If taking Game 1 on the road was a huge step for this inexperienced Wizards team, their triumph in Game 2 Tuesday night means they return home in total control of their series with the Chicago Bulls.
Kirk Hinrich missed two free-throws to tie the game with 2.4 seconds left in overtime to cap off a furious Washington rally, coming from trailing 87-77 with seven minutes to play, to tie the game and ultimately take command in overtime.
Washington’s playoff inexperience could not have been less evident during their comeback as they continuously exposed the Bulls stunted offense.
Chicago was held without a field goal on 12 attempts for the final 7:17 of the fourth quarter and first 4:14 of overtime.
Washington now holds a 2-0 lead in the series as the teams head to Washington over the weekend. Chicago has never won a series after losing it’s first two games at home. Only three teams have won a series from the same position.
Once again, the Wizards core of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Nene combined to hose the Bulls down the stretch. Both Beal and Nene hit vital shots over the Wizards’ 24-8 run to close the game.
Beal scored 26 points in 42 minutes while playing his final five minutes with five fouls. Nene fouled out sending Hinrich to the line on a phantom call, but not before he torched the Bulls for the second consecutive outing, adding 17 points on 8-13 from the floor.
The Bulls stifling defense often allows shots from the mid-range, proven to be the most inefficient area on the court. Nene, however, thrives from the mid-range and time and again sunk crucial shots, including one over Joakim Noah in overtime.
Taj Gibson scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Bulls in a valiant effort that will continue to bolster his claim for the Sixth Man of the Year award.
D.J. Augustin led the Bulls with 25 points on 10-22 shooting, but was suspiciously without an attempt during overtime.
Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah scored 20 points and had 12 rebounds and proved his credentials with a great contest of Bradley Beal’s attempted game-winner at the end of regulation, blowing up the pick-and-roll and switching from Nene to the much quicker Wall.
Bradley Beal: 26 points, 9-20 FG, 4-7 3FG, 7 REB
Nene: 17 points, 8-13 FG, 7 REB
John Wall: 16 points, 6-15 FG, 5 REB, 7 AST
D.J. Augustin: 25 points, 10-22 FG, 4-8 3FG, 7 AST
Taj Gibson: 22 points, 7-17 FG, 10 REB
Joakim Noah: 20 points, 8-14 FG, 12 REB
Game 3: Friday, April 25th, Tip: 8pm ET