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Playoff Pixels, Wizards vs. Bulls (Game 4): Stepping up without Nene

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After losing a tight Game 3 and without a suspended Nene in Game 4, the Wizards seemed almost fated to a 2-2 series tie with the Bulls. But in #NotSoWizards fashion, Washington reestablished control of the series with a convincing 98-89 win, its first home playoff victory of the John Wall era.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Take a quick glance at the box scores from Games 3 and 4, and it becomes clear pretty quickly why the Wizards lost the former and won the latter.

Turns out, not letting Mike Dunleavy score 35 points was a good strategy for the Zards. It also helped that Tom Thibodeau let Taj Gibson, far and away his best player in Game 4, languish on the bench for eight minutes to begin the second half.

There was so much to love about this game: Trevor Ariza's team-high 30 points, Bradley Beal's defense on Mike Dunleavy, John Wall's mature floor game, Ted's sporting a Nene jersey, the list goes on. Ariza shot 6-of-10 from three and also collected eight rebounds. Beal scored 18 points, but more importantly led the effort to hold Dunleavy to six points on 3-of-8 shooting. Wall shot only 4-of-15, but complimented his 15 points with 10 assists, committed only two turnovers, and helped limit D.J. Augustin and Kirk Hinrich to a combined 15 points on 6-of-22 shooting.

Trevor Booker didn't light the world ablaze, but he capably filled in for Nene, grabbing a team-high nine boards to go with eight points and three blocks in 28 minutes. Marcin Gortat struggled from the field (6-of-18), but finished with a solid 17 points, six rebounds and five assists. Andre Miller didn't make a dent on the box score, but he made a big play by getting the ball to Martell Webster (eight points) with Augustin guarding him, forcing the Bulls' most-consistent offensive threat to pick up his second foul less than a minute into the second quarter.

Gibson was the only Bull that really went loose on the Wiz, scoring a game-high 32 points on 13-of-16 shooting, and yet he only played the fourth-most minutes on the team. Thanks, Thibs?

Up 3-1 and looking every bit as superior as such a lead suggests, the Wizards have a great chance to wrap this one up in Chicago with Nene back for Game 5. Let's get it done!

KEY LINKS

Home team recaps: BF StoryStream | SB Nation (recapMike's Wall-Beal feature) | Washington Post (gamernotesAriza sidebarWise columnJReid columnBy the Numbers) | DC Sports Bog (best-worst"Free Nene"sad Wilbon) | Washington Times (gamerBooker sidebarLoverro column) | AP | CSN Washington (recapsidebarAriza/BookerBeal vs. DunleavyWall's leadershipTed's Nene jerseyGibson) | Truth About It (recapFree Nene?series over?) | Wiz of Awes (recapAriza sidebar) | DC Pro Sports ReportDistrict Sports PageDC Sports BoxESPNSICBS Sports | USA Today (gamersidebar) | Vavel | Ted's Take ("Total Team Win"buzz?"Free Nene") | Wizards.com | Monumental Network (recapanalysis)

Road team recaps: Blog A Bull StoryStream | Chicago Tribune (gamerGibson sidebarnotes) | Chicago Sun-Times (gamerDunleavy sidebar) | ESPN Chicago (recapsidebarWilbon column) | CSN Chicago (recapsidebarWall-Bealmissing Nene?Gibson's great gameDunleavy injury3-1 history) | Daily Herald (gamercolumn) | Pippen Ain't EasyHoops HabitFansidedBulls.com

Game highlights

Glenn & Dave's postgame Fast Break

Postgame interviews: Randy WittmanTrevor ArizaJohn Wall & Bradley BealTrevor BookerMarcin GortatDrew GoodenAndre MillerTom ThibodeauTaj GibsonMike DunleavyJimmy Butler

KEY STATS

29 - Points scored by the Wizards off of 16 turnovers by the Bulls.

22:6 - Washington's assists:turnovers against the Bulls.

TWEETS OF THE NIGHT

VIDEO/GIF OF THE NIGHT

(H/T Dawk Ins)

(H/T @HoopDistrictDC)

FIRST HALF GAMETHREAD COMMENT OF THE NIGHT

Gt_comment

SECOND HALF GAMETHREAD COMMENT(S) OF THE NIGHT

Well done, Big Spoon.

