You knew it. I knew it. The Washington Wizards proved it from the opening tip of Game One through to the final buzzer in Game Five. The Wizards won this series because they were the better team. The Chicago Bulls have heart and desire and they give a great effort but in the end they lack the talent of the Wizards.
John Wall, Bradley Beal and Nene Hilario proved to be too much for the Bulls defense to handle. Combining that offense with the hustle and grit from Marcin Gortat, Trevor Ariza, and Trevor Booker, the Bulls were just out matched.
Game Five was not the prettiest of games for the Wizards. It seemed at times they were looking more to make a statement finish to the series instead of just winning the game, but they were able to overcome that youthful energy to close out the series and move on to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in eight years. John Wall led all scorers with 24 points followed by Nene with 20. The inside/outside threat posed by Nene and the Wizards back court is certain to be a cause for concern no matter who they play in the next round. Nene consistently had his way in his match up with the Defensive Player of the Year winner Joakim Noah and until the Wizards meet up with Miami, Wall and Beal will be the more dynamic back court.
Throughout the series the Wizards should a veteran like understanding of how to break down an opposing defense. Yes, there were flashes of youth were their exuberance would lead to some turnover prone moments but those moments were always quickly brought into check by head coach Randy Wittman. Excellent ball movement and unselfish play allowed the Wizards to get open looks at the basket and generate solid scoring chances almost at will. The Wizards commitment to defense allowed them to dictate the pace of the game throughout the series as well. Washington exploited their athleticism to stay in front of the Bulls or to get a hand in the passing lanes, causing turnovers and easy fast break points. Overall, this was always the Wizards series to win or lose and was a great statement for a team on the rise. Look out second round, here come the Wizards