Basketball / Sports

The Washington Wizards Wiz Kids perform during a time out in the first half of their first round playoff game against the Chicago Bulls played at the Verizon Center in Washington, Sunday, Apr. 27, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Wizards put Bulls on brink of elimination

WASHINGTON -- The Chicago Bulls overachieved all season, and what did it get them? In two days, their season could be over. History. Kaput.

The Wizards crushed them 98-89 in Game 4 to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

And they did it without the suspended Nene, their best big man.

Trevor Ariza scored 30 for the Wizards, who made 8 of 19 from downtown and had 22 assists to just six turnovers.

Taj Gibson starred for the Bulls, scoring a career-high 32 points. He had 20 of the Bulls' 40 first-half points, going 8-for-8 from the field.

Joakim Noah provided the only other statistical bright spot, finishing with 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Two days after torching the Wizards for 35 points, Mike Dunleavy scored six points in 35 minutes.

The Bulls barely showed up for the opening tip. The Wizards led 14-0 until Jimmy Butler finally put Chicago on the board after more than four minutes.

The first half ended appropriately, with Bradley Beal driving and kicking to an open Ariza, who buried a corner 3.

Two days after Nene got tossed for head-butting and grabbing the neck of Jimmy Butler, there were no fireworks, just hard fouls.

By the end of the game, jubilant Wizards fans chanted: "Free Nene!" "Free Nene!"

The Wizards didn't need him Sunday, but they'll get him back for Game 5 on Tuesday at the United Center. Chicago needs to win to earn a Game 6 back in Washington.

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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