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Mike Dunleavy sets Bulls playoff three-point record

WASHINGTON — There isn’t much Mike Dunleavy could have done had he been watching TV at halftime of Game 3 of the Bulls’ first-round series with the Wizards on Friday.

Wizards guard Bradley Beal made the boisterous proclamation on the home team’s telecast that he would hold Dunleavy scoreless for the rest of the game.

This after Dunleavy scored 16 points in the first half.

“We don’t watch TV at halftime,” Dunleavy said. “It didn’t have, really, any effect on the game.”

An 0-2 series hole was enough to motivate Dunleavy, who proved Beal wrong by scoring 13 points in the third quarter. He finished the game with 35, including a franchise playoff-record eight three-pointers, as the Bulls won 100-97.

Dunleavy’s hot hand almost single-handedly propelled the Bulls to their first victory in the series. Before the game, he said that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wanted to get him in more catch-and-shoot situations.

“The way he was shooting the ball, he was just locked in,” Bulls forward Taj Gibson said. “He’s a veteran. He’s capable of having games like that. That’s what playoff basketball is all about. Guys just stepping up when their number is called, and that’s what he did.’’

Make no mistake: Dunleavy had to earn his time.

In the previous two games, the veteran forward sat on the bench in crunch time with a two-point-guard lineup on the floor.

But this time Thibodeau went to Dunelavy, who is playing in only his third playoff series in 12 NBA seasons. Thibodeau needed a reliable scoring threat after the team struggled to score down the stretch in the first two games.

“These chances have been few and far between for me,” Dunleavy said. “But like I told somebody this morning, especially on the road in playoff situations where you can thrive, it’s a hostile environment and I like getting in an opposing arena where everyone is pulling against you.”

But it wasn’t an entirely smooth night for Dunleavy.

After he hit a three-pointer to open the fourth quarter, he went cold.

He didn’t score again until 3:04 was left in the game. Considering the way the series has gone for the Bulls, it would have been easy for Dunleavy to think he had lost his touch.

But not Friday.

“It was just one of those nights,” Dunleavy said. “You don’t really think why. You’re trying to hunt your shot, trying to find it. Missed a couple. Was disappointed in myself. You just keep firing away. I felt like I had it going all night.”

Email: sgruen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @SethGruen



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