The Washington Wizards defeated the Chicago Bulls on Sunday 98-89 and moved one step closer to advancing to the next round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Trevor Ariza led the offensive attack for the Wizards. As a matter of fact, he took control of the game in multiple ways. Ariza finished with a game-high 30 points while going 6-10 from three-point land. On top of his scoring contributions, Ariza grabbed 8 rebounds and 2 steals. This guy was absolutely on fire and that obviously rubbed off on his teammates.
The other pieces in the Wizards’ starting lineup also picked up the slack for Nene, who was suspended for his quarrel with Bulls guard Jimmy Butler in game 3. Bradley Beal scored 18 points. Marcin Gortat chipped in with 17 points and an unexpected 5 assists. John Wall notched his first double-double of the series with 15 points and 10 assists. Trevor Booker added 3 crushing blocks to go along with 8 points.
The Bulls tried to fight back but they trailed for the entire game. Joakim Noah attempted to rally his troops by tallying 10 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists. However, he did not get much help other than Taj Gibson’s playoff career-high 32 points.
Chicago prides themselves on terrific team defense. Unfortunately for them, that defense could not be of aid in game 4 against the Wizards. The Bulls found themselves down 14-0 before they could even get on the scoreboard. It was as if the Wizards were on a mission to destroy the Bulls from the tipoff and that mission was successful.
The score in this game is not indicative of the actual flow of the game. The Wizards only won by 9 points but at one point in the fourth quarter, the Wizards were pummeling the Bulls by 21 points. At that time in the game, Wizards coach Randy Wittman decided to step off of the gas pedal by taking some of his starters out. That was a sign of the game being controlled by the Wizards.
The Wizards were torched by Mike Dunleavy’s three-point barrage in game 3. Game 4 was a different story. Dunleavy was 0-2 from long distance in Sunday’s contest and the Bulls shot a horrendous 4-19(21.1%) from three-point range as a team. On the other hand, Washington shot 8-19(42.1%) from three-point land.
The Wizards only committed 6 turnovers but forced the Bulls to 16 giveaways. There just seemed to be more energy on the Wizards than on the Bulls. Washington outworked Chicago, plain and simple. Not many teams can actually say that they outworked Chicago in a 48-minute game.
Game 5 of this exciting series is scheduled to start at 8:00 PM ET on Tuesday. The two teams will battle it out in Chicago in this upcoming matchup. The Bulls will try to makeup some ground. Noah and company really do not have a choice because it is either win or go home from this point on in the series. The Wizards are on the other side of this matchup and as of right now, fans in DC have to be proud of what their team has accomplished. Will Washington close the series out in game 5? Or, will Chicago force a pivotal game 6? The suspense is already creating great excitement for Tuesday’s battle.