Best and worst moments from the Wizards’ 101-99 overtime win over the Bulls in Chicago.
Best Rally: The Wizards were down 10 with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation. Chicago was at home, in an absolute must-win. The Wizards were led by youngsters with no playoff experience. Everyone with any sense assumed that game was over. Don’t lie. I mean, you should have seen what this item looked like then! But they forced overtime, and just dominated in the extra session, and now they’re up two games to none.
Best History: Oh yeah, about that. The Wizards/Bullets haven’t been up 2-0 in a series since 1982. Needless to say, no one in the universe was alive then. Certainly no one who’s still awake to read this. And they’ve never won the first two games of a series on the road.
Best Defense: The Bulls are renowned for their defense, and rightly so. But the Wizards kept Chicago scoreless from the 3:53 mark of the fourth quarter until the 1:15 mark of overtime. That’s 7 minutes and 38 seconds, with zero points. That’s good defense.
Best Break: The Wizards needed a break. They got one with 2.4 seconds left in overtime, when Kirk Hinrich missed the first of two free throws with his team down by two. That was the game.
Best Shot: There were a bunch of crucial shots from the Wizards in the fourth quarter, but for my money none was bigger than this. The Wizards were down six with less than three minutes left and Bradley Beal had just missed a shot. Then they got the offensive rebound, and he did this.
Worst Offensive Foul: Late in overtime is not the time to pick up an offensive foul during an inbounds play, John Wall. Like, really, not at all.
Worst Quarter: The Wizards had many poor third quarters during the regular season. It happened again on Tuesday. They needed 3 minutes and 21 seconds to get on the board. They were outscored 26-14. They allowed Chicago to take its first lead of the game. And John Wall picked up four fouls. That was all bad.
Worst Free-Throw Shooting: Whatever you want to say about the refereeing, the Wizards were abysmal from the line, making just 12 of 24 attempts through the end of regulation. They Wizards also made just 3 of their first 11 attempts in the second half. Needless to say, that is not the path toward playoff success.
Worst Nerves: Trust me, Gortat, everyone was right there with you. For like two hours.
Best Bench Weapon: Andre Miller came into the game and immediately hit two buckets. It was exciting!
Best Actual Bench Weapon: Okay, okay, it’s D.J. Augustin. He came into the game and scored like a million consecutive points, and finished with 25 points in nearly 41 minutes. “He’s done it all year,” Tom Thibodeau told TNT during the game.
Best Playoffs: The game featured a pair of double-technicals, seen here. Yes, that means four total technicals. This is why seven-game series are enjoyable, yes?
Best Quote: TNT’s Steve Kerr had this to say, early in the game: “What’s fairly obvious is that Washington is the much more talented team. They’re faster, they’re more skilled, they shoot the ball better from the perimeter.” It sure seemed that way for most of the game. Kerr went on to repeat the point several times.
Best Quote, II: TNT’s Charles Barkley had this to say at halftime: “Man, this team is loaded. They’re good at every position. Nobody has to play well for them to win….I don’t know if they got enough experience to go deep — really deep — in the playoffs, but I think they’re gonna win this series.”
Best Stat: Midway through the first quarter, the Wizards run over the previous 12 minutes of game action dating to Sunday night was 33-12 , according to TNT. That’s pretty strong. Of course, they later crushed that with a 20-4 run spanning the fourth quarter and overtime.
Worst Stat: Chicago had 17 offensive rebounds, and 18 second-chance points. The Wizards had 8 and 10. Chicago also had a 44-22 advantage in points in the paint. At first glance, those were Washington’s biggest problems of the game. Well, that or the free-throw shooting.
Best Start: Um, this is kind of complicated. I thought it was 7-0, when the Wizards hit their first three shots. Then I thought maybe it was 15-6. But then I thought perhaps it was 29-12. When does a start end, exactly?
Best Other Start: The Wizards scored the first six points of overtime. That was actually more impressive than the start of the game.
Worst Loss of Momentum: The first quarter was great. The second quarter, less so. A 14-2 Chicago run turned a 13-point lead into a one-point lead. Still, the Wizards steadied themselves and went into halftime up by seven. Thanks to….
Best Leader: After Chicago got within one point, John Wall outscored the
Raptors Bulls 7-1 to finish the half.
John Wall had a nice outside shooting touch in the 1st half for the Wizards pic.twitter.com/Goye1PuSAM— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 23, 2014
Worst Timeout: Late in the first half, with momentum fleeing, the Wizards looked frazzled and Randy Wittman took a timeout. That all sounds fine. Problem was, Bradley Beal had found himself open and drained a three-pointer. The basket was waved off thanks to the timeout. The Wizards still got a two-point basket after the timeout.
Best First Quarter Box Score: Hi, Leonsises.
Best Buzz: FINE TED, THERE’S GOING TO BE SO MUCH BUZZ NOW. YOU WIN. No, but seriously. There will.
Reminder if the Wiz win tonight we’re doing Fox 5 hits tomorrow in hospital gowns w/ thermometers, ice compress etc #wizardsfever— Eric Bickel (@EBJunkies) April 23, 2014
Worst Starting Time: I’ve stayed up late to watch Wizards’ West Coast games. Chicago isn’t exactly the West Coast. No, 12:30 a.m. is not really past my bedtime, but if you have a kiddie who likes the Wiz, they couldn’t even have watched the opening tip, unless your household has a different bedtime than mine. I think that’s a bit sad, but obviously, that’s sports in 2014.
Worst Non-Foul Call: Have you noticed how biased these items are in favor of the Washington team? Although Steve Kerr actually said Chicago got beneficial refereeing. Anyhow:
Worst Foul Call: I mean, there were a million. On both sides. For the benefit of the quotes, though, let’s remember the loose-ball foul on Bradley Beal, when he appeared to be buried under other bodies.
“Are you kidding me?” Steve Buckhantz asked.
“Hahahaha,” Phil Chenier responded. “I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen a couple of calls from Joey tonight. And I’ve always liked his calls. I just disagree with several of them. I mean, Butler falls on top of Beal there. I don’t understand how Beal got called for the foul.”
Worst Missed Basket Interference: Hi Carlos Boozer.
Uh you can’t do that I don’t think pic.twitter.com/uYbMbz8LAn— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) April 23, 2014
Best Backcourt (For One Half): John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 17 points in the first quarter. The Bulls as a team had 20. At halftime, Wall and Beal had 27 points (and 1 turnover); the rest of the Wizards had 29 points.
Worst Backcourt (For a Different Half): In the second half, Wall and Beal combined to score just 13 points, to go along with four turnovers. (Note: This was obviously written before Beal went banana feathers late in the fourth quarter, single-handedly keeping Washington in the game. He wasn’t worst anything. Feel free to ignore this. The perils of writing on deadline.)
Worst Pose: Hi Carlos Boozer.
So was Boozer setting a pick here? pic.twitter.com/f5kPc6fliI— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) April 23, 2014
Best Weekend: Coming home, with a two-game lead, and a chance to pull away or even clinch the series? Look, I’ve been hard on some of the Wizards home crowds in recent seasons, but those games will be electric.