Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Wizards rallied back from a
13-point deficit, took the lead with a late run and won going away.
So which was the team with playoff experience?
Nene scored 24 points and the Wizards had big contributions from all five
starters in their first playoff game in six years, a 102-93 win over the
Chicago Bulls on Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
The Bulls remained in the lead following a 14-4 run in second quarter until
Trevor Ariza's free throws with 4:17 remaining put the Wizards in front.
The shots were part of a 14-3 run that gave the Wizards an eight-point lead
with 25 seconds left.
Nene rattled in a shot during the spurt but the biggest points might have been
Marcin Gortat's baseline jumper after he rebounded a John Wall miss, pushing
Washington's lead to six with 34.2 seconds remaining.
Indeed, pluck any Wizards player from the five on the floor at tipoff and he
made a significant contribution.
Gortat collected 15 points and 13 rebounds, Ariza had 18 points, Wall scored
16 with six rebounds and six assists and Bradley Beal had 13 points and seven
assists for fifth-seeded Washington.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday in Chicago.
The fourth-seeded Bulls, in the playoffs for the second straight year without
injured star Derrick Rose, were led by 16 points apiece from Kirk Hinrich and
D.J. Augustin. Joakim Noah added 10 points and 10 rebounds and Jimmy Butler
The Wizards have won five in a row going back to the regular season.
The franchise's last playoff win came in Game 5 against LeBron James and the
Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008, when Caron Butler scored the game-winning bucket
with 3.9 seconds left. The Wizards lost that first-round series in six games.
Augustin led the Bulls in the first half with 12 points off the bench and
Hinrich scored 10. They each had five points in the 14-4 run that Hinrich
capped by stealing an inbounds pass and making a layup to give the Bulls a
Nene had 14 points in the first half and Wall scored 12 but the Wizards let an
early six-point lead slip away and trailed by six at halftime.
Chicago's 13-point lead in the third quarter was followed by a 19-7 Washington
burst capped by Ariza's 3-pointer to get the Wizards within one.
The Wizards posted their best regular-season record since they went 45-37 in
2004-05. It was the first time they won at least 30 games in six seasons ...
The Bulls lost Rose to another knee injury just 11 games into the season. He
missed all of last season with an injury to his other knee and the Bulls beat
the Nets in seven games in the first round of the playoffs before losing to
Miami in five.