Ariza hit a pair of 3-pointers during a game-opening 14-0 run and
the Wizards never trailed on Sunday. The veteran swingman finished
with 30 points, the last two coming on a dunk late in the fourth
quarter that thwarted Chicago's last chance at a rally. "I think
we're smart enough as a group to understand that when one of your
pieces goes down you have to find ways and will ways to win," Ariza
told reporters. "...Tonight was my night to take the scoring load." Ariza's big night helped make up for Chicago forward Taj Gibson
going off for a career-high 32 points.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington), CSN Chicago
ABOUT THE WIZARDS: Washington has not been to the Eastern Conference
semifinals since the 2004-05 season but is making its way toward
that goal with an offense that has relied on a different player in
each of the three wins. Nene was the big factor in Game 1 by
outplaying Bulls center Joakim Noah and Bradley Beal's late-game
heroics in Game 2 made the difference before Ariza took over on
Sunday. Trevor Booker got the start in place of Nene in Game 4 and
recorded eight points, nine rebounds and three blocks in 28 minutes.
"I think it was a blessing in disguise, maybe the last (21 games)
that (Nene) missed at the end of the year," coach Randy Wittman
said. "(Booker) started all those games."
ABOUT THE BULLS: Gibson went 13-of-16 from the field but the rest of
the Chicago lineup was just 22-of-62 in Game 4. Mike Dunleavy, who
was the hero of Game 3 in the Bulls' lone win in the series with 35
points, was held to six points on 3-of-8 shooting in Game 4. "You
can't put it on any one guy," coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters.
"It's our team, and readiness to play is me. They have to do their
job, and they have to get out there and they have to execute. I have
to get them ready and so that's disappointing. It's got to change or
our season will be over."
[to top of second column]
Washington committed just six turnovers in Game 4 — the fewest
the Bulls have forced all season.
Chicago G D.J. Augustin is shooting 32.3 percent in the series
and was held to a series-low eight points in Game 4.
Beal is 9-of-16 from 3-point range in the last three games.
PREDICTION: Wizards 96, Bulls 89
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