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No easy spell for Wizards against the Bulls

19 April 2014 By Jesse Jones, Sports Editor No Comments

Editor’s Note: Because of Easter, this column was written before Sunday night’s opener.

If we were in the realm of Westeros, I’d just ask Melisandre to come and let the Lord of Light help the No. 5 Wizards beat the No. 4 Bulls in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Granted, we would have to sacrifice somebody, so I would chose the entire staff of Fox News. That way, enough people would be sacrificed to ensure the Wizards would rule the NBA world for years to come, as well as getting the worst news station off the air.

But sadly, we are not in Westeros. We are in Towson, which appears to have the oddest weather patterns ever. Word to Al Gore and Global Warming. I see you bro.

Back to the point of this column. Starting Sunday night at 7 p.m. on TNT, the Washington Wizards will embark on their first playoff journey in six years against the Chicago Bulls in Chi-Town. The Wizards have only one playoff series win in the last 30 years (Wait, what? Why do I like this team?) but that series win came in 2005 against the Bulls thank to the guns-hot Gilbert Arenas.

Both these teams are much different this time around. The Wiz Kids are led by two rising superstars in John Wall and Bradley Beal, but have tons of experience down low in Marcin Gortat, Nene and Drew Gooden.

The Bulls are without Derrick Rose (who’s that?) but have proven that they are still capable of making the Eastern Conference Finals behind MVP candidate Joakim Noah and the emerging D.J. Augustin (you were my man in NCAA hoops back at Texas, bro). Head Coach Tom Thibodeau has to be considered one of the best coaches in the game after what he’s been able to do the past two seasons without his MVP point guard.

Off the bat, the Wizards have one thing going for them: They won the season series 2-1. However, they were absolutely destroyed in the latest meeting in D.C.

Now while I may sound like a bit of a homer here, I do think the Wizards have an overall advantage matchup-wise.

In the backcourt battle, give me Wall and Beal over Augustin and Jimmy Butler (who looks exactly like Towson baseball’s own Christopher Acker).

You’ll also have backups such as veteran Andre Miller for D.C. going against former Wizard Kirk Hinrich and Martell Webster versus Ronnie Brewer. That’s close to a push, but when Webster heats up, it’s hard to stop him. Side note: I saw him in-person make all six three-point attempts against Cleveland this year.

In the frontcourt, the Noah will be a lot to stop. He averages a double-double with 12.7 points and 13.3 rebounds against D.C. this year, but with Nene back and healthy, I think the duo of him and Gortat could help slow Noah down.

Carlos Boozer doesn’t scare me whatsoever and Mike Dunleavy shouldn’t pose a big problem against Trevor Ariza. The only backup in the frontcourt for Chicago that poses a threat is Taj Gibson, but between Gooden, Al Harrington and Trevor Booker, he can be accounted for.

Both teams play solid defense, but the Bulls are known for their defense and if the Wizards hit a cold-spell from three, look out Washington.

The edge experience and coaching-wise clearly goes to Chicago. Chicago has been in the playoffs the past few seasons, while D.C. Head Coach Randy Wittman is unproven.

This series should be one of the better ones in the East, and I think the Wizards got the matchup they wanted the most instead of having to play Toronto.

Wizards in six games. Bring on the Pacers!

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