Wizards eliminate Chicago Bulls
(AP) — Making a rare visit to the postseason, the Washington Wizards made it look rather easy, dispatching the Bulls in the opening round.
Now, they’re moving on. That’s right, the Wizards are moving on.
John Wall finished with 24 points, Nene scored 20, and Washington beat Chicago 75-69 Tuesday night to clinch its first-round series in five games.
Bradley Beal scored 17 points, and the fifth-seeded Wizards advanced in the postseason for just the third time since the 1970s. They will meet Indiana or Atlanta in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
It’s a huge step for a franchise that hadn’t been to the postseason since 2008, but with Wall and Beal leading the way, they won 44 games during the regular season.
“This is my second year, and for us to make the playoffs and win a tough series against a great team we just played against means a lot. At the same time, it’s a humbling experience because a lot of people doubted us. Now, we know what we’re capable of doing.”
The Wizards turned a halftime tie into a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and hung on down the stretch.
“It is real disappointing,” the Bulls’ Taj Gibson said. “We put so much work into the season, came out of countless holes.”
Chicago’s comeback chances took a big hit early in the final quarter when Gibson crumbled to the court clutching his left ankle after he tried to block a layup by Wall with the Wizards up by six points. He had to be helped off the court and did not return.
The Bulls got within three in the closing minutes but couldn’t grab rebounds when they needed them, particularly after D.J. Augustin hit two free throws to make it 72-69 with 2:18 left.