Wow. What can I say? The Washington Wizards have been good. They’ve been extremely good in taking a 2-0 lead over the Chicago Bulls in the first round, but this series is not over yet. The Wizards still have to close this series out and in the NBA, anything can happen. #SoWizards was created for a reason. The Wizards must take this series one game at a time. Here are my keys for Game 3:
1. Can the Wizards stay composed?
Stealing one game on the road is a big accomplishment. Stealing two games nearly wraps up the series, but the Wizards must stay composed and approach this game as a must win. It is easy to take your foot off the pedal a bit when you are up two games, but they will have so much more room to mess around if they come out in the Verizon Center for Game 3 and play like they have in the first two games of this series.
I am also interested to see how the Wizards react to playing in front of what should be an absolute ballistic home crowd. The Wizards have a unique balance of experience so I do not know how much of an issue of being too amped up for the home crowd will be. It will be important for guards Bradley Beal and John Wall to play under control in their first home playoff games. The Wizards muct stay composed and just come out in play how they have been playing, regardless of the series record or the raucous home crowd.
2. Can the Wizards limit D.J. Augustin?
I have written two posts on these series and both have included Augustin and for good reason. In Game 1, he struggled for the Bulls shooting only 3-of-15 from the floor. In limiting him, the Wizards really made it hard for the Bulls to score. In Game 2, Augustin really got going. He scored 25 points on 4-of-8 from three-point land in the Wizards overtime victory. If the Wizards limit Augustin, they will most likely win this game because, let’s face it, the Bulls have zero other offensive weapons besides him, which is a big reason why the Wizards are up 2-0.
3. Can the Wizards get Marcin Gortat going?
Few negatives come along with opening up a playoff series with two straight road wins, but if there has been a negative, it has been the play of center Marcin Gortat. While his partner in crime, Nene, has been awesome so far, Gortat has struggled. He is averaging 11 points per game on 42.1 percent shooting through the first two games of the series. He is also chipping in nine rebounds per game, but the eye-test indicates Gortat is struggling. He needs to settle down, play his game and not press the issue. If the Wizards can get Gortat in a flow early in Game 3, they will have a great shot at taking a 3-0 lead.
The Wizards have a great chance in Game 3 tonight. While many are declaring the Wizards the winner of this series after two games, there is still some basketball left to be played. However, if the Wizards execute these three keys tonight, they may start to wrap up this series with a 3-0 lead.