Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich scored 16 points apiece but the Bulls came up short against the visiting Washington Wizards in a 75-69 loss in Game 5 on Tuesday.
Joakim Noah recorded six points, 18 rebounds and seven assists for Chicago, which fell to Washington 4-1 in the series.
The Bulls again found themselves trailing after the opening quarter, this time 23-15. Washington connected on four of its first five shots from the field, yet it was tied at eight points apiece with seven and a half minutes left in the first.
Though Washington’s lead hit double digits at 25-15 early in the second quarter, Chicago made a run as Noah drew an offensive foul on Nene and Kirk Hinrich followed with his second three of the quarter to get Bulls within six, 32-26.
The Bulls run continued as D.J. Augustin hit a 20-footer, Taj Gibson connected from 16 feet and Butler nailed a three to get Chicago within one, 34-33, with 4:06 left.
Gibson’s free throws gave Chicago a 35-34 lead and the teams went into intermission tied 41-41. Butler and Gibson scored nine points apiece in the first half, which featured nine lead changes and five ties.
In the second half, Washington took control on both ends of the floor, outscoring Chicago 17-9 to take a 58-50 lead late in the quarter. After committing just one turnover in the first half, Chicago had six miscues in the third while being outscored 20-11 in the quarter.
In the fourth, Gibson tweaked his left ankle with 7:51 remaining and Washington’s lead at 65-59. He was helped to the locker room and did not return.
Chicago cut the deficit to three, 65-62, on Hinrich’s fourth three-pointer of the night with under seven minutes remaining. Washington would extend its lead, but Boozer’s 17-footer made it 70-67 with under four minutes to play.
With 2:18 remaining, Nene was whistled for his fourth foul, sending Augustin to the line, where he made a pair to get the Bulls within three, 72-69.
The Bulls, however, would get no closer. The Wizards secured two offensive rebounds on their next possession, though they did not capitalize. Boozer and Butler missed on their attempts to make it a one-point game, leading to the Washington free throws that closed out the series.