Songaila, Bulls Rally Past Arenas, Wizards
Chicago 118, Washington 111
WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 (Ticker) -- In the end, the Chicago Bulls were the ones celebrating.
Darius Songaila scored eight of his season-high 15 points in the fourth quarter as the Bulls overcame a huge night from Gilbert Arenas en route to a 118-111 victory over the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards used an 18-4 run to start the fourth quarter, capped at the 8:05 mark by two free throws by Arenas - who scored 42 points - to open their biggest lead at 102-88.
However, the Bulls were able to rally all the way back and did so in impressive fashion, reeling off a closing 16-0 surge over the final 2:49.
"We had a terrible time stopping them," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "I think at one point they scored maybe 16 out of 20 possessions partly through the third and fourth quarter. Then we made big plays. We came out of timeouts and executed well. The guys made shots and we got the stops we needed to get to come roaring back."
The Bulls were incensed that the Wizards began acting like the game was over.
"They were very active and our guys were a little bit upset that maybe they were celebrating a little bit too soon and we were fortunate enough to come back and steal it," Skiles said.
"We kind of felt like they thought the game was over, so it was all about pride," said Bulls guard Chris Duhon, who matched a career-high by scoring all of his 24 points in the second half. "They went on a run and it seemed like everything they did was going their way. They were quicker to loose balls and getting out and getting easy dunks and stuff.
"We just felt like they were celebrating and thinking the game was over. We turned it around, started competing and we were able to get back in it."
Songaila, a rugged forward who adds an interior presence off the bench, scored six points in the decisive burst, including a jump hook with 35 seconds to go that gave the Bulls a 114-111 lead.
"He's really passed the ball well for us," Skiles said. "He made two passes late for scores. He's still getting used to our guys and our guys are getting used to him. We're still trying to find ways to use him. He can really pass the ball and see the floor."
Arenas fell one point shy of his season high but disappeared down the stretch like the rest of his teammates. In the final two minutes, he was called for a charge, a defensive foul and was disgruntled after a non-call when he fell hard to the floor after having his shot blocked by Songaila.
"We lost a 14-point lead and you just can't do that to this team," Arenas said. "They are a scrappy team and they are not going to give up. They showed it last season against us in the playoffs and they showed it tonight."
Arenas made 11-of-22 shots and 16-of-20 free throws in scoring 35 or more points for the fifth time this season. However, the offensive-minded point guard also committed nine turnovers.
Washington went the final 4:07 without a basket and was held scoreless over the final 3:06.
Luol Deng had 21 points and a career-high 12 rebounds for the Bulls, who led by as many as 14 points in the first half.
"We stayed on the attack and I was proud of the way we did that," Skiles said. "We've had some games where we've been passive in those situations. Instead of getting on our heels, we kept attacking and things worked out for us."
Antawn Jamison, Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler added 16 points each for the Wizards, who have gone just 3-9 and since a 5-1 start.
"It's an embarrassment to play that way," said Jamison, who also grabbed 12 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season. "Four or five minutes to go and lose a 12-point lead. I'll give you a 100 percent guarantee I'm going to find a way to motivate these guys. Maybe I have to whoop and holler every game. Maybe I have to get more emotional."
Kirk Hinrich contributed 22 points and 13 assists for the Bulls, who have won three straight and six of seven on the road.
Hinrich scored 10 points in the second quarter, when the Bulls erased a five-point deficit to take a 56-47 lead into the break.
"That's a very big win," Skiles said. "We had our moments tonight where we played very well, and some moments where we didn't. And they did, too."