Beal missed another jumper with 17.9 seconds left, giving Chicago the chance to tie the score on one final possession. Kirk Hinrich drove to the basket, missed a lay-up, got his own rebound and went back up with it, drawing a foul on Nenê – his sixth – with 2.4 seconds to play.
Hinrich, though, missed the first free throw, and his intentional miss on the second caromed directly to Wall, who slung it downcourt as time expired.
“I think we did a great job of staying calm and composed,” Wall said. “Early in the season, we would get rattled. Guys would try to make plays one on one on their own. Tonight, we trusted our offense like we’ve been doing – and [we were] just making big shots and getting offensive rebounds. The main thing is, guys stepped up and got defensive stops down the stretch.”
Chicago carried the edge on the boards, outrebounding Washington 49-42. It also outscored the Wizards in the paint, 44-22, as Washington spent much of the third and fourth quarters settling for midrange jumpers.
The Wizards shot 47.5 percent from the floor, including 9-for-23, or 39.1 percent, from three-point range. Beal made four of his seven three-point attempts.
Never in franchise history have the Wizards won their first two games of a playoff series on the road and returned home to Game 3. That will be the case on Friday.
“Boy, I hope it’s jumpin’!” Wittman said. “It’s been a long time. I’m happy for the city. … But again, we can’t lose sight of why we have won these two games, and continue to build on that.”