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Dunleavy Saves Bulls Season, Chicago Can Even Series Sunday

The Chicago Bulls are on the road again Sunday afternoon for Game 4 of their best of seven first round playoff series in the NBA Eastern Conference versus the Washington Wizards.

Washington won Games 1 and 2 in Chicago to open the series, while Chicago defeated Washington in Game 3 in Washington to narrow the Wizards lead to 2-1.

The Bulls season was saved by Mike Dunleavy the most unlikely of heroes, who normally is not even allowed on the court during the fourth quarter of games unless it is a blowout win or loss.

However, do not tell Dunleavy that. On Friday night, the veteran guard hit for 35 points. His previous career high in the postseason was 17. In Games 1 and 2 Dunleavy combined for just 20 points at home.

Defense for Chicago has been its mainstay the entire season. In Games 1 and 2 the defense failed the Bulls and the results were two home losses and a 0-2 hole to start the series. In Game 3, the defense held Washington to 43% shooting to win 100-97.

However, it was not all defense that changed things and possibly saved the season for the Bulls.

This game was won by offense and mainly that of Dunleavy. He hit 12 of his 19 shots, including an impressive 8 of 10 from three-point territory. Maybe the biggest play of the game was the four-point play Dunleavy registered.

John Wall the point guard for Washington said Dunleavy’s four-point play changed the entire momentum and flow of Game 3. Dunleavy has nearly single-handedly put the Bulls back into the series even though they continued to make mistakes, including 17 turnovers in Game 3.

The Bulls won Game 3 due to Dunleavy putting a dent in the previously unscathed defense for Washington, who in games 1 and 2 had its way with the Bulls offense.

The four-pointer for Dunleavy finished off the remaining part of a 9-point lead by Washington late in the third quarter and was the turning point in the game and quite possibly the Chicago season.

Dunleavy might not have the offense in him for another performance Sunday afternoon that he had Friday night, but if he can occupy Washington guard Trevor Ariza, then the 6-foot-8 player for the Wizards cannot play D.J. Augustin, who he has shut down in the first three games of the series.

Kirk Hinrich also showed his veteran savvy by hitting two of four shots, but dishing out five assists and grabbing five rebounds, while committing just one turnover.

The Washington Wizards will also be without the services of big man Nene who was suspended by the NBA for one game after being tossed out of Game 3 when he head-butted Chicago’s  Jimmy Butler.

Chicago will enter Game 3 with the momentum in their favor and must take advantage of the absence of Nene on the court.

If the Bulls can win and tie the series at 2 games apiece, then they will hold home court advantage once again and head back to Chicago for Game 5 in a dogfight with the Wizards.

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