The Washington Wizards received some much needed help from forward-center Nene Tuesday in a 101-99 OT road victory over the Chicago Bulls. The Brazilian big man began the extra period with a one-man 6-0 run, as he challenged 2014 Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah.
Nene finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists before he fouled out with 2.4 seconds left to go, the score 101-99, Washington. Chicago had a chance with former Wizards guard Kirk Hinrich at the line, but the career 0.755 shooter fizzled. He blew his first look then had to intentionally miss his second due to a lack of time on the game clock, which resulted in John Wall heaving the ball into the air as time expired.
Hinrich joined Washington in 2010 to help mentor Wall, but the venture proved to be short lived and Hinrich was gone before Nene joined the team in 2011. The Wizards needed some help as they sat on Gilbert Arenas, and Hinrich was thought of as a veteran capable of helping Wall--and the franchise--forget all about "Agent Zero."
Three years removed from both Hinrich and "Hibachi," Wall posted a career-best .351 from three-point range this season, shattering his rookie season record of .291. He averaged 19.3 points, 8.8 assists (#2), and 1.8 steals (#8), the latter of which matched a previous high set during his rookie year. Tuesday's win gave Wall and the visiting Wizards a commanding 2-0 lead in their series--Washington's first since 2008--and the removal of all doubt as to whether Wall and the Wizards were "serious."
Two more wins at home would mark the first Wizards Playoffs series sweep since 1982 (2-0 over the New Jersey Nets), the first 3-0 First Round run since 2005 (four straight and against the Bulls no less), and the first 4-0 First Round sweep in franchise history since the seven-game First Round, which was introduced in 2003. In short, it would be a good time to be a "serious" Wizards fan.