WASHINGTON -- An already rough-and-tumble playoff series between the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls now has a full-blown fracas, an ejection and a Game 4 suspension for Nene. Greg Maddux Jersey Braves . What everyone will be watching when these clubs meet Sunday, with Washington leading the Eastern Conference series 2-1, is just how physical the play will get -- and whether things will escalate again. "Weve had scuffles all three games, basically. Youve got to make sure we dont lose our composure, where we get thrown out of the game like that. It doesnt matter who it is, we cant afford that," Washington coach Randy Wittman said after the Wizards loss Friday night. "So weve just got to do a better job. Hey, its very emotional. Emotional game, tough game." Nene was tossed with about 8 1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter after wrapping both hands around the back of Jimmy Butlers head and neck as they stood so close their foreheads touched. Rod Thorn, the NBAs president of basketball operations, announced Saturday that Nene had been suspended one game without pay for head-butting and grabbing Butler "around the neck with both hands and attempting to throw him down." Butler made two key 3-pointers from there, helping the fourth-seeded Bulls win 100-97. "When you play physical ... things get hot," Nene said with a smile and a shrug Friday. During Washingtons victory at Chicago in Game 2, some lesser contretemps led to a total of four players getting called for technical fouls: Washingtons Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza, and Chicagos Kirk Hinrich and Joakim Noah. So neither club seemed all that surprised at the rising temperature in Game 3. "Hes a guy, just like each one of us, hes a guy with a big ego," Wizards centre Marcin Gortat said about Nene. "Theres nobody in this locker room whos going to be pushed around like that. And thats just how he reacted. Does he deserve two technical fouls? I dont know. But at the end of the day, he got kicked out and we had to play without him." Added Beal: "It gets to the point where you just get pushed to the limit way too much, and I think Nene got pushed to the limit. Do we agree with what he did? Not necessarily, but he did it and we cant take it back." Noah, who has spent plenty of time jostling with Nene in the low block, called the ejection a "turning point" of Fridays game. Indeed, not only did Nene average a team-high 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in Washingtons wins in Games 1 and 2, but the teams entire approach changes when the 6-foot-11 Brazilian is on the floor. He provides big-body defence and soft-hands passing. He can score and rebound. Hes so influential that John Wall, Washingtons All-Star point guard, has called him the "X-factor." During the regular season, Washington won two of three games from Chicago, but lost at home 96-78 on April 5 without an injured Nene. The Wizards scored 26 points in the first half. As for what Game 4 would mean without Nene, Noah said Saturday before the official announcement, "Im not sure. I dont think it changes our mindset, though. Its a crucial game for us. All three games really came down to the end. Attention to detail is huge. The game in these situations is so mental. For us, its just about staying focused on the things that we can control." Asked whether he thought Nenes actions warranted a suspension, Noah said, "As a player, those arent things I can control. The only thing I can control right now is eating lunch and ice baths and sleeping and shooting free throws and things like that." All three games so far have been won by the visiting team, a pattern the Bulls would love to see continue Sunday, of course. "I cant tell you why thats happened," Wizards forward Trevor Ariza said. While Washingtons offence is particularly dependent on young guards Wall and Beal, the Bulls found some new sources of much-needed offence in Game 3: Mike Dunleavy scored 35 points, one shy of his NBA high, and Butler finished with 15, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 24 seconds to go. Wittman will want to come up with a way to change that Sunday, of course. What is not likely to change is the testy nature of this matchup. "It gets chippy," Bulls forward Taj Gibson said. "But youve got to be smart. Its playoff basketball. You can get ejected; you can get suspended. Youve got to keep your hands to yourself." Tom Glavine Jersey Braves . Claude Noel will be the man behind the bench when the team hits the ice of the MTS Centre to begin its inaugural season. Discount Jerseys League . The 27th-ranked Austrian underwent surgery on a torn tendon in October and needs more time to recover, the Austria Press Agency reports on Saturday.ST. PAUL, Minn. - Nino Niederreiter snagged the puck off the boards and rushed toward the net, deftly setting up a wrist shot with a slick deke to each side. The puck whizzed past Nashville goalie Carter Huttons stick to give Minnesota an overtime victory but, before it got there, it had to elude Niederreiters good friend. Niederreiters goal with 2:44 left in the extra period lifted the Wild past the Predators 3-2 on Thursday night, and the tipped shot went between the legs of Roman Josi, who will play with Niederreiter next week for Switzerland in the Olympics. Theyll be roommates, actually. "I might mention it to him right now, but Im not sure if hell be happy about it," Niederreiter said. "At the same time, like I said, it was a big win for us and we needed those points. It felt like a playoff game out there because it was a pretty tough one." Jonas Brodin and Zach Parise scored early to offset two goals for the Predators by Craig Smith, who raised his team-leading total to 18. Hutton made 33 saves and helped thwart a Wild power play in the waning minutes of regulation, but that wasnt quite enough. All three goals Hutton gave up were to his stick side. "It was like a knuckle puck," Hutton said of Niederreiters winner. Josi was impressed by his buddy but not happy with him. "We didnt play that well in the first. We played a little slow, and they got on us quick. After that we played a good game. We obviously wanted two points, but its good to get a point on the road," Josi said. Smith tied the game midway through the second period when he redirected defenceman Victor Bartleys shot past Darcy Kuemper, who made his 12th straight start in goal for the Wild. The Predators hit the post twice in that middle frame and with another try in the third period. "A little bit of puck luck goes a long way," Kuemper said, adding: "I was just trying to do my part to battle and help the guys out because they were sure helping me out." Kuemper made 16 saves to improve to 7-3-2 since Jan. 1, and the Wild raised their home record to 21-7-2 this season. Bob Uecker Jersey Braves. Coach Mike Yeo stressed to his players this week the danger of looking ahead to the break and not letting up against a team behind them in the standings, and their performance suggested the message was received. "I was real impressed with our guys, the way that they approached this game," Yeo said. "I asked them for a playoff-type mentality coming into the game, and thats a lot to ask for in February when youre about to go on a long break, but they brought it." Parise wasnt worried about a letup. "I think were all mature enough that we understood we have a game still before, and I dont think that was ever a concern about guys thinking about their flights tomorrow or their plans for the break," he said. The Predators had a jarring start to their day, when television announcer Pete Weber was taken for emergency heart surgery and general manager David Poile was hit by an errant puck that flew off the ice during the morning skate and hit him in the face where he was standing behind the bench. Poile was staying in a hospital overnight for observation and evaluation, the team said, and was unable to be present for the pregame ceremony the Wild held for all the Olympians in attendance for each team. Poile is the general manager for Team USA. "There was some bad stuff that happened today, but weve got to come out and find a way to get two points," Hutton said. "Good for them. We werent able to do it." The Predators are in last place in the Central Division but still within striking distance of the playoffs. "It was a good road point considering all the stuff that went on today," coach Barry Trotz said, adding: "We grind them out." NOTES: Wild D Marco Scandella sat out due to a sprained knee sustained the previous game. LW Stephane Veilleux cleared waivers and was sent to AHL affiliate Iowa. ... Smith has 20 points and 12 goals in his last 23 games. ... Niederreiter has 12 points and a plus-six rating in his last 19 games. ' ' '