John Wall scored a game-high 24 points, including a pair of game-clinching free throws as the Washington Wizards to beat the Chicago Bulls, 75-69, in game five of the Eastern Conference first round series in Chicago, Ill.

Washington wins the series, 4-1, advancing to the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2005 when they also beat the Bulls then, 4-2, in the series. It’s only the third time since the 1970s that Washington has reached the second round.

The score was tied at 41 at halftime as Chicago battled hard to avoid elimination. But Washington took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Bulls, 20-11.

The Wizards led for most of the fourth quarter, but the Bulls pulled in close during the final minutes, trailing by just three points with just 14 seconds left. But guard Bradley Beal made a free throw and Wall made two more free throws to give Washington enough of a cushion to ride out with the victory.

Forward Nene Hilario scored 20 points with seven rebounds in his first action following his suspension in game four for his physical altercation with Bulls forward Jimmy Butler during game three. Beal followed with 17 points.

Butler led Chicago with 16 points in the loss; Joakim Noah had six points with 18 rebounds.

Washington will face the winner of the No. 1 seed Indiana Pacers/No. 8 seed Atlanta Hawks series in the second round.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor