CHICAGO | Washington Wizards' coach Randy Wittman called his team "desperate" before the late start to Tuesday night's Game 2 of the playoffs. Desperate?
They outscored the Bulls 54-39 in the second half Sunday and battled back from a 13-point deficit late to shock the hosts, 102-93.
"For us to give up 102 points in a playoff game is unacceptable," Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy said before tip-off. "Our defense has to be a whole lot better (tonight). We've played with an edge all year long and can't lose that."
In a game either team could've won, given its many chances, the Wizards hung on for a 101-99 overtime shocker.
Games 3 and 4 are in Washington on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.
Guards Bradley Beal and John Wall redeemed themselves after stinker games Sunday, scoring 26 and 16 points, respectively, in the rematch. Nene added 17 points.
D.J. Augustin's 25 points off the bench led the Bulls. Fellow reserve Taj Gibson had 22, and Joakim Noah chipped in 20 points and 12 rebounds.
At a team shootaround earlier in the day, Bulls players called Game 2 a "must-win."
Now, Game 3 definitely is.
"We dug ourselves a big hole early and expanded a lot of energy getting out of it," a somber Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We had the lead in both fourth quarters and didn't close it out. It's the playoffs. You've got to play 48 minutes.
"Win the next game is all we can do. Take it one game at a time."
Outside his locker room two hours before the start, Wittman was ratcheting up the showdown.
"I told our guys we've got to be desperate in this game. We've got to have our intensity right from the start as we did in the first game," he said.
And they did, leading by as many as 17 points (29-12) in the first quarter, 56-49 at the half, and shooting 53.7 percent.
Then it was the Bulls' turn to be the aggressor with a 26-14 third quarter sparked by Gibson and Augustin for a 75-70 advantage entering the fourth.
It was 91-91 going into OT, with Nene accounting for six of the visitors' 10 points in the extra period.