Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Trevor Ariza poured in a playoff career- high 30 points and the Washington Wizards claimed a 3-1 series lead over the Chicago Bulls with a 98-89 Game 4 win on Sunday at Verizon Center.
John Wall tallied 15 points with 10 assists, while Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat scored 18 and 17 points, respectively. Ariza hit six of Washington's eight 3-pointers in the triumph.
"I think we just did a great job putting pressure on them defensively," said Wall. "Trevor did a great job of getting himself going, making shots early on."
The Wizards led by as many as 23 points and never trailed.
Taj Gibson's 32 points on 13-of-16 shooting weren't enough for Chicago, which will need a home win in Tuesday's Game 5 to extend this series. The Bulls dropped each of the first two games at home. Joakim Noah scored 10 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the setback.
The Wizards were scorching hot in the early going, making 7-of-8 shots to start the game to claim a 14-0 lead.
Jimmy Butler's one-dribble pull-up jumper from the left wing finally broke the seal for Chicago 7:48. Butler added another jump shot and Noah made two over the first eight minutes, but the Bulls still trailed 20-8 and didn't score at the rim until Gibson's putback layup at 3:34.
"We thought the mistakes we were making we could correct, but at this point we haven't," said Kirk Hinrich. "They've been a really good first quarter team all year. We knew that coming into the series. We just haven't done a good job of handling it."
Gibson was a major spark off the bench, helping to lead Chicago back with eight of the Bulls' 18 first quarter points in just 3 minutes and 46 seconds on the floor. The Bulls were back within six after Gibson fueled a 14-7 run, however the Wizards scored the last four in the period and led 28-18 after one.
Martell Webster netted four straight for Washington to open the second. A 10-0 run had the Bulls back within four, but Wall re-energized Washington with an alley-oop feed to Webster and a short jumper. After Gibson's layup, Beal's 3- ball highlighted a 7-0 Washington surge to make it 45-32.
Ariza hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the half, with his corner triple at the buzzer boosting the Wizards to a 55-40 advantage.
The margin hovered between 10 and 20 during the third period and extended to 85-62 when Beal started the fourth with a 3-pointer.
Chicago's offense came alive for the first time all game after that. It was 87-66 when Hinrich started a 10-0 sprint with a mid-range jumper. Butler then hit a 3-pointer around two Gibson buckets and Noah split a pair at the foul line. Trevor Booker, who started for the suspended Nene, countered with a putback, but D.J. Augustin found the range from deep to cut it to 10 with 4:49 to play.
Gibson's jumper from the left wing at 2:03 had the Bulls within eight. Wall penetrated at the other end and dumped off a pass for a Gortat dunk to restore a double-digit margin, and Gortat did the same for an Ariza jam to seal the outcome.
Nene was suspended one game for his role in an altercation with Butler in the fourth quarter of Game 3 ... Washington turned the ball over just six times and outscored Chicago 16-2 in transition ...Chicago's reserves outscored Washington's, 42-10 ... Butler scored 16 points.