Washington wins series 4-1
|Game 1: Sunday, April 20th|
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|Game 2: Tuesday, April 22nd|
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|Game 3: Friday, April 25th|
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|Game 4: Sunday, April 27th|
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|Game 5: Tuesday, April 29th|
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1:00 PM ET, April 27, 2014
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
WASHINGTON -- In his customary seat next to the bench, Ted Leonsis sported a No. 42 jersey in support of his suspended forward. By the time the game was over, the Washington Wizards owner stood and cheered as the crowd chanted "Free Ne-ne!!"
Trevor Ariza had a career playoff-high 30 points, and the Wizards scored the first 14 points of the game and barely looked back Sunday, overcoming the absence of their so-called "X-factor" as they beat the Chicago Bulls 98-89 to take 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference series.
Ariza made 6 of 10 3-pointers, John Wall added 15 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who forced 16 turnovers and committed only six. The other big difference came at the 3-point arc, where Washington went 8 for 19 and Chicago just 4 for 19.
The Wizards, seeking to win a playoff series for only the third time since the 1970s, can finish off the Bulls in Game 5 on Tuesday in Chicago.
Taj Gibson scored a career-high 32 points on 13 for 16 shooting for Chicago, but his teammates combined to go 22 for 62 from the field. He made more field goals in the first half (8) than the rest the Bulls combined (7). According to ESPN Stats & Info, Gibson is the first Bulls player with at least 30 points and five rebounds off the bench in a playoff game since starters and subs were first tracked in 1970.
Mike Dunleavy, who scored 35 points in Game 3, could barely get a look for the Bulls, much less a basket. He went 0 for 3 from the field in the first half and finished 3 for 8 with six points.
The Wizards' starting five outscored the Bulls' starters, 88-47
Nene was suspended for the game after grabbing Jimmy Butler's head during a face-to-face confrontation in the fourth quarter of the Wizards' Game 3 loss. Wall this week called Nene the "X-factor," and for good reason: Since the March 2012 trade that brought the Brazilian to D.C., Washington is 65-63 when he plays and 21-41 when he doesn't, although the club did hold its own by winning 12 of 21 when Nene went down with a knee injury late in the regular season.
Washington stormed to a 14-0 lead, with Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau calling a timeout after each Wizards "touchdown." Chicago's first seven possessions consisted of six missed shots and two turnovers. Butler finally got the visitors on the board with an 18-footer 4:12 into the game.
Can 3-1 Magic Continue For Wizards?
The Washinton Wizards/Bullets are 5-0 in closing out a best-of-7 playoff series after taking a 3-1 lead:
The next sequence: Hinrich hit the side of the backboard with a baseline jumper, and Ariza hit a 3-pointer that took an odd carom off the rim to make the score 17-2. The ball was truly bouncing Washington's way.
But foul trouble took its toll on the Wizards' non-Nene frontcourt. Booker, Marcin Gortat, Drew Gooden and Al Harrington all had two fouls by early in the second quarter. Shortly after picking up his third, Booker -- while seated on the bench -- and Gibson were assessed double technicals, the ninth and 10th technical fouls issued in the feisty series.
The Bulls pulled within four in the second quarter, but the Wizards closed the half on a 21-10 run. Bradley Beal swung the ball to Ariza on the right baseline for a 3-pointer at the horn, giving the Wizards a 55-40 lead at the break.
The Wizards led by 23 early in the fourth, but the Bulls threatened a late comeback. Gibson's jumper with 1:41 to play made the score 91-83, the first and only time Chicago pulled within single digits in the second half.
But a layup by Gortat and a Gortat-to-Ariza feed for a dunk got the lead quickly back to 12, forcing a Bulls timeout. As the teams headed to the benches, the graying millionaire wearing No. 42 stood, clapped and waved a red Wizards rally towel.
Ariza's six 3-pointers tied a Wizards playoff record. ... Bulls F Carlos Boozer committed five fouls -- all in the third quarter. ... Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who played during the Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" era, was asked to compare today's game to those rough-and-tumble days. "Not even close," Wittman said. "It's like sixth-grade flag football compared to NFL tackle football." ... After responding well to Leonsis' appeal to show up on time for Game 3, Wizards fans reverted to their late-arriving ways Sunday. The empty seats at tipoff resembled something more like a November midweek affair against Charlotte than a playoff game for a franchise that had been absent from the postseason for six years.
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 27: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Chicago Bulls during...(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Trevor Ariza simply could not be stopped. His six 3-pointers (four of which came in the first half) tied a Wizards playoff record, while his dunk with just under a minute left in the game was the deciding nail in the Bulls' coffin.
X factor: John Wall. While his shot wasn't falling Sunday, Wall played the role of orchestrator to perfection, especially late in the game, when he found Marcin Gortat for a dunk that stifled the Bulls' late-game charge.
LVP: Carlos Boozer was a wreck on both ends of the floor. He couldn't stick with Gortat or Trevor Booker on defense, while on offense his shot was nowhere to be found. Worse, he had a 3:30 stretch in which he committed five fouls.
Taj Gibson scored a game-high 32 points on Sunday, including 20 of the Bulls' 40 points in the first half. He had more points in the paint than the rest of the Bulls combined.[+]
Bulls Offense, Game 4
The Wizards scored 29 points off of 16 Bulls turnovers, second-most points the Bulls have given up this season (30 vs Heat Oct. 29, 2013). The Wizards also only committed six turnovers, the fewest Bulls forced in a game this season. This helped the Wizards to a 16-2 advantage on fast break points.
Trevor Ariza scored playoff career-high 30 points Sunday. In the first four games of the series, the Wizards have been much more efficient with Ariza on the court. --Trevor Ariza was 6-of-9 on catch-and-shoot jumpers Sunday, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Ariza has the most catch-and-shoot attempts for the Wizards this postseason, and has made 52.2% overall, 50.0% from 3-point range (rest of Wizards: 42.7% overall, 40.0% from beyond the arc).[+]
Wizards with Trevor Ariza On/Off Court, 2014 Playoffs
Taj Gibson went 13-of-16 from the field today against the Wizards, making 81.3% of his shots. He's the first player in any playoff game to shoot at least 80 percent from the field while attempting at least 16 shots since Elton Brand did it for the Clippers in 2006 (18-of-22, 81.8% vs Suns). Gibson's 13 made field goals were only 5 shy of the 18 total makes by the Bulls' starting lineup, and no other Chicago player made more than 5.
Analysis: Since the start of 2010, Thibodeau's first season as head coach, the Bulls have had a league-low 47 games in which they have allowed defensive efficiency of 110 points or higher. The Bulls are now 6-41 in those games (0-10 this season).[+]
Four Factors Analysis
From Elias: Taj Gibson is the first Bulls player with at least 30 points and 5 rebounds off the bench in a playoff game (since starters and subs were first tracked in 1970).
ESPN Stats & Information
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