The best and worst from Wizards-Bulls Game 4


John Wall and the Washington Wizards used a fast start to notch a 98-89 win against Chicago on Sunday in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Best and worst moments from Washington’s 98-89 win against Chicago in Sunday’s Game 4 at Verizon Center

Best Start: Games televised on ABC at 1 p.m. aren’t something this Wizards team is used to, but they were plenty up for it Sunday, scoring 14 unanswered points in the game’s opening four minutes. Aren’t the Bulls supposed to be the NBA’s best defensive team?

Best Owner Support: Since Nene couldn’t sit on the bench, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis did the next best thing, rocking the No. 42 jersey just a few seats down from the Wizards players. The only thing better would have been if Ted actually helped up a “Free Nene” sign. Still, his message is clear.

Best Three-Point Shootout: Kirk Hinrich tried to shake the Bulls out of their early slumber with a three-pointer from the corner. Instead, he of protective eyewear goggles bricked his attempt off the side of the backboard, drawing laughs from the Verizon Center crowd. On the ensuing play, Trevor Ariza, he of a playoff career-high 30 points, showed off his shooter’s touch by hitting a three that rattled around the rim before falling through the net.

Best Walk-off Shot: Already having hit four of his first five three-point attempts, Trevor Ariza did the heads-up thing by camping out in his favorite corner spot as Washington ran its last play of the first half. After Bradley Beal fired a pass and Ariza nailed the cold-blooded shot, he held his pose, took two slow steps and stared at the crowd as if to say “Mike Dunleavy who?!”

 

Best Cheer: After Joakim Noah picked up his third foul late in the third quarter, the Verizon Center crowd rose to their feet while waving their red/white/blue “DC Rising” towels to serenade the player everyone loves to hate. Easily the loudest moment at Verizon Center since the Wizards took down LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 2008 playoff game.

Best Odds at winning Game 5: For the first time in about 36 years, the Wizards hold a 3-1 lead in a playoff series — the last time being in 1978-79 when they reached the NBA Finals. History says that’s a good thing for the Wizards. History, and a heavy dose of logic, also says that’s a bad thing for the Bulls.

 

Best Display of Love: As Trevor Ariza walked off the podium following Sunday’s post game press conference, he turned to wait for his toddler son, Tristan. Draped over his son shoulder’s was a gray Wizards T-shirt that read “Lil Ariza” with a No. 1, just like his Dad.

 

Best Display of Self-Love: Ted Leonsis wasn’t the only famous face who sported a jersey Sunday. Former Maryland star Steve Francis made the trip to Verizon Center for Sunday’s game and wore a throwback all-starjersey of…himself. Not sure if it was the authentic jersey from his 2003 all-star appearance with the Houston Rockets or a replica. On one hand, he wore shades as if to avoid people noticing him. On the other hand, he wore a jersey that stuck out like a sore thumb at a Wizards-Bulls playoff game. Ultimately, the crowd took notice when his face popped up on the Jumbotron to which the crowd roared in approval.

 

Worst Timing for Chant: Late in the first quarter, John Wall went to the free throw line, an area where the Wizards have struggled mightily, shooting just 67.9 percent. But some fans decided it was a good time to serenade Wall with a chant of “M-V-P.” Nice intentions, but just a tad bit distracting and just a tad bit premature.

Worst Turnaround: Less than 48 hours removed from the game of his life (35 points on 8-for-10 three-point shooting), Mike Dunleavy disappeared Sunday, scoring just six points on 3-for-8 shooting, including an 0-for-2 showing from three-point territory. I guess Sunday would’ve been a better game for Bradley Beal to guarantee a one-half shutout of Dunleavy.

Worst Pass: Sorry Georgetown fans, but Mike Dunleavy sure looked a lot like Fred Brown in the 1982 NCAA championship when he turned a fired a pass directly to Trevor Ariza midway through the third quarter. Dunleavy then made up for his mistake by fouling Ariza in transition. Rough outing for the Bulls swingman.

Worst Prediction: After Game 3, Joakim Noah correctly called that Nene would be suspended following his altercation with Jimmy Butler. But as the fiery Bulls forward walked into Verizon Center alongside Butler, he said in a giddy tone, “Man, we’re going to get all up in ‘em and make it 2-2 going back to the crib, baby! Going back to the crib!” Yes, Joakim, you’re going to the crib but by the look of things, you might be going fishing with the TNT crew soon, too.

 

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