He might lose credibility if he continues that claim.
The fifth-seeded Wizards rallied from a 10-point deficit in the
fourth quarter and pulled out a 101-99 victory over the Bulls on
Tuesday night at the United Center.
The Wizards hold a 2-0 lead in the series, with the scene shifting
to Washington for Game 3 on Friday night.
"I think we did a great job of staying calm and composed," Wall
said. "Early in the season, we would get rattled. Guys would try to
make plays one-on-one. Tonight, we trusted our offense. We made big
shots and got offensive rebounds."
Guard Bradley Beal scored 26 points, including nine points in the
final five minutes of the fourth quarter. Washington trailed 87-77
with 6:59 remaining after two free throws by Chicago guard Jimmy
Beal knocked down a couple of 3-pointers after the Wizards won
scrambles for offensive rebounds. He split two free throws with 52.9
seconds remaining to tie the score at 91. After the Bulls missed two
shots, Beal's jumper at the end of regulation was off target.
"Defensively, we got stops," Washington coach Randy Wittman said.
"That is what won the game. It was our defense and rebounding that
did it for us."
Wizards center Nene scored the first six points in overtime and
Washington kept the lead at 101-95 with 42.6 seconds left after Wall
hit two free throws.
Chicago scrambled back and had a chance to tie the score when guard
Kirk Hinrich went to the foul line with 2.4 seconds left. But he
missed the first attempt, clanked the second off the rim on purpose
and Washington grabbed the rebound to seal the victory.
"I thought I should have made the layup, to be honest," Hinrich said
of the final play. "I just wasn't able to do it. I thought I might
have shot a little quick, thinking about it now in my mind. Just
have to move on."
After trailing by as many as 17 points in the first quarter, Chicago
took its first lead of the night at 65-64 when forward Mike Dunleavy
hit a jumper from the key with 5:05 left in the third quarter.
Guard D.J. Augustin led the Bulls with 25 points, forward Taj Gibson
scored 22 and center Joakim Noah had 20. Augustin was quiet down the
stretch after Washington used 6-foot-8 forward Trevor Ariza for the
"It was a good strategy for them," Augustin said. "I think we went
to some counters to get somebody else open. They were smart and they
played good tonight."
In Game 1, Wall and Beal combined to shoot 28 percent from the field
(7 of 25). In Game 2, the two guards totaled 27 points in the first
half while shooting 53 percent from the floor (10 of 19).
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"Throughout the whole year, we've been growing and growing," Beal
said. "Now in the playoffs, we're playing for something bigger. It
was our main goal coming into the season, but we're not satisfied."
Washington dominated the first quarter, jumping to a 7-0 lead after
three possessions, then opening a 29-12 advantage when Ariza drained
a 3-pointer with 1:57 left in the quarter.
Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau went to his bench quickly and Augustin
provided a needed spark. He scored eight quick points to bring the
Bulls within 29-20.
Chicago made another push late in the second quarter, using a 14-2
run to close the gap to 47-46 on Gibson's driving bank and
three-point play with 1:58 remaining in the first half. Wall
answered with seven straight points to boost Washington's lead to
56-49 at halftime.
Things got testy late in the second quarter when Beal and Hinrich
exchanged shoves after Beal was called for a foul while waiting for
an inbounds pass. Both players were given technical fouls.
In the third quarter, Noah and Ariza earned double technicals for
getting in each other's face after battling for a rebound.
"Throughout the year, it hasn't been pretty," Noah said of the
Bulls. "But we're a team that found a way. The last two games we
fell short. So we're disappointed, but we're not going to stop
NOTES: Before the game, Chicago C Joakim Noah was presented the NBA
Defensive Player of the Year trophy by Dikembe Mutombo, who won the
award four times. ... Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau finished third in
coach of the year voting, which was announced Tuesday, behind San
Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Phoenix's Jeff Hornacek. "It's great.
They had a terrific season. He's one of the all-time greats,"
Thibodeau said of Popovich. ... Washington coach Randy Wittman on
how the Wizards produced a winning road record this season: "I just
think it's a mental thing. Once the season started and we started
winning on the road, it's a belief that you can go in any arena and
have an opportunity to win." ... Washington collected its first win
in Game 1 of a playoff series on Sunday since April 18, 1996, when
it beat the Philadelphia 76ers 95-94.
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