Who had the Washington Wizards taking a 2-0 lead over the Chicago Bulls after two road games at United Center?
For any team, that is simply hard to believe.
Add in that the young Washington team blew a 17-point lead, trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter and faced difficulties on the inside with Marcin Gortat and Nene unable to match their brilliance from Game One. Where was the formula for victory?
That came in pace early. And came in execution late. This is not an inexperienced Wizards team. This is a Wizards team that is growing in confidence and finding ways to score more than their opponent in a 101-99 win at United Center. Maybe that is not so difficult against the Bulls, but it is also hard not to get drawn into their slug fest.
Chicago came back behind D.J. Augustin, but could not hit a shot down the stretch. The Bulls trailed by six points in overtime and had to scratch and claw their way back.
Kirk Hinrich had a chance to tie the game at the free throw line late in overtime and missed the front end forcing him to try to intentionally miss the second. Chicago could not get a second attempt and Washington won the game.
The Bulls just could not score when it mattered most to put the game out of reach and put the Wizards away. Washington spent much of the fourth quarter gaining confidence and aggression. Whoever has been able to control the pace has controlled the game. That much has been made clear in two games in this series.
This one was won for Washington the perimeter. Bradley Beal had 26 points on 9-for-20 shooting. He was brilliant early and struggled late as Chicago pushed back to get into the lead. John Wall had 16 points and Nene had 17.
Augustin led the Bulls with 25 points. Taj Gibson added 22 points and Joakim Noah had 20. Chicago just could not consistently get good shots or make those shots in the overtime. That has long been the Bulls’ weakness. And Washington forced Chicago to execute at a level higher than the team was capable of doing tonight.
Now the Bulls have their backs against the wall heading to the nation’s capital for the next two games. Are you ready to count them out?