GAME RECAP COMMENT OF THE NIGHT

So much greatness.

Gt_comment

Gt_comment

FIRST HALF GAMETHREAD ROLLCALL

# Commenter # Comments
1 Chetho 63
2 njccc 46
3 ExtraSpecialBitter 40
4 jarem 39
5 Rice2012 38
6 pookeyguru 33
7 LRJ 30
8 Emmet O'Neal 30
9 Bassanova 29
10 ryanwadams 24
11 TheBackCourt 23
12 mr. 91 23
13 lobster11 23
14 WASwizardsfan671 19
15 Gators2015_BB3 19
16 novadada 19
17 Landshark52 18
18 Ottoman-Empire 18
19 Astilita 17
20 sierradave 15
21 nesby8 15
22 eltacoman 14
23 satchmore 13
24 Baird15 13
25 imperialme 12
26 Nickdogggmoneycash 12
27 TerpsAllTheWay 12
28 bmorefunk 12
29 DCKRS 12
30 George Templeton 9
31 wizkidforlife 9
32 elliotlevy2 8
33 Joe.H 8
34 DCON88 8
35 Yeti60 8
36 BealMVP4ever 6
37 spotless 6
38 The Hoops Guru 6
39 murtd1 5
40 oakhillsteeze 5
41 PrezNewton44 5
42 Mike Prada 4
43 sluMDoc 4
44 Big Spoon 4
45 ywlee22 4
46 Craig_ 4
47 richkam14 3
48 The Dark Side of the Sun 3
49 Hands11 3
50 Robert Crane 3
51 ThePGPhenomenon 3
52 Wall_Hopeful 2
53 ThisGuy10 1
54 jrhooo 1
55 DavidDunn 1
56 chn 1
57 Jormond Wall 1
58 Phemy. 1
59 John Wall Stan 1
60 FTT 1
61 PolishHammer 1
62 kyleMaroc 1
63 Shining Example 1
64 t0Shihiro 1
65 abdou77 1

SECOND HALF GAMETHREAD ROLLCALL

# Commenter # Comments
1 Chetho 65
2 njccc 61
3 Hands11 52
4 jarem 48
5 pookeyguru 42
6 lobster11 41
7 Joe.H 36
8 satchmore 32
9 ExtraSpecialBitter 30
10 Emmet O'Neal 29
11 eltacoman 28
12 Bassanova 27
13 Rice2012 27
14 TheBackCourt 23
15 mr. 91 22
16 Astilita 22
17 LRJ 21
18 George Templeton 21
19 bmorefunk 18
20 DCKRS 16
21 ryanwadams 15
22 Landshark52 14
23 novadada 12
24 Ottoman-Empire 11
25 the new Bradfather 11
26 DCnhokies 10
27 wizkidforlife 9
28 Yeti60 8
29 Nickdogggmoneycash 8
30 hscer 8
31 Gators2015_BB3 8
32 Tbonebullets 8
33 Baird15 8
34 Tibia 8
35 Big Spoon 7
36 imperialme 7
37 TerpsAllTheWay 7
38 nesby8 6
39 sierradave 6
40 WASwizardsfan671 6
41 BealMVP4ever 6
42 little stevie colter 5
43 Horcasitas4 4
44 neualex308 4
45 John Wall Stan 4
46 spotless 4
47 The Hoops Guru 3
48 Robert Crane 3
49 DCON88 3
50 jaffejoe 3
51 sluMDoc 3
52 ZonkerBL 3
53 khrabb 2
54 Inside Job 2
55 ThePGPhenomenon 2
56 chn 2
57 oakhillsteeze 2
58 Discodc 2
59 savoirfair 1
60 The GIF Oracle 1
61 Nolando17 1
62 Jormond Wall 1
63 caps&skins 1
64 Wiz-kid 1
65 Seat pleasant 1
66 segrt12 1
67 t0Shihiro 1
68 peter123 1
69 redskinhokie88 1
70 ATrueNigerian 1
71 Esperal 1
72 ilintar 1
73 Craig_ 1