NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 22nd (All times Eastern)
(5) Washington Wizards (1-0) at (4) Chicago Bulls (0-1), 9:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls will try to knot up their series with the Washington Wizards Tuesday night as the two sides meet again at the United Center.
The Wizards upset the Bulls, 102-93, Sunday night in Chicago.
"After yesterday's practice I knew these guys were focused like they haven't been before and that's a good sign," said Wizards coach Randy Wittman.
Nene scored 24 points and the Wizards had big contributions from all five starters in their first playoff game in six years. They overcame a 13-point deficit and claimed home-court advantage from their much more-experienced foes.
"It's always a game of runs," said Wittman. "I always tell our guys, 'Stay in the moment.' When we got down 13, we stayed in the moment."
The Bulls remained in the lead following a 14-4 run in second quarter until Trevor Ariza's free throws with 4:17 remaining put the Wizards in front.
The shots were part of a 14-3 run that gave the Wizards an eight-point lead with 25 seconds left.
Nene rattled in a shot during the spurt but the biggest points might have been Marcin Gortat's baseline jumper after he rebounded a John Wall miss, pushing Washington's lead to six with 34.2 seconds remaining.
Gortat totaled 15 points and 13 rebounds, Ariza had 18 points, Wall scored 16 with six rebounds and six assists and Bradley Beal had 13 points and seven assists for fifth-seeded Washington.
The Wizards also got a huge boost from veteran Andre Miller. He scored 10 off the bench and played brilliantly in the fourth quarter.
The fourth-seeded Bulls, in the playoffs for the second straight year without injured star Derrick Rose, were led by 16 points apiece from Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin. Joakim Noah added 10 points and 10 rebounds and Jimmy Butler scored 15.
"Our defense wasn't very good; 102 points, 48 percent (shooting), outrebounded. It's hard to win like that," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
Maybe the Bulls can garner some momentum from Monday's announcement that Noah was named Defensive Player of the Year.
"This award is a team award," he said after accepting the trophy.
The Bulls led the NBA in opponents' scoring and finished second in opponents' field-goal percentage.
The defense should improve, but the offense remains a concern for the Bulls. Chicago was held to 39 points in the second half, where a pure scorer, which the Bulls don't have, could take over a game. Chicago also shot 42 percent from the field and 25 percent from long range.
Washington will host Game 3 on Friday night.
04/22 10:30:43 ET