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Wizards Put A Spell On Bulls In Game 1

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 21, 2014 2:00PM

It was a bad weekend for Chicago sports teams in postseason play. The Bulls ensured a weekend of intense hand-wringing after being outscored 18-6 in the final six minutes of a 102-93 loss to the Washington Wizards in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series. For all the talk about teams jockeying for playoff position to avoid facing the Bulls, Washington looked like the seasoned playoff team at the United Center.

Washington, making their first playoff appearance since 2005, and the Bulls got off to rocky starts in the first quarter, with the Wizards holding a 24-22 lead after the first 12 minutes. Washington point guard John Wall had five points and three assists in the period while Carlos Boozer scored nine points and Jimmy Butler scored four points for the Bulls.

The Bulls seemed to get untracked in the second quarter as D.J. Augustin scored 11 points, Taj Gibson scored nine and Kirk Hinrich scored five, while Wall continued his hot hand for the Wizards and center Nene ended the first half with 14 points, but the Bulls defense tightened to take a 54-48 halftime lead.

The Bulls applied more defensive pressure in the third quarter while Mike Dunleavy got untracked offensively and scored eight quick points. Dunleavy ended the quarter with 11 points. The Bulls extended their lead to 12 points midway through the quarter before Washington slowly crept back, led by Nene, Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza.

The Wizards continued their comeback in the fourth quarter after a sloppy start to the period. Two layups by Andre Miller and a layup by Nene cut the Bulls’ lead to 79-78, but the Bulls extended their lead with jump shots by Gibson and Hinrich. Joakim Noah made the score 87-84 with a jump shot with 6:16 remaining before the Wizards went on their run.

Nene led all scorers with 24 points in his return to the starting lineup for Washington. Trevor Ariza scored 18 points and Wall added 16 points six assists. Seven Bulls scored in double figures, led by Augustin and Hinrich with 16 points each and Jimmy Butler’s 15 points. But the defensive lapse in the fourth quarter and a nine-man rotation should be some cause for alarm for Bulls fans. The odds are good that Tom Thibodeau will have his squad raring to earn a split in the series Tuesday night at the United Center before heading to Washington. Tip-off is 8:30 p.m.