Recap and Open Thread for Game 16
Regular Season Game 16
Wizards (6-9) vs. Bulls (6-9)
CSN and NBA League Pass
I'm going to be gone all day, so we're going to combine the recap and preview this time.
I have to say, I was more impressed by the win over Atlanta on Tuesday than the win last night. Obviously, the Wizards played a better game yesterday, but we knew the Wizards could win games like these. It's the games where they aren't scoring a ton of points and they need to rely on defensive stops that we weren't so sure about.
I expected Charlotte to try to grind it out and force the Wizards to win a low-scoring game, but their perimeter defense stunk, allowing way too many open shots. It also helped that the Big 3 were shooting the lights out, and Gilbert Arenas had arguably his most impressive all around game with 33 points and 11 assists. Still, the Wizards defense absolutely stunk last night. There's no other way around it. You can't let Charlotte shoot 59 percent in the first half and 54 for the game. It's not like Charlotte is an offensive powerhouse either: they rank in the bottom 5 in the league in points per game. In the end, the Wizards forced enough turnovers to win, but against a better team, that would have been a loss.
Moving ahead to tonight, the Wizards look to finally get a win on the road against the Bulls tonight. You'll probably remember my proposed wager with Matt at Blogabull about which team will win more games. So far, both teams are struggling, and I don't think either of us wishes we made the wager.
I love when these two teams play because they are complete opposites of each other. Scott Skiles preaches attention to detail, whether it be on or off the court. They run disciplined sets offensively and beat you with solid perimeter defense on the other end. The problem with the Bulls is that they're wound too tightly. Nobody on that team is a consistent difference maker on either end of the court. Ben Wallace was supposed to be that guy, but it simply hasn't happened. Chicago has nobody who can score consistently when their offensive sets break down, meaning that you see a lot of low-percentage contested long jump shots.
The Wizards, on the other hand, have a ton of offensive talent. They have guys who can score in any given situation, and they only struggle offensively when they get lazy. When the shot clock winds down, the Wizards have a pletora of players that can create their own shot. However, they don't pay much attention to detail, whether it be perimeter defense or offensive scheming. If you put the two teams together, you'd have the perfect team.
Bulls blogs: Blogabull
Whenever these two teams play, it's close. There was that epic matchup at the end of the year in the United Center that featured a red-hot Ben Gordon and the charging call on Jared Jeffries when the Wizards tried to tie it. I think this one will be close as well, but I'm not encouraged by the Wizards inability to defend the perimeter against Charlotte. The Bulls should get plenty of open looks and score enough to win this one at home.
Prediction: Bulls 96, Wizards 89
If you're online during the game, give a shout!