Washington started its 11th different lineup of the season Saturday, and shot 50 percent for the first time this season in a 99-84 win over the Seattle SuperSonics. Five Wizards scored in double figures as they snapped a three-game losing streak.
Washington coach Eddie Jordan re-inserted forward Jarvis Hayes into the starting lineup in place of center Brendan Haywood. Hayes had 14 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in his first start since Dec. 30. Kwame Brown started at center instead of power forward, his usual position, and had 18 points.
Larry Hughes scored a game-high 27 points.
“We’ve been emphasizing getting (inside scoring) and we haven’t done it with our (big men) so much,” Jordan said. “But you can also score in the paint by moving the ball and driving the seams.”
Washington, which began a stretch in which it will play nine of 10 games at home, won for only the third time in 15 games.
Chicago lost 101-96 to the New York Knicks on Saturday.
The Bulls have lost three straight and five of six.
While they’re only six games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Bulls’ chances of making the postseason for the first time in the post-Michael Jordan era shrinks with every loss.
“I kind of worry it’ll be too late when we do come out of it,” Bulls center Eddy Curry said. “It can get real ugly, real fast. It’s already starting to get ugly.”
Curry finished with 20 points, but 19 came in the first half, when he was 9-of-11. He took just two shots in the second half.
“We’ve just got to finish games,” said Bulls guard Jamal Crawford, who had a team-high 20 points. “Honestly, if I knew, we’d be doing it.”
STANDINGS (through Jan. 17): Bulls - 7th place, 18 GB, Central Division. Wizards - 6th place, 10 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Bulls - Crawford, 16.8 ppg; Chandler, 10.3 rpg; Hinrich, 5.7 apg. Wizards - Hughes, 19 ppg; Thomas, 7 rpg; Arenas, 4.8 apg.
SEASON SERIES: 1-1.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 27; Bulls, 100-86. At Chicago, Crawford scored 42 points on 16 of 27 shooting to lead the Bulls.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bulls - 5-13 on the road; Wizards - 7-10 at home.