All season long the Chicago Bulls have made it a habit of dropping winnable games and losing to bad teams. On Tuesday night, the trend unfortunately continued as they traveled to our nation's capital and fell to the Washington Wizards, 90-86.
Give the Wizards some credit as they have been playing well since John Wall returned from injury, but despite that, this was a game Chicago had to win in order to better position themselves for an opportunity to possibly advance past the first round of the playoffs.
With the loss, the Bulls are now in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and looking at a first round matchup with the Indiana Pacers, a team they would much rather avoid. With just nine games remaining on the schedule, there is still time for Chicago to move up a spot or two in the standings, but you have to wonder how their psyche is at this point in the season, especially as injuries continue to mount.
Taj Gibson looks to have reinjured his left knee in the second quarter and will have an MRI on Wednesday to assess the severity. Hopefully, it isn’t too bad, but there is always the possibility that this time, one of Tom Thibodeau’s key reserves could be out for a long time.
With the exception of Kirk Hinrich (eight points, four assists), all of the Bulls starters scored in double figures. Carlos Boozer (19 points, 12 rebounds) led Chicago’s balanced scoring attack and Nazr Mohammed (12 points, 12 rebounds) had his best game as a Bull, notching a double-double. Luol Deng (13 points, eight rebounds) had a solid game, as did Jimmy Butler (13 points, four rebounds). Nate Robinson (17 points) was also good off the bench. The Bulls took great care of the ball, committing only seven turnovers in the game and were +6 scoring in the paint (40-34) and +7 in second-chance points scored (13-6). But that’s about as good as it got for the Bulls against the Wizards.
Chicago allowed Washington to shoot 42 percent from the field and 46 percent from three. The Wizards also outrebounded the Bulls 51-45 and the home team had no answers on how to slow down Washington’s fast break as they were outscored 13-2 in that category. Frustration was also evident as Kirk Hinrich was ejected in the fourth quarter for arguing with the officials.
The Bulls shot 39 percent from the field and 22 percent from the three-point line. It’s hard to win when you shoot the ball so poorly. Tom Thibodeau shortened his rotation to just eight and as a result, Chicago’s bench was blown out in the scoring category, 35-21. Luol Deng was just 5-15 from the field and reserve Daequan Cook was scoreless, going 0-4 on his shot attempts. And again, Taj Gibson (four points) played just under 10 minutes in the game before leaving with another knee injury.
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