The Bulls lost their second consecutive game for only the second time this season. After allowing 30 points in both of the first two quarters (and scoring only 13 themselves in the woeful first), the Bulls spent most of the last 24 minutes clawing their way back into this contest, mainly on the efforts of the bench, before running out of steam and falling by 14 to a tough Wizards team.
Joakim Noah (1-5, 3 points, 10 rebounds) looked bad again, getting caught flat footed in the paint several times on open dunks for one of Washington’s bigs. Pau Gasol (5-12, 12 points, 13 rebounds) wasn’t too much better, specifically in the first quarter. Jimmy Butler (2-12, 10 points) and Kirk Hinrich (1-3, 3 points) both looked poor as well, leaving Derrick Rose (8-19, 19 points, 4 rebounds) alone to carry the burden offensively. Encouragingly, he was game for most of his playtime, with only a few ill-advised threes (stop me if you’ve heard that before) marring his performance.
Really, it was the bench that ever made this even something of a contest (the Bulls got within 5 at one point), led by Aaron Brooks (6-13, 16 points), Tony Snell (3-6, 9 points), E’Twuan Moore (3-4, 6 points) and, to a lesser extent, Taj Gibson (1-5, 2 points, 3 rebounds) and Nikola Mirotic (2-4, 6 points, 5 rebounds) holding down the fort for extended periods for long stretches of this game. Really, looking at this game, the Bulls never really had a shot. Turns out Mike Dunleavy is sort of important.
The Wizards were led by Marcin Gortat (10-16, 21 points, 13 rebounds), Bradley Beal (7-16, 17 points), John Wall (6-15, 16 points, 12 assists), Nene (7-11, 15 points, 11 rebounds), and former Bull Rasual Butler (5-8, 13 points), who absolutely slaughtered the Bulls off the catch in the second half.
While this is hardly a game to take too many positive from, in the end it was a good, playoff caliber opponent playing well at home on a night when the Bulls’ best players didn’t have it (and their nominal best finally did, again). Still, rough loss made rougher by those recent bad losses to Brooklyn and Utah. The Wizards played some great defense in this one.
Player(s) of the Game: Derrick Rose.
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