No Nene, No Problem: Washington Grabs 3-1 Series Lead
Trevor Ariza led the Wizards to victory with a career-high 30 points. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
WASHINGTON, D.C. - If Chicago had any edge entering Game 4 after its Game 3 win and suspension of Washington Wizards center Nene, it was quickly blunted by the Wizards 14-0 start on Sunday.
 
Trevor Ariza led the Wizards with a playoff career-high 30 points hitting 60 percent from 3-point range and John Wall added 15 points and 10 assists. Washington also scored 29 points on 16 Bulls turnovers while committing only six turnovers themselves.

The Wizards have been able to get out in front in every game of the series, leading by: six in Game 1, 17 in Game 2, seven in Game 3 and now 14-0 to begin Game 4.

“They’ve had that sense of urgency in the first quarter every time,” said Joakim Noah, who had 10 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in the loss. “It’s on us to change it. We’re getting punched in the mouth every time in the first quarter.

Through four games, it’s safe to say that the Wizards have thoroughly outplayed the Bulls, and without Nene it was evident. Washington was faster in Game 4 on defensive rotations, holding the Bulls to a series-low 89 points and ball movement was crisper on offense. Without two big men clogging up space in the paint, Wall was able to penetrate and find passing lanes any time he wanted.

“I don’t think I want to tell the secret but we just make the right reads,” said Wall. “We’re just taking what the defense gives us, me just trying to attack and sometimes they give me the layup and I take it, if not, I pass to the big man.”

Taj Gibson scored a hard-fought, career high 32 for the Bulls to lead all scores and a Bulls comeback attempt in the second quarter. But the Wizards were able to get easy buckets all game, outscoring Chicago 16-2 in fast break points and finished on a 13-4 run to end the half 55-40.

Besides Gibson, who went 13-of-16 from the field, giving every big man on Washington’s roster fits, the rest of the Bulls combined to go 22-of-62. Gibson scored half his team’s points in the first half (20) on eight made field goals, one more than the rest of the team. For the game, the Wizards’ starting five outscored the Bulls’ starters, 88-47.

Nene missed Game 4 due to suspension. The Brazilian center was disqualified after grabbing the back of Chicago guard Jimmy Butler’s neck, attempting what looked like an Anderson Silva grapple.

But the Wizards, who are 12-9 in the 21 games Nene missed this year weren’t daunted by not having the big man for Game 4.

“We played without him for a few games, so it’s nothing that we’re not used to,” said Ariza. “I think we’re a smart enough group to understand that when one of your pieces goes down you have to find ways and will ways to win. Tonight was my night to take on the scoring load and throughout the series I’ve been patient and just playing the way that we’ve played all year and tonight was my night.”

Chicago would never lead in this game and was down by as much as 23 in the fourth quarter. The Bulls pulled to within single digits for the first time all game at 91-83 on a Gibson jumper with 1:41 remaining. But on the Wizards next possession, Wall streaked past D.J. Augustine to deliver a pass to Marcin Gortat for two of his 17 points. On the next possession, Gortat found Ariza on a baseline cut to slam the door on the Bulls comeback.

The Wizards now have a 3-1 series lead over the Bulls.  Game 5 will be played in Chicago on Tuesday, April 29th at 7 p.m. CST/8 p.m. EST.
 
Photo Gallery - Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls
 
Bradley Beal gets a layup. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
Trevor Ariza of the Wizards buries a 3-point shot. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
Wizards' Trevor Booker grabs a rebound. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
Center Marcin Gortat of the Wizards shoots a one-handed shot. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
John Wall of the Wizards shots a runner. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
Wizards' Trevor Ariza shoots over Bulls' Joakim Noah. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
Wizards' John Wall beats the Bulls' defense for a layup. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
Drew Godden of the Wizards gets an alley-oop bucket. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
Wizards' Martell Webster elevates for a dunk. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
Marcin Gortat of the Wizards blocks a shot by Bulls' Kirk Hinrich. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
Wizards' Bradley Beal brings the ball up court. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
John Wall of the Wizards shoots a one-handed shot. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
Wizards' John Wall and Marcin Gortat celebrate a win. Washington defeated Chicago 98-89 during the Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
 
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