(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls clawed back into their Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup with the Washington Wizards and will try to even the series Sunday afternoon at Verizon Center.
Game 3 went Chicago's way, 100-97, Friday night in Washington's first home playoff game in almost six years.
The Bulls emerged victorious thanks to some amazing play from Mike Dunleavy. The veteran forward went off for 35 points, one off his career-high and 18 more than his previous playoff best. Dunleavy made a franchise-playoff-record eight 3-pointers.
"I just have not had a ton of looks. Coach mentioned some stuff yesterday about trying to get me some more catch and shoot situations and we did that," said Dunleavy. "Got a couple easy layups early on and got going. Just had one of those nights. We've had different guys do it. Tonight I was able to hit a bunch of shots."
Jimmy Butler finished with 15 points, followed by 14 from Carlos Boozer. Taj Gibson and D.J. Augustin chipped in 13 points apiece off the bench.
The Bulls had struggled in the fourth quarters and overtime of Games 1 and 2. They were outscored 61-42 during that time, but head coach Tom Thibodeau tinkered with his crunch-time lineup, inserting Dunleavy and sitting either Augustin or Kirk Hinrich.
The vaunted Wizards backcourt of Bradley Beal and John Wall scored 25 and 23 points, respectively, in the setback. Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat registered double-doubles as Ariza finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Gortat had 13 points and 11 boards.
Nene managed 10 points, but he became a major storyline.
Nene and Butler were involved in an altercation near the Chicago basket. The two touched foreheads during the scrum before Nene grabbed the back of Butler's neck. Nene was ejected, while Butler was just assessed a technical foul.
"You can't control when you play physical, things get hot. It's over," said Nene. "The whole team is thinking about Game 4 and stepping up for real in a big series."
Nene's ejection hurt the Wizards, but they were able to overcome a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit.
The Bulls took a timeout with 43 seconds left and the score tied at 91-91. With the shot clock winding down on their possession, Joakim Noah dribbled towards Butler on the right wing, handed it off and set a screen that left Butler wide open. The third-year pro did the rest, drilling his second 3- pointer of the game and series to give the visitors a 94-91 lead with 24.2 seconds left to play.
Ariza's 3-point try at the other end was off the mark. Chicago advanced the ball to midcourt with a timeout, but Dunleavy's inbound pass sailed over Noah and into Wall's hands. Wall went right to the rim and drew a foul, making both free throws, but Butler countered with two at the other end for a 96-93 margin.
Both teams made four free throws the rest of the way for the final tally. Gibson went 1-of-2 at the foul line with 3.1 seconds left, but when he missed the second attempt the Wizards had no timeouts left and Ariza's pass went out of bounds to essentially end the game.
"It just feels good to get a win," said Dunleavy. "It's been a rough series. Whether I score 35 points or zero, I'm just happy we won."
The Bulls have some history going against them. Only three teams have lost the first two games of a playoff series at home and come back to win the series.
Game 5 is slated for Tuesday night in Chicago.
04/27 10:10:46 ET