Bulls 100 – Wizards 97
April 25, 2014
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) April 26, 2014
The first home playoff game at the Phone Booth in six years was a thriller that ultimately ended in disappointment for the raucous sold-out Friday night crowd.
The Wizards came out strong with Bradley Beal and John Wall at the reigns of the team. Much like Games 1 and 2, however, the Bulls managed to claw their way back into the game and make the Wizards’ offense as stagnant as ever.
The game came to a screeching halt with the ejection of Nene after a scuffle with Jimmy Butler in the fourth quarter, which ultimately sucked the air out of the Phone Booth.
The Bulls hit a few big shots, but then the Wizards were able to come back and tie the game thanks to one 20-year-old Bradley Beal showing off for national television.
It was ultimately not enough, however, as free throws once again proved to be the pain-in-the-ass they’ve been all series, including two huge ones from John Wall that could have given them a 2 point lead with under a minute remaining. After these misses, Jimmy Butler hit a dagger-esque three-ball.
The Wizards then got some lucky breaks and trips to the line, but ultimately, the Bulls were able to pull this one out.
Bradley Beal – 25 points, 8 assists, 8-18 FG
For the second game in a row, Bradley Beal showed himself ready for another National TV performance. He and Wall both went off to begin the game in the first quarter but then went quiet soon after that.
After the Wizards saw their lead slip away (in a similar fashion that it did in games 1 and 2), Beal turned up the superstar meter to help compensate. Sinking some big threes and stepback jumpers, he was the catalyst for why Washington was able to stay in this game after the ejection of Nene.
While it was not enough to close out game three, Beal should still feel more than confident about his second straight solid performance in the playoffs. With this being the second game, look for Chicago to adjust and try and shut him down in game four here at the Phone Booth. This may lead for more of an opportunity for John Wall to display his prowess on the court.
A forgettable night for:
Nene – 10pts, 5-15 FG, 2 tech ejection
Things were starting to look good as the Wizards were fighting back against the pesky runs that Chicago was making, up until the most crucial play of the game: the ejection of one angry Brazilian.
Nene’s frustration levels had to be off the charts as he was getting hacked time-after-time with not even a glance from the referees. In the fourth quarter, his frustration got the best of him after Jimmy Butler appeared to have shoved the Wizards’ x-factor.
What followed next was very strange. The two went forehead-to-forehead talking smack until at one point Nene grabbed the back of Butler’s head and then appeared to attempt to shove Butler by the neck area. While Butler did not receive anything for the original instigation, Nene was assessed two technicals and thrown out of the game.
Key stat of the game:
Fourth game in a row (including the final regular season game) I’ve had to list free throws.
I’m sick of it. 20-30 is unacceptable; especially in late-game situations.
I don’t need to say anymore. John Wall said it best about his two crucial late misses:
“My teammates told me it wasn’t the reason we lost, but in my opinion it was the reason we lost.”
The Wizards come back Sunday to the Phone Booth to try and forget tonight’s loss and to try and regain the momentum and head back to Chicago with a 3-1 lead in the series.
The biggest story will be whether the Wizards have Nene for Game 4, which is still yet to be seen. Slightly concerning (even though Randy waved off any concern due to the fact a timeout was called) is whether any sanction comes down for Gortat since he apparently came off the bench during the altercation.
The Wizards will need to make adjustments to stop Dunleavy from slicing up the Wizards’ defense again and they’ll need to find Bradley Beal and John Wall some more open looks like they did to open the game.
Game 4. Sunday. 1pm. Hoop District has got you covered.