VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Wizards home with 2-0 lead over Bulls

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Chicago Bulls failed to score for more than seven minutes.

Advertisement
Not just any ol' 7:38. Not some stretch in the second quarter that people might vaguely remember. This was the final 3:53 of regulation and the first 3:45 of overtime in Game 2 of a playoff series.

Chicago got to the postseason by being stingy. Yet, so far at least, the Washington Wizards have out-defensed the defense-minded Bulls. And Randy Wittman, who carries an anvil of a win-loss record, has more than held his own in what might have looked like a coaching mismatch against Tom Thibodeau.

''The way they're starting games off the right way, the way they're finishing off with defense, getting loose balls and playing the rugged style - that's kind of our style, when you think about it,'' Bulls forward Taj Gibson said Wednesday.

The Wizards have come home with a 2-0 lead, with Game 3 set for Friday in Washington. They are the 19th NBA team to win the first two on the road in a seven-game series, and all but three (1969 Warriors, 1994 Suns, 2005 Rockets) went on to advance.

''I wanted them to be greedy,'' Wittman said after Tuesday night's overtime win. ''Nothing is guaranteed. We've got two wins; you've got to get to four. We have to continue to understand why we won these games.''

This is rare territory for Washington. Only once before, in 1975, has the franchise won the first pair in a seven-game series. For that matter, it hadn't won the opening game of any postseason series since 1982.

Of course, this is also a franchise that has won only two playoff series since the 1970s. Wittman has the worst regular-season record among NBA coaches with at least 400 games, but, for what it's worth, he's No. 1 all-time in the playoffs for now with a 2-0 mark.

''I'm an old-school coach. I come from Bobby Knight,'' said Wittman, who played for Knight at Indiana. ''I believe you have to play defense.''

Playoff neophytes John Wall and Bradley Beal have come through at crucial times. Wall scored the final seven Wizards points of the first half in Game 2 after the Bulls were threatening to take control, and Beal scored the final six of regulation to send the game to overtime.

Then Nene, the invaluable but oft-injured Game 1 star who is held together with everything but duct tape, scored the first six points of the extra period. Game over.

''We get a lot of attention, me and Brad,'' Wall said. ''Everybody says we're probably one of the best young backcourts, but we know Nene's the X-factor to our team. He's the reason why we go.''

But the most underrated Wizards player all season has been Trevor Ariza, the team's best defender, and his move might have decided the game.

Chicago's D.J. Augustin had taken over, scoring practically at will. Washington didn't have an answer - until Ariza spoke up in the fourth quarter.

''I wanted to guard him,'' Ariza said. ''He got it going early, and if we wanted to win, we've got to slow him down. He was leading their team, and I thought my length would bother him a little bit.''

Sure did. Augustin scored 25 points - but not a single one in the final eight minutes of regulation or in overtime. He was 8 for 14 from the field after three quarters and 2 for 8 the rest of the way.

Naturally, the series isn't over. Not much would need to be different for the Bulls to be leading 2-0.

''It's a make-or-miss league,'' Thibodeau said. ''Beal made two big scramble 3s in the fourth quarter that were basically off loose balls. That's the difference between winning and losing right there.''

For their part, the Wizards can't keep missing free throws - 16 for 28 in Game 2 - and it will be interesting to see how the feistiness that produced four technical fouls Tuesday night will affect the games to come.

''It's great to win two games on the road,'' Wall said. ''But we're still the underdogs.''

---

AP freelance reporter John Jackson in Chicago contributed to this report.

---

Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Akins: Hoop Trends - Sunday
LeBron 60th triple-double, Cavs top Jazz
Knicks blank Melo in 2nd half, rout OKC
Blazers beat Hornets, 3rd straight road win
Canaan helps Suns rally to beat T-Wolves
Richardson drops 28, Heat beat Clips 90-85
Harden, Paul lead Rockets to 13th straight
Irving helps C's pull away to beat Grizz
Spurs close on 13-0 run to rally past Mavs
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NBA Pro Basketball Expert Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NBA Hot Streaks
12-1 L3 Days, 18-3 L21 Totals
8-0 L8 Guaranteed Run
3-0 Y'day, 16-6 Totals, 47-27 Picks
11-3 G-Play Run, 15-6 L21 Picks
7-2 L6 Days, 14-5 L19 Selections
3-0 L3, 20-7 Run, 16-7 G-Plays
6-1 Last 7 NBA G-Plays
3-0 LN, 20-10 G-Plays, 30-15 Picks
8-4 Last 12 Guarantees
10-3 L13 Picks, 14-5 G-Plays TY
3-0 Last 3 Selections
6-3 Record Last 2 Days
6-2 L8 NBA Guarantees
7-2 Record Last 9 Picks
NBA Pro Basketball Expert Sports Picks - Indiana Pacers at Brooklyn Nets
2017 NBA SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smart + 1104
Mark Franco + 941
Chip Chirimbes + 885
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smart + 1066
Antony Dinero + 754
Bruce Marshall + 749
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Marc Lawrence 65 %
Michael Black 65 %
Don Anthony 63 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smart + 1149
Don Anthony + 872
The Gold Sheet + 845
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1729
Alex Smart + 911
Scott Rickenbach + 629
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1126
Chip Chirimbes + 797
Jimmy Boyd + 733
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership