In a game missing Jimmy Butler (illness), Dwyane Wade (DND-rest), Nikola Mirotic (ill), and with Rajon Rondo’s recent drama, this was expected to be a blow out win for the Washington Wizards at home. It was anything but. The Bulls once had an 18-point lead, outscoring the Wizards bench 48-16, but the Wizards cast a lethargy spell on the Bulls in the third quarter and closed the gap, got back in the game, and handed the ball to John Wall to hit the game winner with 5 seconds to go. Doug McDermott had a chance to knock down a game-winning three, but couldn’t connect, as the Bulls drop to 19-20.
- The one big positive for the Bulls after was a breakout game by Denzel Valentine. With the short rotation, he was given substantial minutes (30), second to only Robin Lopez. He made the most of his minutes, connecting on five threes (11 FGA) for 19 points on 7/15 overall. It’s great to see him getting some significant minutes and performing well, since he might be a part of this Bulls team in years to come.
- Disappointingly, Doug McDermott struggled mightily Tuesday night, hitting only two field goals in 11 attempts. He also whiffed on all five of his shots from behind the arc. Despite all that, the last play of the game was drawn up for him and, unsurprisingly, he stayed cold. McBuckets had the worst +/- of the team at -12 with only four points, one rebound, and one assist. Rough night for Sneaky Hops. Without Butler and Wade drawing attention, his recently patented back-cuts were a non-factor.
- Isiah Canaan was on the court, but the only stat line that would prove it is his 10 minutes of play. Okay, he did have one rebound. And he did turn it over once. Not a good look. He didn’t hoist a shot tonight and gave up just about a point a minute while he was out there.
- The Bulls average about 20 three point shots a game, but tonight put up 27, connecting on 10 of them – Valentine accounting for half. The Bulls don’t connect on a good enough clip to justify taking this many threes, but tonight they were well above their average of 31.6%.
- Rajon Rondo actually had a positive +/- after his -20 in the first half of the Pacers game in which he was benched. He put forth a decent performance on 6/13 from the field, four rebounds, and six assists. He did have two turnovers, but he had three steals, and finished with a huuuuuuge +4 (!) – whoa. We’ll see what comes from him next, but probably a regression back to where he was.
- A 16 point third quarter saw the remainder of the Bulls’ 18 point lead diminish. By the end of the third, the Wizards had retaken the lead. Despite a Bulls bounce back to take a seven point lead with seven minutes to go, the Wizards athleticism proved to be too much against a depleted Bulls team.
- What can you say about John Wall. The guy had 26 points on 11/21 shooting, with a whopping 14 assists and a +24 for the day.
- Up Next: The Bulls go to New York on Thursday to play the Knicks, and Rondo/Rose will argue over who has more off-court drama. The Wizards travel to Boston on Wednesday.