The Wizards will have their fifth sellout this season when they play their first home playoff game in six years at Verizon Center. And this could be the most bruising meeting with the Chicago Bulls, who are desperate to dig out of a 2-0 hole in this first-round, best-of-seven series. Including the regular season, they've lost four of five meetings with the Wizards.
For this sellout, confirmed by CSN Washington early Thursday evening, there shouldn't be a horde of fans wearing the colors of the visiting team which is what happened against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat (twice). Fans of the L.A. Lakers and New York Knicks also came en masse though those games fell short of sellouts.
The Wizards will hand out red, white and blue T-shirts in hopes of making it an even greater home-court advantage for Friday's game (CSN, 8 p.m. ET). Before tipoff, there'll be Wizards Playoff Pulse at 6:30 and Wizards Central at 7.
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"It's going to be more physical than it was in Game 1 and 2. We knew what it took to win Game 1 and 2. It's going to take a lot more to win Game 3, especially when you want to take care of home-court," Wizards point guard John Wall said. "We know they're going to come in fighting with the edge of nothing to lose."
There were two small dustups Tuesday, when the Wizards came from 10 points behind to beat the Bulls 101-99 in overtime at United Center.
Kirk Hinrich held Bradley Beal who took exception and aggressively broke free. Hinrich then slapped in him the back of the head. The pair drew double technical fouls in the second quarter. Then it was Trevor Ariza, who was peeved at Joakim Noah for a shot to the neck. They were quickly separated, too, and were hit with double technicals.
The Wizard were 22-19 at home this season, which should've been better. They had the same record on the road which is tougher to achieve. Among East teams, only the Heat and Toronto Raptors were as successful on the road as the Wizards.
"We'll be prepared," said Nene, who has fouled out twice and left Game 2 with blood on his jersey. "It's a battle. There are no shortcuts. … At home, we'll need to pay attention a little bit more."