Washington Wizards Three Takeaways: John Wall Lifts Wizards Over Depleted Chicago Bulls

Washington Wizards had an opportunity to get an ‘easy’ victory against the depleted Chicago Bulls, but it took a game-winner from John Wall to get it done.

Since they’ve lacked depth this season, the Washington Wizards haven’t had an opportunity to rest their starters much.

On Tuesday night, the Wizards faced a depleted Chicago Bulls squad, missing Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Nikola Mirotic.

Washington was the heavy favorite, but the team has become known for allowing teams like the Bulls to linger around, putting themselves in danger of dropping winnable games that ultimately come back to bite them.

Somehow, the Wizards found themselves down by 18 points against the Bulls.

Rajon Rondo, who’s been in Fred Hoiberg‘s doghouse, checked into the game and controlled the pace while Denzel Valentine lit it up from deep.

The Wizards chipped away at the Bulls’ lead and were eventually able to go on a run of their own in the second half.

John Wall decided the result, knocking down a game-winner with about five seconds remaining in the game. It was a go-ahead fadeaway from the baseline.

It wasn’t an ideal process, but the 101-99 win at home will give the Washington Wizards their 10th straight win inside the Verizon Center – the longest home winning streak in the NBA.

Wall picks up aggressiveness when needed

John Wall didn’t attempt a single shot in the entire first quarter, but turned up his aggressiveness when the Wizards found themselves struggling to find offense.

Wall finished the game with 26 points and 14 assists, drilling key shots down the stretch that helped Washington secure another win at home.

In the past, Wall had a tendency to disappear and never really found a rhythm unless he was hot from the get-go.

This season, he’s learned when to shoot and when to get his teammates involved. Given the team’s poor depth, Wall has done much of the heavy lifting for the Wizards offensively.

Smith provides serious rim protection

Ian Mahinmi was supposed to become the team’s defensive anchor, but the center has only played in one game for the Washington Wizards, leaving Scott Brooks with a missing identity.

Against the Bulls, Jason Smith provided legitimate rim protection, blocking three shots on the night.

Slowly, Smith has managed to get into a groove and it’s impacted his energy defensively. Instead of ball-watching inside, Smith has become more active and has given the Wizards some momentum-changing blocks.

Keef shows flashes of outside touch

Markieff Morris, in theory, was the stretch-four the Washington Wizards were missing for years.

Despite the label, he hasn’t been a consistent threat from deep. But on Tuesday, Morris showed that he’s capable of being a target from three, as long as he gets involved early.

Morris made all three of his shot attempts from beyond the 3-point arc, scoring 19 points in just 22 minutes of action before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

For Morris, it’s all been about finding his touch early in the game and having it carry over for the full 48 minutes. His talent is undeniable, but inconsistencies have made it tough for him to realize his potential.

Washington will take on the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

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