After weeks of speculation, the Chicago Bulls know who they will play in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Bulls finished with the four seed in the Eastern Conference and will have home court advantage against the Washington Wizards.
In a year that saw the Bulls lose Derrick Rose to a knee injury again, a trade that sent Luol Deng to Cleveland and multiple injuries throughout, the Bulls have stuck together and are looking for a serious playoff run. In order to get to their goal, it all starts with the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards have really surprised a lot of NBA fans with their excellent back court play from John Wall and Bradley Beal who have been spectacular all season. The two are ready to leave their mark on the NBA Playoffs and it could spell trouble for the Bulls.
Tale of the Tape
Record: 44-38; Second in Southeast Division
vs. Bulls: 2-1
PPG: 100.7 (16th in NBA)
FG %: 45.9 %. (10th)
3-PT %: 38% (5th)
PPG: 99.4 (8th)
FG %: .458% (13th)
PPG: John Wall 19.3
APG: John Wall 8.8
RPG: Marcin Gortat 9.5
Series Schedule (All times Central) *- if necessary
Game 1: Wizards @ Bulls; Sunday April 20, 6:00 p.m
Game 2: Wizards @ Bulls; Tuesday April 22, 8:30 p.m.
Game 3: Bulls @ Wizards; Friday April 25, 7:00 p.m.
Game 4: Bulls @ Wizards; Sunday April 27, 12:00 p.m.
Game 5: Wizards @ Bulls; Tuesday April 29; TBA*
Game 6: Bulls @ Wizards; Thursday May 1; TBA*
Game 7: Wizards @ Bulls; Saturday May 3; TBA*
What advantage do the Wizards have over the Bulls this series?
The Wizards young backcourt possess some problems for the Bulls guard positions. Wall and Beal are tough matchups for the Bulls and could be the difference maker in the series. Beal has struggled in the past month, but when he turns it on he can really turn it on.
“John Wall and Bradley Beal should have a significant advantage over Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin, and I think we’ve seen them have some success against the Bulls during the regular season,” said Mehic. “Wall has averaged over 20 points and 8 assists on 50% shooting against Chicago, ultimately leading the Wizards to a 2-1 series lead over the Bulls during the season.”
But the playoffs are a new game and the Wall/Beal combo might have to play their best to have success against a tough Chicago defense. “Of course, the playoffs are an entirely different atmosphere, so we’ll just have to see how Wall and Beal handle their first postseason appearance.”
Will Bradley Beal make an impact?
I really don’t expect him to have a “coming out party” against the Bulls, especially given their elite defense and tendency to force mid-range jump shots, which is something Beal has had a hard time of knocking down at a consistent rate. He’s certainly a versatile scorer and we’ve seen him improve his ball handling ability, but let’s remember that Beal is just 20 years old.– Wizards blogger Ben Mehic