WASHINGTON — Forward Trevor Ariza scored a playoff-high 30 points with six 3-pointers and guard Bradley Beal had 18 points as the Washington Wizards defeated the Chicago Bulls 98-89 on Sunday afternoon to take a 3-1 series lead.
Center Marcin Gortat added 17 points and guard John Wall had 15 points for the Wizards, who scored the game’s first 14 points, led 55-40 at halftime and by 23 in the fourth quarter. Washington played without Nene after the NBA suspended the power forward for one game following a tussle with Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler during the fourth quarter of Game 3.
Beal’s 3-pointer opening the fourth quarter gave Washington the largest lead for either team in the series at 85-62.
Taj Gibson set a career-playoff high with 32 points for the Bulls. The reserve forward made his first nine attempts from the field and finished 13 of 16 while his teammates went 22 of 62. Butler had 16 points and center Joakim Noah had 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Wall also had 10 assists and spearheaded Washington’s up-tempo designs in front of the raucous and towel waving sellout crowd. The Wizards finished with a 16-2 advantage in fast break points and had 22 assists with only six turnovers.
Chicago committed 16 turnovers leading to 29 points for Washington.
The Bulls rallied in the final period and pulled within eight points at 91-83 on Gibson’s jumper with 2:03 remaining, but would get no closer. The Wizards countered with consecutive dunks by Gortat and Ariza.
Ariza had eight rebounds and made 10 of 17 shots from the field including 6 of 10 from beyond the arc.
Chicago won the two previous matchups in Washington, including Game 3’s 100-97 victory on Friday. Washington won the opening two games of the series in Chicago.
Forward Mike Dunleavy, who scored 35 points in Game 3, went scoreless in the first half and finished with six points.
Foul trouble hampered any comeback hopes for the Bulls in the third quarter. Forward Carlos Boozer picked up five in the period including a flagrant. The Wizards made 20 of 25 free throws.
Washington scored at least 97 points in all four games this series. The Bulls led the NBA in scoring defense during the regular season.
Washington opened with a football-like score lead and pushed the margin to 15 on Ariza’s third 3-pointer in the opening six minutes. His buzzer-beating 3-pointer sent the Wizards into halftime leading 55-40 and his shot from beyond the arc opening the second half extended the lead to 18.
Ariza’s six 3’s matched a franchise record held by Gilbert Arenas.
Trevor Booker replaced Nene in the starting lineup and had eight points and a team-high nine rebounds before fouling out.
NOTES: Booker and Gibson received simultaneous technical fouls in the second quarter with Booker on the bench. Players on both teams have combined for 10 technical fouls in the series. … The home playoff victory was the Wizards’ first since April 24, 2008, against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. … The Wizards shot exactly 50 percent from the field and from 3-point arc in the first half. … Gibson made all eight of his FG attempts before halftime. The rest of the Bulls went 7 of 32. … Members of both teams were asked for comment pregame about the racist comments allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. “It’s unfortunate,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “Anything whether it’s our situation or society in general, come on, we’ve come a long way. Whether it’s NBA basketball or any walks of society, there is no place for that. It’s unfortunate to see something like that.” … The series returns to Chicago for Game 5 on Tuesday.
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