Pro basketball

Bulls falter at home, lose series to Wizards

2014-04-29T23:00:00Z 2014-05-01T14:45:23Z Bulls falter at home, lose series to WizardsAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
April 29, 2014 11:00 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Turnovers are like leaving the wall safe open and your front door unlocked.

In the first four games of the Eastern Conference playoffs with Washington, the Bulls' generosity bordered on ridiculous with 55 turnovers leading to 76 points for the Wizards.

Tuesday night, the Bulls were held to 28 second-half points, had 10 turnovers in that span, shot 33 percent for the game and sent on an early vacation after losing 75-69.

Those 69 points tied the second-lowest the Bulls have ever scored in the postseason.

John Wall led Washington with 24 points, Nene added 20, Bradley Beal 17 and Marcin Gortat pulled down 13 rebounds.

Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich had 16 points apiece and Joakim Noah grabbed 18 rebounds for Chicago, which lost Taj Gibson to a serious left ankle sprain early in the fourth period.

"Jo was laboring but I couldn't sub for him in the second half and Taj going down was a big hit for us," said a resigned Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "It's what we've dealt with all year. I'm proud of the team. They gave us everything they had. There was nothing left."

Washington won at least a dozen 50-50 balls, including four straight possessions during one wild stretch in the final minutes. Eight of the Wizards' 13 offensive rebounds came in the fourth quarter.

"We taped the ankle, but I couldn't stand on it. Still can't stand on it," Gibson said.

"This team climbed out of a lot of holes all year," Thibodeau said. "We were 12-19 and they didn't make any excuses. These guys fought like crazy to make sure we had a great season."

The Bulls have trailed 3-1 in nine playoff series, losing them all. Only eight teams in NBA history had come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series.

Chicago finished 2-6 against the Wizards this season.

"Of course, this hurts a lot when you lose and the season's over," Noah said. "But give credit where credit's due. There's no holes on that team and a lot of talent, young and old, guys who've been there before. They deserved it.

"I'm gonna work my (butt) off to become a better player; be even more ready for next year."

Washington coach Randy Wittman learned about defense while starring for Bob Knight at Indiana and it's carried over to his Wizards, allowing only 90 points a game in this first-round series.

"Every game went down pretty much like this one did," Wittman said. "Our pressure has been steady. I've been pleased with it from a defensive standpoint. That's always important for us and on the flip-side, us not turning the ball over.

"(Game 4), we had six turnovers and that gives you a scoring opportunity almost every possession. When we can do that, good things usually happen for us."

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