#WizBulls Game 5 Gameday Blog

Posted on April 29, 2014 by Jeremy Hyman

Final Score: Wizards 75 Bulls 69

On to round two we go! With a 75-69 victory at United Center in game 5, the Wizards closed out the Bulls to advance to the second round for the first time since 2005. Buckets were almost impossible to come by in the fourth quarter as only 31 total points were scored, with both teams locking down on defense. The 69 points scored was a season low for the Bulls.

The game came down to the final 20 seconds. With 18 seconds to play and the Wizards up three, Jimmy Butler missed a layup attempt after appearing to try to get the hoop and the harm instead of simply making the bucket. Andre Miller was fouled and subsequently missed a pair of free throws. Nene saved the day for the first time with an offensive board. Beal was then fouled and made one of two to put the Wizards up four, and on the miss, Nene once again grabbed an offensive board. Wall proceeded to hit two free throws to ice it. The Wizards managed to grab six offensive boards in the final two minutes to keep Chicago from even having an opportunity to claw their way back in.

The game was played at Chicago's pace all night, but that didn't stop the Wizards from getting their third win of the series at the United Center. It was a serious defensive slog, with the Wizards shooting 40.5% and the Bulls a paltry 33.3%. The Wizards' offensive rebounding down the stretch made a big difference, as they ended up winning the rebounding battle 49-43, and winning the offensive rebounding battle 13-11, an area the Bulls dominated during the series. Part of the reason that Chicago struggled on the glass down the stretch was that Gibson went down with an ankle injury with about eight minutes to play.

Wall, Beal and Nene starred for the Wizards in this one, as the Bulls made a very conscious effort to deny Ariza from the outside. Wall led all scorers with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Nene returned from his one game suspension in a big way to score 20 points on 10/17 shooting, grab seven boards and dish out four assists. The big Brazilian was primarily responsible for the Wizards winning the battle in the paint, 26-18. Finally, Beal had 17 points, five rebounds and four assists.

The game wasn't won on the offensive end though, as this one was one on the defensive end and on the glass. Gortat only had two points, but pulled down 13 boards, blocked three shots, and helped hold the Bulls three headed front court of Boozer, Noah and Gibson to just 10/30 shooting.  The Bulls in general were just 9/27 in the paint.  Ariza had just six points, but was locked in on Augustin, holding him to 1/10 shooting, and also grabbed nine boards and has two steals. Booker also helped hold down the Bulls front court, and had seven boards, three blocks and two steals. Four of those boards came on the offensive end, as Booker seemed to keep countless possessions alive.

The only Bulls to have much offensive success were their starting backcourt tandem of Butler and Hinrich. Each of them had 16 points. Noah only had six points but grabbed 18 boards and dished out seven assists.

The Wizards now wait for the Pacers-Hawks series to end to find out their opponent in round two. The Hawks lead the series three games to two with game six on Thursday night. The Wizards would open at home against the eighth seeded Hawks and would hit the road to face the number one seeded Pacers. - Jacob Raim


Pregame

We've made it! Back at United Center for Game 5!

The first time in both John Wall and Bradley Beal's careers they'll have a chance to close out a series. There's nothing that can prepare you for the intensity of a closeout game - when the opposition is literally playing for their season - but tonight they'll get a taste of it from a tenacious Bulls squad.

The good news is that they'll have their full squad available again as Nene will be back in the starting lineup after missing Game 4 due to suspension. He's more than ready to get back out there and help his team finish this off:


This has been a physical series from the opening tip of Game 1 and we don't expect anything different tonight.

A key for the Wiz will be to try and slow down Taj Gibson, who has been the Bulls most explosive player in the series. He's averaging close to 20 points and almost five offensive rebounds per game in the series. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he won't change his starting lineup, which means Gibson will come off the bench again, but look for him to play a lot of minutes in this do-or-die situation for Chicago.

One reason the Wiz have been successful has been their lack of turnovers. They are only averaging 9.0 per game and had just six on Sunday afternoon in DC. Obviously that starts with point guard John Wall, who has been as steady as they come in his first playoff series while leading the Wiz to this 3-1 lead.

We heard from Randy Wittman before tonight's game who continued to stress the defensive side of the ball:

We've got an 8pm tip tonight on CSN locally and TNT nationally. Listen to Dave Johnson and Glenn Consor on 99.1 FM or 1500 AM.

And Jacob and I will be live chatting from United Center so come join us on WashingtonWizards.com.

Let's see if we can close this one out!



Shootaround

It was business as usual this morning. Back in our same facility for shootaround in Chicago.

The team can sense how close they are to doing something very few people picked to happen, but they also know they have not accomplished anything yet. Their mentality has not changed and they are still playing the underdog card even with a 3-1 series lead.


Nene also spoke to the media this morning and could not have been more proud of his teammates for stepping up in his absence. He also said to expect another physical battle on the post in tonight's Game 5:


We'll have a few more videos from shootaround shortly and will check in again from the arena later tonight.



Monday's Practice

One more win.

One more win and the Wizards will accomplish something they've only done once in the last 32 years. Make it beyond the first round of the playoffs.

That's the situation heading into Tuesday night's Game 5 in Chicago. Win and advance.

The Wizards hold a 3-1 series lead over the Bulls and will have three chances to close out this best-of-seven series.

But even though they have some wiggle room, head coach Randy Wittman wants them to take the approach that this Game 5 is a do-or-die situation. He wants them to stay hungry, be greedy, and not bank on the fact that they do have some leeway in the series.


While it may have been difficult to notice, the Wizards played Game 4 without their starting PF Nene, who was serving a one game suspension for his on-court incident with Jimmy Butler in Game 3. He'll be back in the starting lineup for Game 5 tonight and could be playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder after being forced out of Sunday's game. While his teammates stepped up in his absence, they talked on Monday about how important he is to this team and how they need him to advance in this series:

Marcin Gortat

Trevor Booker

Drew Gooden

Tonight's Game 5 is set for 8pm et on CSN locally or TNT nationally. It can be heard on 99.1 FM or 1500 AM.

For more, check out Wizards Playoff Central presented by Comcast SportsNet.

Posted in: Sports
next up:

How the Wizards Won Game 4

April 28, 2014

The Wizards were missing Nene, but still took game 4 in decisive fashion. How did they do it?

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