Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Wiz Make It Not A Series

Exit, Stage Youth
The thing about the NBA that's both great and terrible is that the best team nearly always wins a best of seven series. There are moments where a team gets tripped by flukes, bad officiating, lapse moments where a team doesn't need a game so much as to bring maximum intensity... but over seven games, it just doesn't overcome proficiency or talent. It's a crucible, where heat and pressure produces truth, and when a series ends, you rarely hear anyone say that the better team did not win.

The better team is up 3-1 in the Bulls-Wizards series, and really should be the owner of a 4-0 sweep. Today, they got up big with Trevor Ariza going for 30, took their foot off the gas long enough for the Bulls to make it a game late, and did all of that without starting power forward Nene Hilario. The Bulls got a great effort from the emerging Taj Gibson, but no one else could put it in the ocean, and Joakim Noah continues to make his defensive player of the year chops look like a mistake.

It's one thing for the Wiz to be more athletic, explosive, and just plain faster than the Bulls; we all knew that was the case before the opening tap. But it's quite another for Chicago to be so turnover-prone, so static in the half court, and so prone to long stretches where they appear helpless. I get that defensive teams can look this bad from time to time, but this looks more and more like a team that's tuned out head coach Tom Thibodeau, and is just looking for this to be over.

The question now isn't if the Wizards will win. It's whether they've got enough focus and steel to do it on the road in Game Five, or if it will happen in a coronation Game Six at home.

For the sake of the Eastern Conference, who desperately need a young and rising team, I'm hoping the former.

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