"The Beltway" has had it's share of landslides in the past politically, but it has been a while since they have seen one athletically in the playoffs. The young Washington Wizards are on the brink of changing all of that after putting together a solid 48 minutes and beating the Chicago Bulls 98-89 to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.
The Wizards had control of Game 4 from the opening tap, blitzing the Bulls with a 17-2 run to start off the festivities. Chicago was stunned early by the Wizards and could never recover. Trevor Ariza was the catalyst for the Wizards offensive assault early in the game scoring 17 of his playoff career high 30 points in the first half. Ariza was lighting it up from all over the floor hitting 6 of 10 shots from downtown and 10 of 17 attempts from the floor overall. The "Wiz-Kids" backcourt was solid as well with John Wall logging 15 points and 10 assists and Bradley Beal finishing with 18 points hitting 7 of 13 shots on the afternoon. Marcin Gortat continued to give the Bulls frontline fits with his output of 17 points and six rebounds.
Washington was able to get all of this done without the services of Nene Hilario who was suspended for a game after an altercatiion with Chicago's Jimmy Butler where Nene headbutted Butler and wrapped his hands around his neck.
Chicago needed to use that Nene altercation as fuel for a great effort. The effort was there, but for most of the game, the offense was not. At the half the Bulls had only shot 30% from the floor compared to Washington's 48% shooting. Taj Gibson, who finished with a team high 32 points for Chicago, scored 20 of his points in the first half and was a perfect 8 of 8 to start the game. The rest of the team in the first half was a meager 7 of 32 from the floor. Joakim Noah finished with a double-double of 10 points and 15 boards, and Jimmy Butler finished with 16 points.
The Bulls problem all game had to be their non-existent three-point shooting. Chicago shot the rock poorly from deep going 4 of 19 from beyond the arc. The other problems that Chicago had were that they obviously had no answers for Trevor Ariza, and could not cause any turnovers with Washington only turning the ball over six times in the game.
All of this equates into a must win situation in Game 5 for the Bulls when they get back to the United Center. Chicago is on the ropes with their mouthpiece dangling off their lip right now and the Wizards are poised to deliver the final uppercut for the knockout Tuesday night, unless the Bulls can keep their guard up for a game.