Game Notes: Wizards at Bulls
Coach Cal’s kids go at it.
by Bryan Crawford / @_BryanCrawford
For a game that didn’t count for anything, last night’s preseason game between the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards at the United Center was certainly chock full of storylines.
First, there was the return of Kirk Hinrich to Chicago for the first time since being traded on draft day. For Hinrich, after being a part of the Bulls organization for 7 years, coming into the United Center as a visitor and wearing a different uniform was a little strange. “Being in the other locker room, not ever seeing it before — first time — is a little weird, but it was weird the first time I put on this [Washington Wizards] uniform too, but I got over that. But it’s been good. The [Wizards] organization has been great to me.”
As Hinrich was being introduced in Washington’s starting lineup, he received a rousing ovation — and deservedly so — from the fans. Captain Kirk will always get love in Chicago and despite playing in a different city now, he says that he and his family will still make their home here in the offseason.
Now that we’ve gotten the sentimental stuff out of the way, let’s get down to what people really came to see last night and that was the first head-to-head matchup on the NBA stage between Derrick Rose and John Wall.
While Rose is going into his third season as a professional, Wall is still getting used to the rigors and the grind of NBA life. “It’s been tough, travelling a whole lot. I gotta get used to travelling so much. We played last night and got on the plane right after. I’m used to staying another night and then leaving the next day. So travelling is pretty tough and this is my first back-to-back too.”
He was also sporting his first NBA related injury as well; a small cut over his right eye. “I got my first wound in practice before our first preseason game,” said Wall. “Andray [Blatche] hit me with an elbow. But I needed something to warm me up.”
While preseason games are usually empty in Chicago, there were certainly a lot more fans in the arena than usual. I guess that’s what happens when you pit two elite point guards against each other. Who doesn’t like to see that, right?
Along with the solid fan turn out, there were also a couple of coaching luminaries in the building as well.
Tom Crean, who coached Dwyane Wade at Marquette and who’s now the Head Coach at the University of Indiana came out and so did University of Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari who was practically gushing after the game about his two former pupils.
“[Derrick] has gotten so much better in pick-and-roll and he’s so steady on the court. I was talking to him just a second ago and he was telling me what he’s reading now on the court, and he’s like a quarterback in the NFL right now. The other one [John Wall] is going to be that way but he’s learning. The reason I was excited to watch him was the back-to-back, his first back-to-back. I wanted to see if he had energy and all those things and he was great.”
And on the many comparisons that people make between the two young and exciting guards, who better to ask than the guy who knows them best.
“One’s just more experienced right now. But they’re both fast, Derrick’s middle game is a little bit better because he’s done it, but they’re both as good as they [point guards] get.”
Then he added this gem.
“When I was watching them both play I said to myself, maybe I didn’t have as much to do with us winning as I thought!”
After the game, both Rose and Wall had high praise for each other as well.
Said Wall of going up against Rose, “It was a great matchup, you know. He was pushing it, we were going back-and-forth. Once we scored or if they got a stop you’ve got to find him because he’s pushing the ball back at you. So I think it was a great matchup and I think it will be a great matchup for years to come.”
“He’s a good player,” Said Rose of Wall. “It’s challenging going against a player who’s fast like that, but if you know that you can guard somebody that fast, it gives you a little bit of confidence on defense. But he’s still learning everything, learning the NBA game — I am too — but I think that he should be fine.”
The Chicago Bulls defeated the Washington Wizards 107-96 and the next time these two teams meet (November 13th in Chicago, just in case you were wondering), the game is going to count and it’s highly advisable that you watch. But I say that with this one little caveat, make sure you pay attention. Pay VERY close attention. If you blink or even look away for a second, you’re going to miss something. It happened to me on a couple of occasions last night.
So while everyone agreed that Rose and Wall are now officially the two fastest guys in the NBA, what no one could settle on was who was the faster of the two. But there was at least one person who thinks he knows the answer but he’s, well, sort of a homer.
Who’s faster, John Wall or Derrick Rose?
Come on, man.
You don’t know or you don’t want to say?
Naw, I know.
So answer the question then, who’s faster?
Come on, man. Poohdini!
This is the exchange that I had with Joakim Noah as we were both leaving the United Center after the game. But like I said, Joakim is a little biased.