Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Chicago
John Wall led all scorers with 27 points and also tallied nine assists and eight rebounds. Carlos Boozer posted 19 points and 12 boards for Chicago.
The Bulls were once again without Joakim Noah, Marco Belinelli and Richard Hamilton in this one, and they also lost Taj Gibson to a knee injury in the second quarter.
Chicago was unable to compensate for its lack of bodies this time around, as Washington outscored Tom Thibodeau's club 48-37 in the second half.
The Wizards are now an impressive 23-18 since Wall's return.
Point Guard: Kirk Hinrich, B
Kirk Hinrich picked up two technical fouls with about three-and-a-half minutes left in the fourth quarter and was ejected from the game. Before that, he scored eight points off 3-of-8 shooting and dished out four assists.
Hinrich's impact should never be judged strictly by basic statistics. He was playing pretty well against the Wizards despite the lack of any sparkling numbers, having a team-best plus-four rating prior to being tossed.
Kirk represented a calming influence on the Bulls, doing a solid job of getting everyone organized into their sets. Tom Thibodeau put the ball in his hands whenever Washington went on a run.
Hinrich did have some trouble staying with Wall, but that is to be expected.
Shooting Guard: Jimmy Butler, C-
This wasn't all that spectacular of an outing for Jimmy Butler.
The second-year swingman out of Marquette struggled with his shot, shooting 4-of-13 and connecting on only two of his six three-point attempts. He had numerous open looks that he could not capitalize on, and outside of a nice alley-oop dunk in transition, Butler didn't do much to energize his team.
Butler tallied 13 points, four rebounds and four assists and shot only 3-of-6 from the free-throw line, missing two key foul shots late. Normally a reliable shooter from the charity stripe, this contest would have been a different story if he would have converted on those misses.
Small Forward: Luol Deng, C
After a strong first quarter where Luol Deng scored eight points, the forward was essentially invisible for the rest of the way, posting only five points over the the final three periods.
Deng finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, hitting on only five of his 15 shot attempts. Maybe Deng was tired, because it seemed as if the good majority of his misses were short. He settled for way too many jumpers instead of putting his shoulder down and taking it to the rim, going 0-for-3 from downtown and only taking three free throws.
Deng did not register a single point in the fourth quarter, and with the Bulls as shorthanded as they are, they cannot afford their best player to go scoreless when they need him most.
Not a very strong performance by the Duke product.
Power Forward: Carlos Boozer, A-
Carlos Boozer was very effective for most of this ball game, recording 19 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. He was really taking it to Nene in the low post in the first half, utilizing a vast array of moves to score by way of spin moves, face-up jumpers, etc.
The problem with Boozer is that he disappeared down the stretch.
Boozer scored only two points in the fourth quarter and, for some reason, was not nearly as aggressive as he was throughout the prior 36 minutes.
In his defense, the Bulls didn't seem to run enough plays for him late, but knowing that he was the best player on the floor for Chicago all night long, he should have been more assertive and demanded the ball.
Regardless, it's hard to really criticize Boozer, as he was basically the only efficient shooter of the night for the Bulls, hitting on nine of his 18 shots.
Center: Nazr Mohammed, A
Nazr Mohammed was simply outstanding against the Wizards.
Starting in place of the injured Noah, Mohammed scored 12 points and pulled down 12 boards—seven offensive—in 36 minutes. He also had a huge putback that tied the game at 86 with 56.6 seconds to go. He played his best in the fourth quarter, recording eight of his points during the final period.
Mohammed also made some nice passes in this one, particularly a good feed to a backdoor cutting Butler. Nazr finished with three dimes.
Mohammed was absolutely instrumental in giving the Bulls a chance to win. Chicago did not play well as a team, and without Nazr's contributions, this game may not have been as close as it was.
Sixth Man: Taj Gibson, Incomplete
Tuesday night's contest was short-lived for Gibson.
After playing only nine-and-a-half minutes, Gibson re-aggravated the sprained left MCL injury that had kept him out for three weeks. This is a huge blow for the Bulls, as they are already shorthanded as it is.
Gibson scored four points in the limited floor time he saw against the Wizards.
Obviously, given the circumstances, giving Gibson a grade would not be appropriate.
Rest of Bulls Bench, B
This slide may as well have been titled "Nate Robinson."
With Gibson leaving early with the injury, Robinson was the only source of offense off Chicago's bench against Washington, scoring 17 points off 7-of-16 shooting in 33 minutes.
As per usual with Nate, there were a few shots that he simply should not have taken, and the fact that he was only 1-of-7 from long range speaks for itself. Still, Robinson hit some big buckets for the Bulls in the second half, including a big jumper to tie the game with just over two minutes left to play.
Daequan Cook saw 17 minutes of burn, but he was not nearly as effective as he was the other night against the Detroit Pistons. This time around, he went 0-for-4 and grabbed four rebounds.