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(Wednesday, April 17th)
Final Score: Chicago 95, Washington 92
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Carlos Boozer compiled 19 points and 15 rebounds to lead the way for the Chicago Bulls, who tuned up for the upcoming playoffs by coming through with a 95-92 decision over the Washington Wizards in the regular season finale for both teams.
Kirk Hinrich scored 18 points and Nazr Mohammed added 17 for Chicago (45-37), which wrapped up the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and set up a matchup with fourth-seeded Brooklyn in the quarterfinal round.
The best-of-seven series will begin Saturday at the Barclays Center.
"We look forward to a dogfight," Bulls forward Taj Gibson said of the upcoming series.
The Wizards (29-53) finish out the season with their highest victory total since 2007-08, but conclude the campaign on a six-game losing skid despite battling back from an early 21-point deficit to forge an 85-85 tie with under 3 1/2 minutes left.
A.J. Price paced Washington with 24 points off the bench and John Wall finished with 23 in the setback.
"We could have laid down, but we continued to fight," Price said.
The Bulls never trailed at any stage, but found themselves dead even down the stretch after Price knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:19 remaining. Chicago responded with seven consecutive points, however, to move in front to stay.
Richard Hamilton fed Jimmy Butler for an alley-oop dunk on the Bulls' next trip down the court, and a Hinrich floater that followed two failed Washington possessions created an 89-85 lead with two minutes left.
After the Wizards again came up empty on their ensuing series, Deng buried a 3-point dagger that pushed the margin to seven with 1:42 to go.
A Wall triple and Price's jumper with 26.1 seconds left brought Washington within 94-92, but the two both misfired on potential game-tying opportunities in the closing seconds after Hinrich hit 1-of-2 from the line with 17.1 seconds on the clock.
The Wizards got off to a horrendous start, missing their first six field-goal attempts as Chicago began the game on a 10-0 run, and their offensive woes continued over the remainder of the first quarter. Washington was just 3-of-17 from the floor with under two minutes to go in the frame, and the Bulls opened up a 29-8 lead by that stage thanks to a 13-1 stretch in which Mohammed accounted for seven points.
Washington came roaring back in the second, however, with Price dropping in 12 points during a 16-0 sequence that cut Chicago's edge to 35-34 five minutes into the session. The game continued to be tight over the duration of the first half, with the Bulls carrying a 52-47 advantage into the break following Mohammed's inside layup 3.8 seconds prior to intermission.
A 7-1 run to begin the third quarter put Chicago back ahead by double digits, but the Wizards ripped off eight consecutive points later in the stanza and closed within 69-66 on a Trevor Booker dunk 1:23 prior to the start of the fourth.
The Bulls won three of four from the Nets in the season series ... Center Emeka Okafor did not play for Washington due to an ankle injury, joining previously injured teammates Nene (knee), Bradley Beal (leg), Martell Webster (abdomen) and Trevor Ariza (knee) on the sidelines ... Washington finished 7-35 on the road and ended the season on an eight-game losing streak away from home ... Neither team has scored 100 points in any of the past eight matchups in the series.
04/18 01:34:14 ET
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