WASHINGTON — Mike Dunleavy was making so many three-pointers the Washington Wizards over-guarded him at the arc and let him drive for a three-point play instead.
The points were coming so easily Bradley Beal guaranteed at halftime Dunleavy wouldn’t score again — and then clobbered the Chicago Bulls veteran during a three-point attempt during the third quarter. The ball went in anyway, and Dunleavy completed a four-point play.
“He was in the zone, man,” Beal said. “I guess the hoop looked like an ocean to him.”
The Bulls needed a go-to guy after their offensive struggles put them in a 2-0 hole in their Eastern Conference first-round series. For one night, at least, they found him. Dunleavy scored 35 points, one short of his career-high, and Jimmy Butler hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 24 seconds remaining Friday for a 100-97 Game 3 victory.
Dunleavy went 12 for 19 from the field, including a career-high 8-of-10 on three-pointers.
Beal scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, but he’ll be more remembered for a walkoff interview with a television correspondent at halftime, when he guaranteed Dunleavy wouldn’t score in the second half.
Wall added 23 points and seven assists for the Wizards, who will have to wonder whether they’ll have Nene for Game 4. The Brazilian forward was ejected in the fourth quarter after a forehead-to-forehead confrontation with Butler. Nene grabbed Butler by the back of the neck and the side of the head before they were separated.
Nene is almost certain to get fined, and a suspension is possible.
Nets 102, Raptors 98: In New York, Joe Johnson scored 29 points, including the clinching free throws with 3.1 seconds remaining to seal the victory over Toronto and give Brooklyn a 2-1 lead in this first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
Deron Williams added 22 points and eight assists for the sixth-seeded Nets, who nearly blew a 15-point fourth-quarter lead. Paul Pierce also had 18 points for the Nets, who host Game 4 on Sunday night.
DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points for the Raptors, who have lost 13 straight road playoff games. Patrick Patterson added 17 points but missed two free throws with a chance to tie for Toronto.
Kyle Lowry fouled out with 15 points, forcing the Raptors to try to complete the comeback without their point guard. And they almost did.
Toronto charged back and was in position to tie when Patterson went to the line with 19 seconds left. But he missed both and Pierce knocked down two to make it 100-96, and Johnson then made two with 3.1 seconds to go after Amir Johnson’s follow shot as Brooklyn held on.