The Wizards pulled off the upset on Sunday at the Terminal (United Center .. New nickname we’ll see if it sticks as well as the Phone Booth) winning 102-93 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup. Looking more polished than ever, the Wiz Kids hit big shots down the stretch and closed out strong, outscoring the Bulls 30-18 in the 4th quarter. As tipoff for Game 2 looms, Wizards fans know that Tom Thibodeau’s league leading defense will make adjustments, but the Wizards will make them as well. Here is what the Wizards need to do to win another.
Nene Staying Hot
He was the X-Factor in game one. Not even Joakim Noah, the newly crowned Defensive POY had an answer as Nene picked the Bulls interior defense apart with his vast array of post moves and his ability to stretch the floor. He had 24 points and 9 assists in the opener, and Carlos Boozer is still a huge liability on defense. If he makes Boozer pay again, the Bulls could be in for another long night.
John Wall and Bradley Beal Stepping Up In the Spotlight
Crazy to think the Wizards were able to take back home court advantage in a game where the league’s most promising backcourt combined for a measly 7-for-25 shooting from the field. Wall and Beal have spent the season proving they have real chemistry and can be a nightmare if one of them gets hot, but that needs to translate into playoff production if these two ever want to reach stardom. Imagine the possibilities if they can just meet their average stat lines tonight….
Points! Points! Points!
I know that this is an extremely simple task, but every analyst has said this series will be decided by the Wizards ability to put up points versus the Bulls ability to stop them from doing so. Chicago can’t hang in a shootout, they just don’t have the weapons to keep up if the Wizards can get going. Scoring 102 points was a huge reason they won in the first game, if they can score at a high rate again this will be their game to lose.