Washington wins series 4-1
|Game 1: Sunday, April 20th|
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|Game 2: Tuesday, April 22nd|
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|Game 3: Friday, April 25th|
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|Game 4: Sunday, April 27th|
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|Game 5: Tuesday, April 29th|
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8:00 PM ET, April 25, 2014
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
The points were coming so easily Bradley Beal guaranteed at halftime Dunleavy wouldn't score again -- and then clobbered the Chicago Bulls veteran during a 3-point attempt during the third quarter. The ball went in anyway, and Dunleavy completed a four-point play.
"He was in the zone, man," Beal said. "I guess the hoop looked like an ocean to him."
The Bulls needed a go-to guy after their offensive struggles put them in a 2-0 hole in their Eastern Conference first round series. For one night, at least, they found him. Dunleavy scored 35 points, one short of his career-high, and Jimmy Butler hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining Friday for a 100-97 Game 3 win.
"Coach mentioned some stuff about getting me some more catch-and-shoot situations, and we did that tonight," Dunleavy said. "A couple of easy layups early on got me going, and I just had one of those nights."
Dunleavy went 12 for 19 from the field, including a career-high eight 3-pointers on 10 attempts. Not bad for a 33-year-old who was playing in only his 12th playoff game. His teams' records in those games before Friday: 1-10. He had almost become a forgotten man in this series, scoring 20 points combined in the first two games.
"These chances have been few and far between for me," he said. "But like I told somebody this morning, especially on the road in the playoffs, it's where you can thrive. It's a hostile environment, and I like that."
Derrick Rose has been injured for so long that the Bulls are accustomed to patching together a plan that somehow creates enough points to win. They'll have to keep it up: Game 4 is Sunday in Washington as Chicago attempts to become only the fourth NBA team to win a seven-game series after losing the first two at home.
"We've got to get Sunday, for sure," Dunleavy said. "No question. It's a quick turnaround, one o'clock start. We put ourselves in a hole, we're starting to dig ourselves out, but we're not near there yet."
Beal scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, but he'll be more remembered for a walkoff interview with CSN at halftime, when he guaranteed Dunleavy wouldn't score in the second half.
Wall added 23 points and seven assists for the Wizards, who will have to wonder whether they'll have Nene for Game 4. The Brazilian forward was ejected in the fourth quarter after a forehead-to-forehead confrontation with Butler. Nene grabbed Butler by the back of the neck and the side of the head before they were separated.
Wanna Be Like Mike
Mike Dunleavy's big night Friday -- 35 points on 12-of-19 shooting, eight 3-pointers -- came out of nowhere for the Bulls. Here's a look at Dunleavy's previous playoff career highs:
|* Bulls playoff record|
-- ESPN Stats & Information
Nene is almost certain to get fined, and a suspension is possible.
"I have nothing to regret," he said. "I'm a warrior right there. What I did, I'm supposed to do."
Nene has been called the "X-factor" by Wall. It sure didn't help that he wasn't available for the final 8:28 of a close game.
"It looked like an MMA move to me," Dunleavy said. "It was one of those headlocks. It was great that Jimmy kept his cool. I think a lot of people put in that situation would've started throwing blows."
After avoiding the ejection, Butler made two 3-pointers down the stretch and finished with 15 points. He had struggled with his shot in the first two games, shooting 8 for 21 from the field.
"Short-term memory loss," he said. "It's a new day, new game, new possessions. My team needs me to step up and take the open shot when it's there and definitely knock it down when it's needed."
After Butler's final 3, the teams traded fouls and free throws over the final two dozen seconds. Washington had a chance to tie when Taj Gibson missed a free throw with 3.1 seconds to play, but Trevor Ariza threw the ball out of bounds after grabbing the rebound in a miscommunication with Wall.
"We definitely have to play like a desperate team," Ariza said. "We didn't do so tonight."
After a plea from owner Ted Leonsis to show up on time, the Wizards fans did a better job getting to the arena for the opening tip of their first home playoff game in six years, although there were still sections with plenty of empty seats. Fans were given red, white or blue T-shirts, and Leonsis did his part by showing up in a blue coat, red sweater and white shirt. ... Bulls C Joakim Noah got into a confrontation with a Wizards security official during the Bulls' shootaround Friday morning. Washington coach Randy Wittman said his team was to blame. "That's got to be something from our side that shouldn't happen," the coach said.
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: John Wall #1 of the Washington Wizards walks on the court in Game Three of the Eastern...(Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Mike Dunleavy. Yes, you read that right. Dunleavy was nothing short of spectacular, scoring 35 points including a Bulls franchise-playoff-record eight 3-pointers. The Bulls needed some firepower in the worst way, and Dunleavy happily, surprisingly, obliged.
X factor: Jimmy Butler couldn't hit a 3-pointer to save his life coming into Game 3. While he hit only 2 of 5 on Friday night, one of them was the biggest of the game, giving the Bulls the lead for good.
Defining moment: Late in the third quarter, Nene and Butler nearly escalated some incidental contact into a full-blown brawl. Nene was ejected for grabbing Butler's head, leaving Washington without one of their best players down the stretch.
Mike Dunleavy scored 21 points on catch-and-shoot shots, nearly quadrupling his regular season average. During the season, Dunleavy averaged 5.4 points per game on catch-and-shoot shots, tied for 32nd in the NBA.[+]
Bulls on Catch-and-Shoot, Thursday
Mike Dunleavy's big night came out of nowhere, he more than doubled his previous playoff scoring high, and set the Bulls record for most threes made in a postseason game. In Dunleavy's previous 11 postseason games prior to Friday he averaged 8.5 points per game.[+]
Mike Dunleavy Postseason Career
Entering this postseason, only 19 teams won the first 2 games of a best-of-7 series on the road. 16 of those 19 teams went on to win the series. This postseason, we already have 2 series that fit that bill - the Trail Blazers won their first 2 on the road against the Rockets and the Wizards did the same against the Bulls.[+]
Won Best-of-7 Series - Lost First 2 Games at Home
The Wizards became the 20th team in NBA history to win the first 2 games of a best-of-7 series on the road. 16 of the previous 19 teams went on to win the series.
Plenty of upsets brewing in the First Round of the NBA playoffs. Seeds 5 through 8 are leading or tied for the lead in 6 of the 8 series. Only the 6th-seeded Warriors and 7th-seeded Bobcats trail. Dating back to 1984 when the playoffs first expanded to 16 teams, the most 5-8 seeds to advance to the Conference Semifinals is 3 (done 10 times during that span, most recently last postseason).[+]
Seeds 5-8 in 2014 NBA Playoffs
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