CHICAGO, April 24 (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas had none of Ben Gordon's fourth-quarter magic.

Gordon scored 12 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter while Arenas was blanked as the Chicago Bulls rallied for a 103-94 victory over the Washington Wizards in the opener of their Eastern Conference series.

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In perhaps the most intriguing first-round series, the fourth-seeded Bulls used their familiar formula of tough defense and timely offense from Gordon, who scored in double digits in the fourth quarter 21 times during a spectacular rookie season.

"I just got into a rhythm early and I was hitting my shots," said Gordon, who made 11-of-19 shots. "I was just pulling them out of my (hat)."

The Bulls also got a huge effort from rookie Andres Nocioni, who had career highs of 25 points and 18 rebounds, helping Chicago's depleted front line.

"He was the best player on the floor," Gordon said. "He did everything. He played both ends of the floor he rebounded the ball for us. He scored points and was the player of the game today."

Arenas, Washington's All-Star guard who averaged better than 30 points in three games against Chicago this season, was held to nine on 3-of-19 shooting. Known to take charge down the stretch, he missed seven shots in a scoreless fourth quarter.

"Every time I had the ball they were there," Arenas said. "They were waiting for me and every time I shot the ball they had a hand in my face."

Playing in its first playoff game since winning the title in 1998, Chicago trailed by five points entering the fourth quarter before Gordon made two free throws, a 21-footer and a 3-pointer in a 10-2 surge that gave the Bulls the lead for good at 87-84 with 8:18 to go.

After a runner by Antawn Jamison, Gordon was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and made all three free throws for a 90-86 advantage.

The Wizards pulled within two points on four occasions but could get no closer. A basket by Jamison made it 94-92 with 4:38 left, but teammate Etan Thomas missed two foul shots 21 seconds later.

Gordon's dunk off a steal by Antonio Davis gave Chicago a 96-92 lead with 3:46 left. Brendan Haywood's dunk halved the deficit, but Washington did not score again, missing its last five shots.

"The two back-to-back turnovers with about 3:43 to play, that's what hurt us," Arenas said. "Until then, it was a winnable game."

Nocioni gave the Bulls some breathing room with a 3-pointer at the 2:26 mark. Accused by Arenas of being a "dirty" player, the Argentine played all 48 minutes and stepped up in the absence of Eddy Curry and Luol Deng, who are out for the season.

"Sometimes (rebounds) come," Nocioni said. "Sometimes it's just your night; they just go to your hands. Sometimes it is just luck, but I tried to get all rebounds and was just lucky tonight. Eddy is not here or Luol and it is a big game so I do what I had to do."

"I don't know what got into him," Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich said. "He was huge for us and he was a warrior."

In the fourth quarter, the Bulls repeatedly broke up the dribble hand-offs of the Wizards, disrupting the rhythm of Arenas and Larry Hughes, who scored 31 points but none in the final period.

"I'm not worried about it," Arenas said. "Sometimes you just miss shots. It happens. I can't be Superman every game."

"They made some scrappy plays and got to the free-throw line," Hughes said. "We did not make smart plays in the fourth quarter."

Hinrich scored 17 points for the Bulls, who limited the Wizards to 38 percent (33-of-86) shooting and held a 54-44 advantage on the glass. They host Game Two on Wednesday.

Jamison scored 14 points and Kwame Brown added 13 - all in the first half - for the fifth-seeded Wizards, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 1997. They have not won a postseason game since 1988, a series since 1982 or a best-of-seven series since 1979.

In the final minute, Brown had to be helped off the floor with a bruised right knee after Nocioni accidentally rolled into him.

In the first half, Hughes scored 24 points but Arenas and Jamison combined for just three on 1-of-14 shooting. Gordon scored 18 points as Chicago grabbed a 53-52 lead.

"The second quarter was a Ben Gordon-Larry Hughes shootout," Hinrich said.

"I thought our offense was good enough. It's just that Gilbert didn't get untracked," Jordan said. "Being only a point down at halftime with Gilbert not getting a field goal and Antawn shooting poorly was pretty good for us."

Arenas scored nine points in a seesaw third quarter that saw the Wizards go on a 10-0 run, the Bulls responded with an 11-2 burst and the Wizards closed the quarter with a 12-4 surge for an 82-77 lead.