Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, center, drives to the basket against Washington Wizards' Trevor Ariza (1) and Trevor Booker (35) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 5, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Updated: April 5, 2014 8:16PM
WASHINGTON – Wizards coach Randy Wittman seemed very unfazed about his team facing the Bulls prior to Saturday night’s game at the Verizon Center.
Maybe it was the fact that Washington was coming off a big win in New York a night earlier or maybe it was that in two previous meetings with the Bulls this season, the young up-and-comers handled them twice.
Either way, the idea of facing the Bulls Saturday, as well as possibly in the first round of the playoffs, didn’t seem to impress Wittman.
“We understand what we have to do against Chicago,’’ Wittman said. “[Tom Thibodeau’s] teams play hard. They’re methodical in their pace of play. We have to worry about playing our style.’’
Time to rethink that.
Thanks to a suffocating defense, the Bulls (45-32) completely dismantled the Wizards (40-37), 96-78, led by D.J. Augustin’s 25 points, including 6-for-11 shooting from beyond the three-point line.
And it was a message that was sent very early, as the Bulls jumped out to a 28-16 first quarter lead, and then continued the stranglehold on Washington’s offense, taking a 52-26 lead into the locker room for halftime.