Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Youth Will Be Served: The Wiz Go Up Big

Bull Futility
Tonight in Chicago, the too young for playoff success Wizards, who clearly were not going to be able to score in the half court, or have enough poise to convert in deep shot clocks... and weren't going to show the hunger to go for the 2-0 jugular vein start after winning game one on the road... went on an 20-4 run late and into the overtime, and made the home court Bulls look like, well, a team without a star. a bench, or a coaching situation that could manage minutes to give their team any chance at even scoring the basketball, let alone winning the game.

How bad was it? When Nene hit a jumper halfway through the overtime to go up 6, I pretty much expected the Bull faithful to head for the exits. Chicago missed 12 straight shots, ending the drought only when futile Kirk Hinrich got a transition trip to the line. Washington held on, with a classic Ball Don't Lie free throw moment when Hinrich's free throws that could have sent the game to double overtime missed.

But it's unfair to pin this all on Bull Futility. The Wiz had better ball movement, athleticism, and depth. Bradley Beal was smooth in the filth, and while John Wall had all kinds of bad moments, with a terrible fifth foul on an inbounds play, he's still growing by leaps and bounds in this series. They'll go home to a DC crowd that will mark out for playoff hoop like nothing you've ever seen, and so long as they can manage their emotions, they'll sweep this series.

Which leads me to wonder what's next for Chicago. They've got money to spend, having dumped Luol Deng, and with soft forward Carlos Boozer widely expected to be amnestied. There's always the possibility that star struck Derrick Rose might come back and give them something; the man was the MVP not so very long ago, after all. The salary cap is going up by about $5 million as well, and it's not as if they don't have guys you want to play with in Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, and a nice bench scoring reclamation asset in DJ Augustin.

But what they might not have is coach Tom Thibodeau, who hasn't been able to ride home big third and fourth quarter leads, and who has been there too many years without a Finals run to survive a first round upset. Thibs won't be unemployed for long, and he's far from a bad coach, but it's just not working out here. and the fact that he clearly lost out on the Deng situation to miss the handwriting on the wall. That's life in the NBA, where the coaches control everything and nothing, and the only job security comes with rings.

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