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Bulls continue strong road play in Washington
Winners of seven of their last eight, Bulls improve to 19-9
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By Sam Smith | 12.23.2014 | 8:21 p.m. CT
The Bulls Tuesday closed their two-game Eastern Conference leaders’ round robin tournament with a 99-91 victory over the Washington Wizards with another impressive finish from Derrick Rose.
Rose led the Bulls with 25 points, which included eight straight points down the stretch when the Wizards took an 87-86 lead with 3:44 left on a John Wall jumper for his eighth straight point. But Rose countered with an off balance drive, a hesitation drive when he was fouled, a step back jumper after he happily skipped back to the huddle and a tip in of a Joakim Noah miss that essentially put the game out of reach.
Pau Gasol had 18 points and nine rebounds and Noah had eight points and 11 rebounds. Wall led Washington with 18. The Bulls went to 19-9 and 13-4 on the road while the Wizards fell to 19-8 and 13-4 at home. The exciting win for the Bulls came after defeating conference leading Toronto at home Monday.
The Bulls were in the second of a back to back Tuesday after arriving in Washington after 3:00 a.m. So what was the Wizards’ excuse as both teams had a brutal, slow first quarter in which the Bulls stumbled ahead 21-20 after one as Pau Gasol, of all players, closed the quarter with a 21-20 lead on a deep left corner three. Kirk Hinrich remained back in Chicago with a strained hamstring, so Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau began the second quarter with a reserve group of Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson, Tony Snell, Aaron Brooks and E’Twaun Moore. But the rare grouping had a nice stretch, especially defensively, as the Bulls pulled ahead 31-26 with Moore making a three in transition. Rose returned to the game and took over the rest of the quarter to support a strong Gasol first half giving the Bulls a 46-40 halftime lead. The Wizards hit back to back threes from Paul Pierce and Bradley Beal to pull within 70-65 Bulls going into the fourth quarter.
1. Derrick Rose rises to the occasion against the top point guards as he continues his run against elite guards with a big game against John Wall after previous big games against Damian Lillard, Deron Williams and Kyle Lowry.
2. E’Twaun Moore has continued to demonstrate he deserves more playing time as he coolly made several big plays after his clutch free throws in the win in Memphis last week.
3. It was another big bench performance with the Bulls reserves outscoring Washington’s 37-24 and Taj Gibson and Aaron Brooks both in double figures scoring.