NBA Game Summary - Washington at Chicago
(Sunday, April 20th)
Final Score: Washington 102, Chicago 93
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.
"After yesterday's practice I knew these guys were focused like they haven't been before and that's a good sign," said Wizards coach Randy Wittman.
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 scored 15.
"Our defense wasn't very good; 102 points, 48 percent (shooting), outrebounded. It's hard to win like that," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
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 51-44 lead.
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.
"We just didn't keep the intensity up. We also complained on some calls and didn't get back on defense," Bulls forward Taj Gibson said. "That hurt us."
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.
04/21 01:51:14 ET