In their playoff opener Sunday night, the Washington Wizards defeated the Chicago Bulls 102-93. Nene took complete control of the paint and scored 24, Trevor Ariza dropped 18, John Wall added 16 in his postseason debut, and Marcin Gortat contributed a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Even though at points the Wizards looked like they weren’t up for the task they collected themselves and pulled out the win.
The Wizards led most of the first half but never by a large margin. At halftime the Bulls rallied to a six-point lead and then scored 10 of the first 13 points in the third quarter to go up by 13. Yet by the end of the quarter the Wiz Kids cut that deficit down to just three. Nene and the rest of the team caught fire in the fourth quarter and outscored the Bulls 30-18. The usual closing Bulls scored just six points in the final six minutes of this first-round playoff game.
With Nene returning to the lineup the Washington Wizards feel energized and ready to take control of the series. “After yesterday’s practice I knew these guys were focused like they haven’t been before and that’s a good sign,” Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said. Considering this is the first time the Wizards have made the playoffs since 2006 the team seems prepared to make a statement this year against the Chicago Bulls.
Tune in for Game 2 this Tuesday in Chicago.