Notebook: Bulls 87, Wizards 77

Posted Dec 29, 2012 11:23 PM

By Kent McDill, for

THE FACTS: Marco Belinelli scored 17 points off the bench to lead the Chicago Bulls to an 87-77 victory over the visiting Washington Wizards Saturday. On a poor-shooting night for both teams, Carlos Boozer added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulls, who broke a two-game losing streak with the win. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 14 points. The Wizards failed for the fourth time this season to get a second consecutive victory.

THE FACTS II: The Wizards played without their leading scorer, Jordan Crawford, who was reported out with a sore left ankle just before the game started. Crawford is averaging 16 points per game and scored 27 in the Wizards' win over Orlando Friday but has been plagued by soreness in his left ankle since early in the season. Saturday was the first game of the season he missed.

THE FACTS III: The Bulls led by 13 points halfway through the third quarter then gave up 11 consecutive points to the Wizards, cutting the lead to two with 3:36 left in the quarter. The Wizards could never completely erase the deficit, however.

ROSTER MOVES: Bulls guard Rip Hamilton returned after missing 12 games with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot and scored nine points in 14 minutes. Belinelli, who averaged 15 points starting in Hamilton's place, scored 17 points in 33 minutes off the bench.

QUOTABLE I: "I'm not sure yet. We are going back and forth."
-- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau on whether he will continue to start Hamilton and bring Belinelli in off the bench.

THE STAT: The Bulls shot 39 percent (34 for 87) from the field but outshot the Wizards, who shot 36.5 percent (31 for 85).

THE STAT II: The Wizards outrebounded the Bulls 56-49 and had 16 offensive rebounds for 15 second-chance points. Emeka Okafor had 18 rebounds himself. However, the Wizards turned the ball over 16 times for 17 Bulls points off the miscues.

TURNING POINT: With the Bulls up 79-76, Belinelli hit a 3-pointer with five minutes remaining to give the Bulls a six-point cushion that seemed to end the threat of upset.

INJURY UPDATE: Washington guard Crawford first injured his ankle in early November, but has played through the pain and been the team's leading scorer in the absence of John Wall. But it was decided just before game time that he could not go Saturday. Bulls guard Hamilton made his first appearance and start after missing 12 games with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot and scored nine points in 14:42 of playing time. Luol Deng injured his right ankle against Houston on Tuesday but played 37 minutes and scored 11 points.

QUOTABLE II: "He can score in his sleep.''
-- Bulls center Joakim Noah on the return of shooting guard Hamilton.

GOOD MOVE: Perhaps because the Bulls have been beaten on the boards in seven of their last nine games, Bulls coach Thibodeau gave backup center Nzar Mohammed 13 minutes of playing time. He did not score but grabbed eight rebounds.

ROOKIE WATCH: In Crawford's absence, Beal from Florida was the Wizards' team leader on the floor. He played 34 minutes and scored 14 points with five rebounds, three assists and three turnovers.

NOTABLE: The Wizards have not won two games in a row this season, but all of their games following victory have been on the road... the Wizards have only one road win this season... the Bulls were 7-5 in games Hamilton missed due to injury... the Bulls are 9-6 with their starting lineup of Kirk Hinrich, Hamilton, Deng, Noah and Boozer.

UP NEXT: For the Bulls, vs. Bobcats Monday, @ Magic Wednesday, @ Heat Friday. For the Wizards, vs. Mavericks Tuesday, @ Pacers Wednesday, vs. Nets Friday.