Instant analysis: Bulls 96, Wizards 78

Instant analysis: Bulls 96, Wizards 78
April 5, 2014, 9:15 pm
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This is why the Wizards, nor any other team for that matter, wants to meet the Chicago Bulls in the postseason. Saturday, they trailed by as many as 28 points, only scored a season-low 26 in the first half and had their two-game winning streak ended by one of the NBA's elite defensive teams at Verizon Center in front of 19,661.

The Charlotte Bobcats (39-38) beat the Cleveland Cavaliers later Saturday and they only trail the Wizards (40-37) by one game for the No. 6 seed in the East. They also lead the season series with Washington 2-1. 

After coming from behind to win at the New York Knicks 90-89 on Friday night, the Wizards were flat and never in this one. 

John Wall led with 20 points on 8-for-17 shooting and six assists. Marcin Gortat, on Polish Heritage Night, had 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting and eight rebounds. Bradley Beal was the only other player in double figures with 19 points on 7-for-16 shooting for 14 points, five assists and three rebounds. Trevor Ariza finished with just two points on 1-for-9 shooting. 

The Bulls (45-32) were led by D.J. Augustin's 25 points, which included six three-pointers, 21 points and 12 rebounds from Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer with 16 points. 

Turning point: The Wizards shot just 31% in the first half and outrebounded 27-16, but the key for the Bulls was Augustin's 17 points off the bench in just 15 minutes that pushed the halftime advantage to 52-26.

Key stats: Washington was 3-for-16 on three-point shots while Chicago made 9 of 23. 

Bright spot: Otto Porter played only seven minutes but made an impact in the third quarter when the Wizards trimmed the deficit to 70-59. He didn't score in his first stretch, missing a three-point attempt from the corner, but Porter grabbed his own rebound and fed Wall for a three. On the next possession for Chicago, he deflected the ball from Mike Dunleavy which led to a fast-break basket for Trevor Booker. Porter finished with five points on 2-for-4 shooting, including 1 of 2 on threes, and three rebounds. 

Flatliners: The bench didn't give the Wizards the jolt they needed to wake up. When the outcome was in reach, only four points came on a field goal each from Drew Gooden and Martell Webster.  

From the locker room: "They came out and jumped on us right away. Either we were surprised or we weren't ready for the intensity they came out with. We were on our heels basically that whole first half. The only quarter we came out (with intensity) is the third quarter. We were the aggressors. That's why we scored 35. They're going to get after you if you're not mentally ready for it. I'll take the blame for not having our guys ready for the intensity. ... You fight aggression with aggression. It was only a one-way fight tonight." -- Wizards coach Randy Wittman

"Man, they flat out beat us. There's no excuses. No way around it. It was never close. We did give a conscious effort in the third quarter and got it down to like 11 but I think guys were dead tired by the time that we went on that run." -- Beal

"Only thing different is that they played harder than us, and they got to the loose balls. The first two times we beat them, we were more aggressive than them and when you play that team you have to be aggressive and take open shots. At times we turned down some open shots." -- Wall

"We were attacking their guards as far as us being in the blitzing and double-teaming and I think everyone did a great job. They were taking shots that they really didn't want to take. They were taking long, half-court passes, cross-court passes, we were double-teaming a couple of their strong shooters and it worked out well. We found a way to frustrate them." -- Bulls F Taj Gibson

Up next: The Wizards will be off Sunday, practice the next two days and face the Bobcats at Verizon Center on Wednesday (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).