The second half started out well for Dunleavy as he hit 3 consecutive shots. The first on a jumper and the other on a deflected rebound off Noah’s hands for the bunny. Than he raised up and hit a three ball to give the Bulls a 51-62 lead at that point. Seems as though the momentum carried the bulls into the second half as they took a 13 point lead at 9:49 in the third quarter.
The Wizards however did not fold their tent. They hung tough and chipped away to bring them back to being down only 6 at the 5:12 mark of the 3rd Quarter. After a timeout Hinrich than picked up a technical foul giving the Wizards more momentum. It appears as though Hinrich had a legitimate beef as it looked like he was fouled pretty obviously that went as a no call. The refs seemed to change things around and let them play a bit in the 2nd half. Hinrich did account for himself well after that by hitting a jumper to extend the bulls by 8. Wizards than cut it to one after a loose ball was tapped right to Trevor Ariza for the 3 ball.
Bulls seemed to be losing the loose ball battle as the Wizards continued to out do the Bulls on the hustle plays. The Wizards were beating the Bulls at their own game. After some back and forth play and basket trading the bulls took a 3 point lead into the final quarter 75-72. Bulls shot 43.5% and the Wizards at 50% with the difference coming from the FT line as the bulls hit 16-19 at 84.2% from the FT line and the wizards 14-23 for an abysmal 60.9%. Both teams were at 33 rebounds each as the wizards got 5 more in the 3rd quarter as they continued to out hustle the bulls to most of the loose balls.
Both teams struggled as neither scored till the 9:45 mark with Augustine hitting a leaner off the glass. Butler than got an alley oop monster dunk on a back screen to give the bulls short lived 5 point lead before Andre Miller hit a jumper to cut it back to 3. Noah who continued to struggle got the ball stolen out of his hand from Nene who played more like the would be defensive player of the year, and dribbled it all the way down for the layup to cut it to 2. Miller really picked up the slack for the poor game Wall had. He kept hitting big shot after big shot to keep the wizards within 1 point 87-86 with just under 5 minutes left in the game. Wizards head coach Randy Wittmen took a time out at the 4:33 mark to give the gased Miller a blow with the game still at 1 point 87-86 bulls.
That seemed to be a good move as the wizards were playing like the team that had the most post-season experience, and began to close the bulls out. Ariza was than fouled after the timeout and made one of two, but the seldom called lane violation gave him another chance to give the wizards their first lead since the 2nd quarter, and he promptly did by hitting the make up FT. The bulls than got a foul on Butler who hit 1 of 2 to tie it. Butler struggled from the line going 2-6 at that point. Marcin Gortat than made a great pass from Nene to hit a layup to put them up by 2. Than Nene hit a jumper from the left circle that rattled in for a wizards 4 point lead.
As is par for the course with this bulls team they went into an offensive funk at the most inopportune time, and went 1-9 from the field which sealed the game at that point. The wizards out muscled and out hustled the bulls, and played efficiently. This with both Beal and Wall having poor games. They also outplayed the bulls on the defensive end. Bulls lose 102-93 to the wizards in game one of the opening round of the playoffs, and have some soul searching to do. Bulls shot 42% from the field and the wizards 48.6%. They were also out-rebounded 45-39. The wizards also closed the gap on FT’s finishing 74.3% to the bulls 76.9% as they hit all their late FT’s when it mattered most.