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Wizards Make Quick Work of Bulls in Five Games

Chicago — John Wall finished with 24 points, Nene scored 20, and the Washington Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls 75-69 on Tuesday night to clinch their first-round series in five games.

Bradley Beal scored 17 points, and the fifth-seeded Wizards advanced in the postseason for just the third time since the 1970s. They will meet Indiana or Atlanta in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

It’s a huge step for a franchise that hadn’t been to the postseason since 2008, but with Wall and Beal leading the way, they won 44 games during the regular season.

The Wizards turned a halftime tie into a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and hung on down the stretch.

Chicago’s comeback chances took a big hit early in the final quarter when Taj Gibson crumbled to the court clutching his left ankle after he tried to block a layup by Wall with the Wizards up by six points. He had to be helped off the court and did not return.

Assistant Fired For Recordings

Los Angeles — A former assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors reportedly recorded conversations of coaches and players without their knowledge before being fired by the team earlier this month.

ESPN, citing anonymous sources, reported Tuesday that Darren Erman secretly recorded coaches’ meetings, conversations between coaches and players, and informal discussions. It’s unclear what Erman did with the alleged recordings.

Golden State fired Erman on April 5 for what the team called a “violation of company policy.” The Warriors neither confirmed nor denied the report Tuesday, saying only that they “were unaware of the violation, and when made aware, we took immediate action.”

Erman already has landed a job with another team. A spokesman for the Boston Celtics confirmed to The Associated Press that the team hired Erman as an NBA scout.

NFL Playoffs

Flyers 5, Rangers 2

Philadelphia — Wayne Simmonds scored three goals and Steve Mason stopped 34 shots to lead Philadelphia over New York, forcing a decisive Game 7 of their Eastern Conference playoff series.

There’s little time for rest, too. The Flyers and Rangers play again Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Simmonds scored in the first period and twice more in the second for his first career postseason hat trick. Mason survived a busy first period and stopping 31 straight shots until Carl Hagelin scored late in the third. Mats Zuccarello also scored for New York in the final minute.

By the third, Simmonds had already helped stake the Flyers to a 4-0 lead and the outcome was a mere formality.

Erik Gustafsson also scored and Claude Giroux had an empty-netter for the Flyers, who will try for a second win in New York this series.

Simmonds, a 28-goal scorer who had one in the first five games, completed the hat trick with 4:41 left in the second. With a short turnaround, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was yanked for Cam Talbot to open the third period.

Lundqvist stopped 19 of 23 shots. He couldn’t stop Simmonds.

Simmonds camped out in the dirty area, in front of the crease, and pounded home three short goals that had Flyers fans going wild. On the brink of elimination, about the only thing that could slow down the Flyers were their fans — the game was delayed for a lengthy cleanup after they littered the ice with hats. Someone even threw a shoe.