They blew a 13-point lead in Game 1 and couldn't hang on after rallying in this one. Both times, they struggled in the fourth quarter, and coach Tom Thibodeau bristled when asked if he might switch up his late-game rotation.
"We look at everything," he said. "Unreal."
John Wall had 16 points and seven assists for Washington.
The Bulls appeared to be in good shape when they were leading 87-77 five minutes into the fourth. They were still leading, 91-85, when Beal shot the Wizards back into the game.
He nailed a 3-pointer that made it 91-88 and added a floater to make it a one-point game. Then, with a chance to put Washington ahead, he hit 1 of 2 free throws with 52.9 seconds left to tie it at 91.
Both teams had opportunities to win it in the closing seconds but couldn't convert.
"I think we did a great job staying calm and composed," Wall said. "Early in the season, we would get rattled and guys would try to make plays one on one on their own. Tonight, we trusted in our offense like we've been doing."
The Bulls were leading 87-77 after a driving layup by Noah and two free throws by Butler with 6:59 left regulation. But with Beal going off, the Wizards made a run.
"I can't take a lot of credit for the fourth quarter," said Beal, who scored 11 in the fourth after quiet second and third quarters. "I think we got a lot of offensive rebounds and kickouts, and John hit me on a couple. I was fortunate to be able to knock down some, and I just stayed with it.
NOTES: Only three teams have dropped Games 1 and 2 at home and won a series: the 1968-69 Lakers, 1993-94 Rockets and the 2004-05 Dallas Mavericks. ... Dikembe Mutombo presented the Defensive Player of the Year award to Noah, who hoisted the trophy above his head to loud cheers before the game. ... Thibodeau praises San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Phoenix's Jeff Hornacek after they took the top two spots in the Coach of the Year vote. As for the guy who finished third? "He's terrible," he joked. Thibodeau, of course, took the third spot after guiding the Bulls to 48 wins. It might have been his best coaching job yet, with another knee injury curtailing Derrick Rose's comeback and Luol Deng getting traded away.
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