WASHINGTON -- Trevor Ariza had a career playoff-high 30 points, and the Washington Wizards scored the first 14 points of the game without suspended power forward Nene and barely looked back Sunday in beating the Chicago Bulls 98-89 to take 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference series.
John Wall added 15 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who forced 16 turnovers and committed only six. Washington played without forward Nene, who was suspended for grabbing Jimmy Butler by the head in Game 3.
The Wizards are looking to win a playoff series for only the third time since the 1970s. They can finish off the Bulls in Game 5 on Tuesday in Chicago.
Taj Gibson scored a career-high 32 points on 13 for 16 shooting for Chicago, but his teammates combined to go 22 for 62 from the field. He made more field goals in the first half (8) than the rest the Bulls combined (7).
Mike Dunleavy, who scored 35 points in Game 3, could barely get a look, much less a basket. He went 0 for 3 from the field in the first half and finished 3 for 8 with six points.
Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich committed four turnovers and NBA Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah had a quiet 10 points and 15 rebounds against the Nene-less Wizards.
Nene was suspended for the game after grabbing Jimmy Butler’s head during a face-to-face confrontation in the fourth quarter of the Wizards’ Game 3 loss.
Wall this week called Nene the “X-factor,” and for good reason: Since the March 2012 trade that brought the Brazilian to D.C., Washington is 65-63 when he plays and 21-41 when he doesn’t, although the club did hold its own by winning 12 of 21 when Nene went down with a knee injury late in the regular season.