Making their first playoff appearance since 2008, the Washington Wizards clinched the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, setting up a matchup with the fourth-seeded Chicago Bulls.
Over the past week, a lot of attention has been focused on whether or not local fans are truly excited about the Wizards' postseason inclusion, so allow this primer to at least attempt to titillate you for what lies ahead.
A Load of Bull
The Wizards are in for a stiff test against the stingy Bulls, who allowed a NBA-best 91.8 points per game this season and held opponents to 43 percent shooting from the field, second-best.
Chicago is led by center Joakim Noah, the gangly center who has garnered some attention for MVP. Joining Noah are point guard D.J. Augustin (14.9 PPG, 5.0 APG), power forward Carlos Boozer (13.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG), shooting guard Jimmy Butler (13.1 PPG) and power forward Taj Gibson (13,0 PPG, 6,8 RPG).
As a result, the Bulls are an Eastern Conference-best 22-9 since the All-Star break.
For the Wizards to make this a competitive series, they will have to endure the Bulls' physicality. Noah, Boozer and Gibson will clog up the paint to prevent John Wall from slashing to the basket by any means necessary.
As simple as this sounds, Washington will simply have to outscore Chicago; the Wizards are the more offensively gifted team. Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza will need to stretch the defense by hitting threes, which the Wizards did quite well this season (38 percent, tied for fourth-best).
Did You Know?
The Wizards have won just one playoff series in the past 30 years. It came in 2005. As a fifth seed. Against the Chicago Bulls.
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