Wizards Look To Improve, Face Bulls
Posted Dec 2 2006 1:15PM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
The Washington Wizards will look to avoid a club-record eighth straight road loss to start a season when they play the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Saturday.
Washington has lost its last four regular-season games at Chicago. It did win 112-110 at the United Center in Game 5 in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs on May 4, 2005. The Wizards have not won there in the regular season road since a 99-74 victory on Oct. 29, 2003.
The Wizards improved to 6-2 at home with a 121-109 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday, when all five starters scored in double figures for the first time this season. Washington, which defeated Atlanta 96-95 on Tuesday, will look to win a season-high third straight game Saturday.
``Everybody was sharing the ball and everyone was making shots. We feel good about ourselves,'' said guard Gilbert Arenas, who led the way Friday with 33 points on 11-of-20 shooting. ``That's how we look when we're good.''
It was the second-most points scored by the Wiazrds this season, who are averaging 100.1 a game overall, but only 87.4 on the road. In a wild start, the two teams combined for 126 first-half points Friday.
``It was just a scoring-fest in the first half,'' said Wizards (6-9) coach Eddie Jordan, whose team shot a season-high 54.8 percent from the field. ``We couldn't stop anybody. They couldn't stop us.''
Forward Caron Butler had 24 points to top the 20-point mark in his fourth straight game. He had his consecutive free throws made streak snapped at 33 after going 6-for-8 from the line. Antawn Jamison added 22 points.
Arenas also had 10 assists. It was his fourth game with more than 30 points this season, but first since Nov. 18, when he scored 45 in a win over Cleveland.
Arenas, who is averaging 26.4 points per game, has played well against Chicago during his career, averaging 25.4 points in 18 games. Last season, he averaged 32.5 points against the Bulls, including a 42-point effort in a 118-111 loss last Dec. 10.
Washington's star guard is averaging 33.1 points at home, but is averaging only 18.7 and shooting 28.4 percent on the road.
After suffering through a six-game losing skid, the Bulls (6-9) look to extend their season-high winning streak to four games Saturday.
Chicago held off a fourth-quarter rally by New Orleans to win 111-108 Friday - just the third road win of the season for the Bulls.
``That's the kind of win we need to get,'' Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. ``When you come on the road like this, no matter how you can get it, you've got to get it.''
Small forward Andres Nocioni had a career-high 31 points, grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds and hit two late free throws to lead Chicago, which looks to improve to 4-1 at home Saturday.
Nocioni, who has started Chicago's last nine games, is averaging 15.0 points and 6.1 rebounds this season.
Luol Deng, the Bulls' leading scorer with 18.3 points per game this season, had 21 points for Chicago, which allowed a 15-point lead to be cut down to two late in the fourth quarter.
``If we're up eight or six with two minutes to go, we've got to keep attacking and realize that we've still got to score,'' said guard Kirk Hinrich, who added 17 points.
The Bulls won three of four games against the Wizards last season.
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