With March Madness in full effect, the Bulls looked like a team more suited for the 68 team field than the NBA playoffs. The Bulls fell back to .500 on the season (33-33) and a lousy 12-21 on the road thanks to a 117-96 beat down at the hands of the Washington Wizards.
- The Wizards came out firing on all cylinders, scoring 32 points in the first quarter in what is becoming an alarming trend for these defensively challenged Bulls. The ball movement was crisp; they were able to get out in transition and knocked down every open shot the porous Bulls D allowed them.
- Speaking of the Bulls defense, it was downright horrendous from start to finish. They were lazy in getting back (regardless of whether it was a make or miss) and allowed the Wiz way too many easy points in transition (25 to be exact).
- The Bulls also failed miserably in running the Wizards off the three-point line when it seemed like there were four or five Steph Curry’s on the floor for them at all times. As a team, they shot 13-21 from deep (62%), with a special shout out to Garrett Temple, who went 5-6 from behind the arc and was constantly gifted open looks by a Bulls defense that made the three point line feel like a moat with how much space was awarded to the Wizards.
- An even bigger cause for concern is the absence of Taj Gibson from the second half of this game. He tweaked his hamstring that he was quoted as saying “killed” him in the last game against the Raptors. After a comment like that you would expect the Bulls medical staff to keep Gibson out of tonight’s game. But nope, he played an ineffective seven minutes in the first half before being pulled at halftime. He is sure to miss future games and questions have to be asked about why he was even in the lineup in the first place given how much his hamstring hurt just two days prior.
- Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose combined for a silent 33 points on the night, but only shot 35% between the two of them. The playmaking was not there for these two when at least one of them has to step up each and every night for the Bulls to beat playoff caliber teams. As a team, the Bulls played too much hero-ball with too little off the ball movement and their two stars exemplified that on this forgettable night in the nation’s capital.
- The lone bright spot for the Bulls is the consistently improving Doug McDermott. He scored 20 points on an efficient 10 shots for the night. The forward looked confident in his stroke behind the arc, as well as beating defenders off the drive. This is the offensive threat the Bulls imagined the Creighton alum would be when they traded two first rounders for him. Doug spaces the floor like few can on the roster, especially when Mike Dunleavy disappears (0/4 shooting on the night). The Bulls will need this type of production consistently from McBuckets while Rose and Butler struggle to stay healthy.
- McDermott was only outshone on the night by the breathtaking John Wall. Wall had himself a game, recording a triple double of 29 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds. He was also a ridiculous +38 on the night in 39 minutes played. Not sure why he played that much but this much is for certain, the Wizards won because they had Wall and the Bulls didn’t.
- Coming up: The Bulls start a very important and winnable three game homestand tonight against the Brooklyn Nets.