Wizards' collective will overcomes Bulls' bullying ways

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 23, 2014 at 12:31 am •  Published: April 23, 2014
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(c) 2014, The Washington Post.

CHICAGO — When it was over, and Kirk Hinrich had missed from the line, and John Wall threw the ball downcourt and then met Bradley Beal at midcourt for a flying chest bump, the obvious was right there:

Desire is not just a Chicago commodity, purveyed by this city's ultra-resilient pro basketball team. It also lives in the chests of Wall and Beal, pounding his heart after another jump shot of silk behind the arc. It lives in the torso of Nene, his 6-foot-11, beefy frame going to the floor for loose balls, his stroke as pure as they come in overtime.

That desire lives in the combined and committed resolve of the Wizards, who Tuesday night overcame the brawn and desperation of the Bulls to secure the most impressive road victory of the John Wall era.

Do you believe they found a way to win this, to take a 2-0 series lead on these physically imposing Brahmas, who so badly tried to turn this into a Greco-Roman match and failed?

The Washington Willfuls 101, These Brawny but Ultimately Bowed Bulls 99.

The series shifts to Washington on Friday for Game 3, where they are distributing T-shirts with the words, "DC Rising." After quieting the Madhouse on Madison here Tuesday night, DC Risen is more like it.

The day before the season began in October, Wall said his team was committed to being a better road team. "I haven't probably won 20 road games since I've been here," he said, lamentably.

The mark was actually 19-96. That's right, Wall's first three years resulted in just 19 road victories. This season alone the Wizards were 22-19 on the road and now 2-0 in the playoffs.

They play under adverse conditions as well as anyone in the NBA postseason, and nothing was more adverse than Tuesday night.

It was 87-80, Chicago late in the fourth quarter, the series a few minutes from being nearly tied, when Beal, beat up and shadowed all night, found his range and a clutch shot the Bulls didn't see coming.

He dropped in two three-pointers and a free throw over the next two minutes, accounting for most of an 11-4 run to end the game and sent it into the extra period.

From there, Nene was brilliant, connecting from right and left of the key to stake the Wizards to a six-point lead. Washington nearly gave it all back in the final 40 seconds of overtime with some late-game miscues and bad execution offensively.

But after Hinrich missed the first of two free throws with 2.4 seconds left and needed to miss the second, only a rebound would cement the most satisfying win of the year.

There were many defining moments in this one but if you're looking for an early one that said everything it happened late in the first half.

Hinrich got intimate with Beal, locking arms and torsos with the Wizards guard under the rim. Beal threw up his arms in a "Get off me!" gesture, Hinrich retaliated, actually taking off his goggles like he wanted to fight and — ding, ding, ding! — Game 2 was on.



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