After being ejected from Game 3 for fighting, Washington Wizards forward Nene will also miss Game 4, as the league suspended him on Saturday.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports provided news of the suspension:
The NBA has suspended Nene for Game 4 of the Wizards-Bulls series.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 26, 2014
The veteran forward got into a skirmish with Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler during the fourth quarter of Game 3 in the Wizards' first-round series:
While it was a two-point game at the time of the altercation, the Bulls went on to win by a score of 100-97. This helped close the gap of the series to 2-1 in favor of the Wizards, a margin that seems even slimmer with Washington set to play Game 4 without one of its key starters.
Nene averaged 14.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game during the regular season, but he was proving far more problematic for Chicago in the playoffs. Through the first three games of the series, the big man is averaging 17.0 points and 6.3 rebounds.
NBA analyst Charles Barkley certainly was not a fan of Nene losing his cool on the court, via Sean Highkin of Hardwood Paroxysm:
Barkley on Nene: “I can’t believe he did something that stupid. They got a basket. They need to win this game."— Sean Highkin (@highkin) April 26, 2014
Meanwhile, Rachel Nichols of Turner Sports points out a parallel to Miami Heat star LeBron James, who maintained his cool after receiving a tough blow from Josh McRoberts in Miami's series against the Charlotte Bobcats:
Nene suspension underscores @KingJames comments the other day about why he had to keep his cool after getting forearm to the neck in Game 2— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 26, 2014
Moving forward, the Wizards will have to try to find a way to replace Nene's production down low. Teammate Marcin Gortat is up to the challenge, via Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune:
Marcin Gortat said of a Nene suspension: “The ‘inside’ offense will go through me and I have to perform, have to play at top of my game.”— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) April 26, 2014
Washington will likely turn to Trevor Booker to replace Nene in the starting lineup after the power forward started 45 games during the regular season. Veterans Drew Gooden and Al Harrington will likely see increased roles as well.
While the Wizards have a bit of breathing room with a 2-1 advantage in the series, they certainly do not want to give the momentum completely back to Bulls before they return to Chicago. As a result, everyone on the roster will have to do their part to make up for the absence of the suspended Nene.
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