Having Nene in the starting line-up is always a plus, tonight against the Bulls it could have been any better for the Wizards as he controlled the tempo of the game and led all scorers with 24 points and rebounds.
“It’s a magical moment,” Nene said. “I understand everything that happen in my life. I’m happy to be here, to be able to help my teammates, my team. I understand the people say things that they don’t know, but who can control our present is ourselves, who can our future is only God. That’s what we believe. We need to believe each other. We need to trust each other, and the sky is the limit. I think we can surprise a lot of teams if we play the right way. That’s what we try to do.”
Randy Wittman certainly took some chances in the fourth quarter, including keeping Nene in the game with five fouls and play Andre Miller for a five minute stretch when the game was a four point game.
Washington cut a 13-point deficit to one in the third and trailed by three going into the fourth, before outscoring Chicago 18-6 over the final six minutes to come out on top in their first playoff appearance since 2008.
Marcin Gortat again played a huge part in this game tonight and it was his layup that triggered the Wizards run. Trevor Ariza gave the Wizards an 88-87 lead when he hit a pair of free throws with 4:17 remaining. These would be a huge turn in the game, forcing the Bulls to battle shot for shot for the remainder of the game.
Jimmy Butler tied it for Chicago with one of his own, but a layup by Gortat and basket by Nene made it 92-88, and Washington hung on after Chicago’s Joakim Noah cut it to two on a tip-in with 2:11 left.
Gortat hit two free throws and added a jumper with 34 seconds left to make it a six-point game and all the Wizards would need to secure a victory in Game 1.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Chicago.