by Yusuf Gadlin
The Chicago Bulls lost Game 1 (102-93) Sunday night at the United Center to the Washington Wizards. Wizards center Nene Hilario led the way for the franchise with 24 points, grabbing eight rebounds, giving the Windy City favorites a thorough waxing on national TV. Hilario, 31, was born in São Carlos, Brazil, he received his nickname Nenê (Brazilian Portuguese for baby) because he was the youngest in both his family and his group of childhood friends.
The Bulls, on the other hand, were led by point guard Kirk Hinrich who had 16 points. But the bigger issue for me is the front court of the Washington Wizards. The Bulls were man handled by the Brazilian from start to finish in this one surprising a lot of Bulls fans with his strength and his nice touch from mid-range.
Now this leads me to this: Joakim Noah is my Game 2 key player. He was solid in Game 1 with 10 points and 10 rebounds but this was not enough. Joakim must dig deep inside himself and bring out that raging bull we have all grown to love if the Bulls want to take back home court.
The Bulls #21 small forward Jimmy Butler was very impressive scoring 15 points and grabbing 7 rebounds and provided stellar defense throughout Game 1.
The Bulls have enough defenses to shut down that explosive back court of the Wizards due to the efforts of point guard John Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal whose combined score of 29 points must something the Bulls must be pleased with.
But this series to me is going to come down to the Bulls front court players and there toughness–something that their defense hangs there hat on every night since the Tom Thibodeau era. I look forward to Game 2 as Coach Thibodeau makes that key adjustment on that savvy old man Andre Miller for the Wizards point guard as he torched the Bulls for 10 huge points all coming in the 4th quarter in crunch time.
This might be a long drawn out series, however, I still expect the Bulls to reign victorious when the dust settles.