Game 4 Preview: Chicago looks to draw level


Tip: 1pm ET, Verizon Center, Washington D.C.

The Bulls have taken a beating from the Washington Wizards over two of the first three games of this series. This afternoon they can deliver a punch of their own, drawing the series level and restoring homecourt advantage.

Chicago avoided what amounts to elimination by winning Game 3 on Friday night after Jimmy Butler sank a late three to breathe new life into the Bulls playoff effort.

The Bulls got another break after Game 3 with the league office announcing Wizards center Nene would be suspended for Game 4 after a confrontation with Jimmy Butler. Trevor Booker is expected to start in his place.

The suspension of Nene has the potential to turn around a series in which the momentum was firmly in the direction of the Wizards as Nene repeatedly tore open the Bulls defense from the high post.

His performances necessitated Joakim Noah playing below his standard for the first three games as he tried to hold Nene in check, unable to help defend other Wizards demanding attention.

The Bulls won the last time these two teams met with Nene sidelined as the Bulls were in the midst of a much-improved run of performances.

Chicago will need to improve again from the first three games in this series where the offense has endured lengthy droughts, notably when Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin have shared the floor and also when Mike Dunleavy has been on the bench.

Dunleavy was noticeably missing late in Game 2 and proved why that was a poor decision on the part of Tom Thibodeau with his 35-point outburst in Game 3 to give the Bulls new life in this series.

Probable Starters

Chicago Bulls

PG: Kirk Hinrich, 11th season. 9.1 points per game, 3.9 assists per game.

SG: Jimmy Butler, 3rd season. 13.1 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game.

SF: Mike Dunleavy, 12th season. 11.3 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game.

PF: Carlos Boozer, 12th season. 13.7 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game.

C: Joakim Noah, 7th season. 12.6 points per game, 11.3 rebounds per game.

Washington Wizards

PG: John Wall, 4th season. 19.3 points per game, 8.8 assists per game.

SG: Bradley Beal, 2nd season. 17.1 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game.

SF: Trevor Ariza, 10th season. 14.4 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game.

PF: Trevor Booker, 4th season. 6.8 points per game, 5.8 rebounds per game.

C: Marcin Gortat, 7th season. 13.2 points per game, 9.5 rebounds per game.

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