Behind a dominant defensive effort in the fourth quarter, the Wizards took game one in Chicago, 102-93. The Wizards take the 1-0 series lead and eliminate Chicago's home court advantage with the victory. Washington was simply the better team down the stretch, holding the Bulls to just six points in the final 5:30, at one point forcing the Bulls into a 1/10 shooting stretch. During that final 5:30, Washington outscored Chicago 16-6. While Washington started the game really struggling at the free throw line, the fourth quarter was a whole different story, as the Wizards made all 12 of their free throws in the final frame. The Wizards shot 48.6% from the field compared to 42.0% for Chicago.
Nene led six Wizards in double figures with 24 points while Ariza had 18. Gortat brought his double-double ways from the regular season, finishing with 15 points and 13 boards. John Wall and Bradley Beal struggled from the field, combining to shoot 9/25, but made their free throws down the stretch en route to 16 and 13 points respectively. They also combined to dish out 13 assists and helped hold August to just 3/15 shooting.
For the Bulls, Hinrich and Augustin led seven Bulls in double figures with 16 each while Noah had 10 points and 10 boards in the loss.
Game two is Tuesday night at 9:30 in Chicago.
The Bulls looked like they might run away with this one in the third quarter. They went up by 13 and had the entire electric United Center behind them. The Wizards showed they were not intimidated by the environment though as they battled back. Behind eight points from Trevor Ariza, the Wizards closed the quarter on a 21-11 run to enter final frame down by just three.
Player of the Game
Nene was dominating from the opening moment. He started the game with a huge dunk and led the Wizards the whole way, finishing with a game-high 24 points on 11/17 shooting. He added eight boards, three assists and two steals. He also helped hold Noah to just 10 points, 10 boards and four assists.
45-39. Early in this one, the Bulls were killing the Wizards on the boards, especially Gibson and Noah on the offensive end. The Wizards controlled the glass in the second half though, ultimately winning the rebounding battle by six on the way to victory.
Andre Miller kept the Wizards in the game early in the fourth quarter, scoring eight huge points when the Bulls were trying to put the Wizards away. He finished with 10 points on 5/7 shooting.
By: Jacob Raim