Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards: Instant Game Analysis

The Chicago Bulls met the shorthanded Washington Wizards on Saturday night at the United Center.

Key Wizards inactive for game-time action were John Wall and Bradley Beal prompting the team to utilize the next-man-up mentality. Tomas Satoransky and Sheldon McLellan answered the call of duty.

Without the likes of Michael Carter-Williams, it would appear Chicago was a shoe-in for a much-needed victory before the squad goes on a six-game road trip.

Things didn’t always pan out according to plan.

For the Bulls, it was Jimmy Butler versus the Wizards for much of first half at the United Center. He earned 13 points in the first quarter to lead his teammates.

The Wizards led by as many as 12 points in the first quarter propelling themselves to get hot inside the paint early was Marcin Gortat. The big man scored 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the first half.

Wizards were making it difficult for the Bulls to drive into the paint. That effort alone kept the Bulls from blowing out their opponents from the start.

Chicago played from behind early, something the club didn’t want to happen.

What kept the Bulls in the game?

The Bulls, led by Butler, went on a 13-0 run.

Helping his team along, Butler earned 7 points from the free throw line in the first half. Those numbers allowed the Bulls organization to connect on nine of 10 free throws, compared to the lone free throw attempt earned by the Wizards.

At the end of the first half, Chicago led by one point.

The Bulls moved more fluidly from side to side with the introduction of the second unit.

The magic appeared to be missing, however.

The Bulls would fall for the Wizards tricks. For example, Sheldon McLellan does a pump fake and gets Taj Gibson to jump and commit a foul.

Turnovers didn’t help the Bulls to put their possessions to the best use. The Wizards appeared to turn their opponents’ mistakes into fast break points.

The Bulls were able to get Gortat to commit three fouls, which led him to sit down with just under two minutes remaining.

Butler hits a buzzer beater to keep the Chicago within reach of the Washington. At halftime the Wizards topped Bulls, 56-53.

Although it appeared the Wizards were looking to get and out run early, the Bulls forced their opponents to work hard to start the second half.

What drove the Bulls to this point?

Steals. Defense. Pressure.

The Bulls would go on a 15-4 run to close the third quarter.

By the top of the fourth quarter, the Wizards had only four points in the paint after getting off to a hot start to end the first half.

Butler continued to get buckets, even as fatigue appeared to surface.

Wizards couldn’t find an answer it seems.

But, the Bulls faced their share adversity on Saturday, too.

Second-year forward Doug McDermott took a hard fall to floor at the start of the fourth. He would exit the game for the locker room. McDermott had recently been cleared from by the team’s concussion protocol. By the looks of it, he could be sidelined again if all goes awry.

To this concern, Markieff Morris would be charged a flagrant type one foul.

Nikola Mirotic would help relieve Butler from assuming all of the responsibility on offense. Getting his share of the action was also Gibson.

The supporting cast that filled the Wizards’ stats sheet toward the game’s start was no challenge for Butler and the Bulls in the end.

The Bulls defeated the Wizards in a 106-95 victory.

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