly peering down into the basket. Would you expect anything less from the reigning slam dunk champion? Alas, there was no Nae-Nae celebration afterward. This time, there was a game to be played.

 

Best Ankle-Breaker: On the next play, Wall again turned to showmanship, dribbling inside, then out before shaking Kirk Hinrich out of his defensive stance and into a backward tumble. While Hinrich stumbled over, Wall strode ahead for the bucket. Not even Hinrich’s special vision glasses could have prepared him for that move.

Best Miss: Perhaps he was thinking of that incredible backward, no-look shot he made against Chicago back in January, because Wall busted out his acrobatics again on Friday. It looked cool. The lane was clear. But style points didn’t equal real points in this case — the shot rolled off the rim.

Best Performance: Entering Friday’s game, Mike Dunleavy was averaging 10 points in two playoff contests. The Chicago swingman had 10 after the first quarter. By night’s end, the former Duke player had 35 points, including a playoff franchise-record eight three-pointers. And for those clamoring for Trevor Ariza to move over and lock him down like he did to D.J. Augustin in Game 2: He couldn’t. He was already guarding Dunleavy.

Worst Time to Jump on the Wizards Bandwagon: Between my count and hearsay, the following people were unofficially at Friday’s game: RG3, Doug Williams, Fred Davis (in a Bulls hat), Clinton Portis, Dikembe Mutumbo, Adrien Broner, Etan Thomas, Jahidi White, Mayor Vince Gray. But the star power proved incapable of rallying the Wizards to victory.

Worst Mismatch: Nene versus Jimmy Butler in the fourth quarter. Outmeasured by four inches and 30 pounds, Butler deserves credit for not backing down after being elbowed by Nene following a basket. But with the two standing toe-to-toe and Nene ramming his forehead into Butler’s while grabbing his neck like the early stages of a WWE match, it was clear Butler wanted little to no part of Nene. Yet while Nene won the tough-guy battle, Butler was the last man standing after Nene was ejected for his actions.


Worst Way to End the Half: The crowd was amped. The Wizards were rolling on a 9-0 run. Everyone was on their feet. So what did Wall do? He … airballed a three-pointer?! Not quite the resounding finish to the first half, but fortunately for him, the Wizards still held a 51-48 lead.

Worst Fan Distraction Tactic: The entire lower bowel of the Verizon Center was given red “DC Rising” T-shirts, with those behind the basket also getting red thunder sticks. Contrary to what some may think, the sight of fans in red — a color also worn by the Bulls and their fans — waving red sticks wasn’t so intimidating. The Bulls did shoot just 66.7 percent, but they hit six of their seven attempts in the final 18 seconds.

Worst Time to Foul: It’s never smart to foul on a three-point shot. But when Bradley Beal hit Chicago’s Mike Dunleavy on the arm while he shot a three, he not only fouled a player who was 4-for-5 from deep, but he also did it with the Wizards clinging to a three-point lead.

Worst Shooting: The Wizards’ 15-for-21 showing from the foul line was an improvement from their 66.7 percent rate in the first two games, but in a game decided by three points, every shot, especially the “free” ones, are critical.

Worst Officiating: Twice the referees called a flagrant foul on Friday. Twice they went to the monitors and changed their mind. Perhaps that means they should be rewarding for ultimately making the right call. But what would a game be without complaining about how the refs weren’t perfect? Some fans were clamoring for the return of Joey Crawford after Friday’s game.

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