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Nene suspended for Game 4 of Wizards-Bulls series after physical altercation

The Wizards big man will not play in Game 4 after a near fight with the Bulls' Jimmy Butler on Friday.

Win McNamee

Washington Wizards big man Nene has been suspended one game for his altercation with Jimmy Butler in Game 3 against the Chicago Bulls, the league announced Saturday.

The scuffle began after Nene finished a transition layup in traffic. He turned, began to run up court and incidentally locked arms with Butler. Seems like a normal NBA play, right? Nope. Nene slapped Butler's arm away and borderline-headbutted the Bulls swingman.

The two locked heads for a good two to three seconds until Butler said something that sent Nene to another level. Nene grabbed Butler by the neck with two hands and pulled. Referees and players from both teams rushed over to break things up. At one point, Nene cocked back like he was ready to throw a punch, but pulled away before landing a shot.

Butler responded to the altercation with two huge three-point shots, and the Bulls went on to win the game 100-97, locking up their first victory of the series. Nene finished the game with 10 points, four rebounds and three assists. He shot just 5-of-15 from the floor.

Nene's presence will be missed. He played a huge part in Washington's first two wins in Chicago, averaging 20.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, three assists and a block on 63-percent (19-of-30) shooting. He relentlessly attacked Joakim Noah, the league's Defensive Player of the Year, and gave the Wizards an edge in the paint.

The question now is how Randy Wittman and the Wizards choose to fill the hole at power forward. Trevor Booker is the likely choice here. He averaged seven points and five boards on 55-percent shooting in the regular season. Veteran forward Drew Gooden is another option, but he's better suited as a reserve big.

The Wizards could potentially go small, slotting Trevor Ariza at power forward and spreading the floor with shooters. The problem there is that the Bulls like to play big and would dominate inside. Expect Booker to fill Nene's shoes and Gooden and veteran big man Al Harrington to get a bump in playing time.