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Wizards 102, Bulls 88

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Back in the starting lineup after coming off the bench for the last 12 games, Nene came alive with 19 points and several emphatic dunks, leading the Washington Wizards to a 102-88 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night at the United Center.

Wizards guard John Wall added 18 points and seven assists, and forward Trevor Ariza finished with 16 points.

Washington shot 52 percent from the field against one of the league's best defensive squads.

The Wizards (17-19) had lost eight of their last 10 games in Chicago but now have won seven of its last nine road games overall.

Forward Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 19 points. Guard Jimmy Butler and rookie forward Tony Snell scored 12 points each, and center Joakim Noah grabbed 16 rebounds.

Chicago (17-19) had a five-game winning streak snapped, losing for the first time since trading top scorer Luol Deng to Cleveland. The Bulls missed a chance to achieve a .500 record for the first time since Nov. 27.

The Wizards started fast, never trailed and led by as many as 15 points in the first half. They missed their first seven shots fromt he field in the second half and the Bulls methodically trimmed a 13-point halftime deficit to 65-61 on a bank shot by forward Taj Gibson.

Washington turned it around quickly, though, with Trevor Booker hitting a jumper, followed by back-to-back 3-pointers from Ariza and Martell Webster to make it 73-61 with 2:48 left in the third quarter.

Chicago looked like it was going to finish the quarter trailing by seven points, but Washington's Garrett Temple tossed in a 3-point bank shot at the buzzer. Then on the Wizards' first possession of the fourth quarter, Temple was fouled behind the arc by Bulls guard D.J. Augustin and hit all three free throws, sending the Wizards ahead 81-68.

Washington had another quick response in the fourth quarter after a 7-0 run brought the Bulls within 87-82. Guard Bradley Beal hit a long jumper over Noah late in the shot clock. Then Wall drained a jumper off an offensive rebound and Beal drilled a corner 3-pointer to make it 94-82 with 3:36 remaining.

Chicago center Nazr Mohammed suffered a left middle finger sprain in the first half and did not return.

NOTES: Washington F Nene started Monday for the first time since Dec. 6. He had been on a minutes limit since missing four games with tendinitis in his right foot. The Wizards have gone 7-12 this season while starting Trevor Booker at power forward. ... A popular question for Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau is how the Bulls won eight of 10 games after losing G Derrick Rose to injury and trading F Luol Deng to Cleveland. "They're mentally tough," Thibodeau said of his players. "They play for each other. I think they've made a commitment to the team. They care about winning." ... Thibodeau said Rose is off crutches and will probably start traveling with the team in a couple weeks. Rose had surgery on Nov. 25 to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee. ... This was the first game of the season between these teams. They'll meet again in Washington on Friday.
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