The Washington Wizards defeated the Chicago Bulls by a score of 86-73 on Saturday night, extending their home winning streak to five games and snapping a three-game winning streak by the Bulls. Nate Robinson led all scorers with 19 points while Nene led the Wizards with 16.
Let's break down why Washington was able to win this game so convincingly.
1. Domination inside
From the get-go, the Wizards controlled the inside. They scored 48 points in the paint to only 26 for Chicago as Nene and Emeka Okafor both had their way down low. Nene finished with those 16 points and six boards while Okafor was simply brilliant, scoring 15 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. Okafor was the player of the game for Washington tonight, putting together one of his best efforts of the season.
2. Quick offense
Against a tough Bulls defense, the Wizards knew from the start that they could not allow themselves to get caught in a halfcourt type of game. They didn't. John Wall pushed the tempo from the opening tip on, slicing through the Chicago D for numerous easy buckets and making some beautiful passes to his teammates for high-percentage shots in transition. Wall finished with 15 points and seven assists in 27 minutes of play. Washington has clearly been a different team since his return.
3. Limited mistakes
While the Bulls were busy turning the ball over 17 times, the Wizards were very careful, committing only nine turnovers, seven of them coming between Wall and Martell Webster. How about no giveaways between Nene and Okafor up front?
4. Swarming defense
Washington's D made life miserable for Chicago all night, holding the Bulls to 41 percent shooting and surrendering only one double-figure scorer (Robinson). Carlos Boozer was held in check the entire game and was visibly frustrated because of it, picking up a flagrant foul and then coming awfully close to picking up another one two minutes later. The Wizards held Boozer to 3-of-9 shooting. Kirk Hinrich was also largely invisible a night after scoring 25 points.
5. Bench production
Washington got 32 points from its bench, with four players (Trevor Booker, Trevor Ariza, A.J. Price, and Jordan Crawford) each scoring seven. The Wizards certainly have a lot of depth, and it showed tonight.