The Washington Wizards have defeated the Chicago Bulls 117-99 to cut the deficit in their best-of-seven National Basketball Association playoff series to 2-1. Gilbert Arenas scored 32 points to lead the Wizards, as they won their first home playoff game in 17 years. Saturday's victory extended Washington's home winning streak against Chicago to nine games.
The Wizards came into Saturday's game knowing they needed a win after losing the first two games in Chicago. The team fed off the energy of an enthusiastic home crowd that booed every time the Bulls touched the ball, while Washington showed an intensity that had been missing in Chicago.
The Wizards led by as much as 12 points in the second quarter before the Bulls tightened their defense to cut Washington's lead to 57-55 at halftime. Chicago coach Scott Skiles says the Wizards just played better. "You know, even though we had it close at halftime, I thought they outplayed us pretty much beginning to end. They were after loose balls, you know, all over the glass with multiple efforts and we just did not have enough guys play well to be in the game against a team of this quality in their building," he said.
The Wizards dominated the third quarter, getting 11 points from Gilbert Arenas to go ahead 90-77. In the fourth quarter the Bulls came apart at the seams, frequently turning the ball over and missing the shots they took. The Wizards extended their lead to as much as 20 before winning 117-99.
Gilbert Arenas led all scorers with 32 points while Etan Thomas added 20 for the Wizards. Tyson Chandler was Chicago's top scorer with 15. Game Four is Monday night in Washington.