Dave Johnson: Bulls D Stops Wizards

Dave Johnson: Bulls D Stops Wizards
December 23, 2010, 2:49 am
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010 9:45 p.m.

By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comWashington---For the fourth straight game the Washington Wizards were able to hold their opponent under 100 points. While the progress on defense is certainly encouraging, it was not enough to avoid an 87-80 loss to the Chicago Bulls.The one-two punch of Carlos Boozer and Derrick Rose provided the Wizards with a challenge that was hard to overcome. Boozer led the Bulls to their ninth win in 10 games with 30 points to go with 10 rebounds and a season-high 7 assists. Rose added 25 points.I thought defensively we did some things pretty positive at times, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. When you hold a team to 87 points at home, you should have an opportunity to win.The Wizards will look back at opportunities missed. A 33- point first quarter, a Wizards season high, provided the launching pad for a competitive game. Nick Young scored 10 of his team-high 22 points in the opening 12 minutes as he led the Wizards in scoring for the 5th consecutive game. Kirk Hinrich also played a critical role in the Wizards early surge with 8 of his 19 points in the first quarter. Despite foul trouble, brought on by the challenge of guarding Rose, Hinrich still played over 42 minutes and with 9 assists flirted with a third consecutive double-double.The 33-point first quarter was not a sign of things to come for the Wizards. The Bulls reputation as a good defensive team proved to be well-founded as the Wizards only scored 17 points in the second quarter and only 30 points in the entire second half.We played well the last two games prior because we played as a team, Saunders noted. We really moved the ball and didnt do too much dribbling. Now you play a team where their strength is their ability to lock down on you and play aggressive and we started playing a lot of one-on-one dribbling and put ourselves in very difficult situations.Still the Wizards managed a 50-46 half-time lead and built their biggest lead of the game when Hinrich switched hands and finished a left-handed layup to make it 56-48 with 10:32 remaining in the third quarter. The game then changed, as the Bulls seized control on a 13-2 run while the Wizards were held scoreless for almost 4 minutes.The Bulls did not pull away from the Wizards and in the fourth quarter the teams combined only scored 24 points. Down 83-80 Rashard Lewis had a chance to be hero in his first game with the Wizards but he missed an open look from three-point distance with a 1:30 remaining in the game. Lewis had 8 points for the game.After Lewis missed, Rose missed for the Bulls, and Hinrich had a chance again to close the gap. Unfortunately for Hinrich he lost the ball on a drive to the basket and after the turnover, Rose responded by finding Boozer in the lane for a layup to give the Bulls an 85-80 lead with 35 seconds left.Along with Boozer, Kurt Thomas helped to deny the Wizards JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche. While McGee had 10 rebounds and 2 blocked shots, he missed the three shots he attempted. Blatche was 3 of 14 shooting from the field and was particularly frustrated by Thomas.