Apr 29, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Wizards forward Trevor Ariza (1) battles for the ball with Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) during the second half in game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at United Center. The Wizards won 75-69 and won the series 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

USC To NBA: Taj Gibson, Bulls Bounced From Playoffs

Despite leading the Bulls in scoring off the bench during the postseason, former USC basketball star Taj Gibson could not stop the Washington Wizards Tuesday night when they knocked Chicago out of the playoffs with a 75-69 victory.

“It is real disappointing. We put so much work into the season, came out of countless holes.” – Taj Gibson

Gibson’s role was limited in the final game of the series at the United Center. With just 12 points and a greatly diminished shooting percentage — he hit just three of ten attempts — he went down with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and did not return. The Bulls’ attempt to close a nine point gap to the Wizard’s came short in his absence.

These were Gibson’s most productive playoffs as an individual since he began his career in 2009. Before 2014 he had played 39 playoff games, including five starts, but averaged just 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds. In five games this year, Gibson led Chicago with an average of 18.2 points and 2.4 blocks per game. He also collected an average of 6.2 rebounds per game.

His .561 shooting percentage also topped the Bulls. That number was even higher before his poor shooting performance in game five. Through the first four games, Gibson boasted a .629 shooting mark.

With rumblings of a potential trade earlier in the year, Gibson’s future with the Bulls is uncertain, though he is locked under contract through 2017.

Another former Trojan star, DeMar DeRozan, returns to action in the playoffs tonight as the Toronto Raptors seek a series edge over the Brooklyn Nets.

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