CHICAGO -- Randy Wittman said to check back with him after he'd gotten some playoff games under his belt and then ask if his lack of postseason experience is a factor when going against the likes of Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Now that he's heading back to D.C. with a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven, first-round Eastern Conference series the answer is not really.
"Oh, it’s different. No question," Wittman said before practice this week. "As I’m telling our players, the intensity, the magnitude of the game, possessions seem to be more important more-so than a regular season game. For the most part, as I told our guys, we didn't need to anything differently than we’ve done all year. And I don’t need to do anything differently … I try to tell myself that as much as I tell these guys. I've got to adhere to that, too."
The rotations haven't changed. Trevor Booker, Andre Miller and Martell Webster are the primary three players he goes to off the bench. Al Harrington and Drew Gooden have gotten time, but not enough to crack the main group.
They were outscored in Game 1 by Chicago, 30-16. In Game 2, the reserves fell short 47-27. Still, both were victories for Washington. So until the Bulls do something to force Wittman to adjust his personnel, why should he? Even when they don't play their best as a group when it comes to scoring, they still get the job done.
Wittman benched starting center Marcin Gortat on Tuesday and instead gave Booker 27 minutes. Booker was a better matchup for Taj Gibson who was 2-for-7 in the fourth quarter and overtime. Trevor Ariza moved over to defend D.J. Augustin, who had torched the WIzards for a team-high 25 points. Augustin was 2-for-8 in the fourth quarter and overtime. Being 10 inches taller and much longer made the difference for Ariza.
The Wizards were able to erase a 10-point deficit late in the fourth quarter, force overtime and win 101-99.
Give Wittman his due, because if these were moves being made by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau he'd certainly be getting all the credit. Two more wins and Wittman will not only get that contract extension from owner Ted Leonsis, but it'll be a longer one than previously expected, too. As it should be.