Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Mike Dunleavy set a Bulls playoff- franchise record with eight 3-pointers en route to 35 points and Chicago picked up a crucial 100-97 road win over the Washington Wizards to pull to within 2-1 in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
After the Wizards took the first two on the road, Dunleavy and the Bulls avoided the dreaded 3-0 hole by knocking off the club with the worst home record among playoff teams during the regular season. The Wizards had a 22-19 mark at Verizon Center this season.
No team has ever come back to win a series after trailing 3-0.
The Bulls took a timeout with 43 seconds left and the score tied at 91-91. With the shot clock winding down on their possession, Joakim Noah dribbled towards Jimmy Butler on the right wing, handed it off and set a screen that left Butler wide open. The third-year pro did the rest, potting his second 3- pointer of the game and series to give the visitors a 94-91 lead with 24.2 seconds left to play.
Trevor Ariza's 3-point try at the other end was off the mark. Chicago advanced the ball to midcourt with a timeout, but Dunleavy's inbounds pass sailed over Noah and into John Wall's hands. Wall went right to the rim and drew a foul, making both free throws, but Butler countered with two at the other end for a 96-93 margin.
Both teams made four free throws the rest of the way for the final tally. Taj Gibson went 1-of-2 at the foul line with 3.1 seconds left, but when he missed the second attempt the Wizards had no timeouts left and Ariza's pass went out of bounds to essentially end the game.
"It just feels good to get a win," said Dunleavy. "It's been a rough series. Whether I score 35 points or zero, I'm just happy we won."
Dunleavy's 35 points were one shy of a career-best but shattered his previous playoff career-high of 17. Butler finished with 15 points, Carlos Boozer had 14, and Gibson and D.J. Augustin put in 13 points apiece off the bench.
Bradley Beal and Wall scored 25 and 23 points, respectively, in the setback.
Game 4 of this best-of-seven is set for Sunday in Washington.
"We're still in a dogfight, we're still the under dogs," said Wall. "We knew they were a team that would come out and fight. We just have to regroup and prepare for Sunday."
Early in the fourth quarter, Washington center Nene and Butler were involved in an altercation near the Chicago basket. The two touched foreheads during the scrum before Nene grabbed the back of Butler's neck. Nene was ejected, while Butler was just assessed a technical foul.
"I thought Jimmy showed a lot of poise after that to play with discipline and make big shots," said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. "He did a great job of playing defense and helping us execute."
The Bulls led by as many as seven on multiple occasions in the fourth but failed to pull away, allowing the Nene-less Wizards to get back in it. Beal made two free throws after Noah's fifth foul to make it a four-point game. Wall then stripped Noah and sprinted down the floor, finishing a layup plus a foul on Butler to cut the margin to one. After Gibson split a pair of free throws, Beal tied it at 3:57 with a short jumper.
Beal's 21-footer after a sloppy Chicago turnover gave the Wizards the lead. Dunleavy and Beal then exchanged 3-pointers to put Washington up by two, and Butler and Gibson both made 1-of-2 from the stripe to tie it at 91-apiece.
Dunleavy canned a pair of 3-pointers early on and scored 10 of Chicago's first 14 points. Wall had 11 points in the first and had the Wizards in front, 30-28. Chicago shot 13-for-19 in the first but turned it over seven times.
The Wizards scored the first five points of the second quarter and looked to be in control, but Dunleavy and Augustin keyed a 16-4 Chicago counter. The two hit triples around a Nene layup to make it a three point game. Augustin then assisted on a Gibson alley-oop and Dunleavy three-point play. Andre Miller tied the game with a short jumper, but Augustin hit another 3 and Gibson made a short jumper for a 44-39 edge.
Gibson's layup made it 48-42 with 4:02 left but the Bulls went scoreless the rest of the half. Ariza scored on the front and back end of a 9-0 Washington flurry to close the stanza and take a 51-48 lead into halftime.
The Wizards led by as many as eight in the third, but trailed 72-69 going to the fourth.
This was Washington's first time hosting a playoff game since 2008 ... Only three teams have ever won a seven-game series after losing Game's 1 and 2 at home ... The last Bulls' player to hit seven 3-pointers's in a playoff game was Scottie Pippen in the 1997 NBA Finals ... There were 15 lead changes and nine ties ... The Wizards outscored Chicago 50-34 in the paint.