Wall scores 23, bench helps Wizards turn back Bulls, 107-97



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CHICAGO (AP) — All the Washington Wizards want for Christmas is Bradley Beal and John Wall at their healthy best.

That's what Washington got in a 107-97 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, when the Beal-Wall backcourt combined for 44 points, 14 assists, five steals and only four turnovers. The Wizards are 13-11 when both are in the starting lineup.

"We made a conscious effort about a dozen or 14 games ago to play faster," coach Scott Brooks said. "We've got all this athleticism and we have one of the fastest point guards (Wall) in the league. We want to be able to utilize it every trip down the court."

Wall finished with 23 points and nine assists, while Beal totaled 21 points and five assists. Neither played in the first meeting between the teams on Nov. 12, which the Bulls won 106-95 in Chicago.

"We are a totally different team when me and (Beal) are rolling," said Wall, who did not attempt a shot in the opening 9:30, then scored 19 points in the final three quarters.

Washington also received a boost from reserves Trey Burke and Marcus Thornton, who sparked a key burst early in the fourth quarter. After the teams entered the period tied at 77, the two combined for 10 points to give the Wizards a 91-85 lead.

Dwyane Wade's jump shot closed the gap to 97-93 with 2:54 left, but Beal, Marcin Gortat and Wall followed with baskets to seal it.

"(Wall) is the head of their snake over there," Wade said. "And Bradley Beal has been playing amazing."

Gortat had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Burke scored 10 and Thornton six.

"There were so many parts of the game that were great for us tonight," Brooks said. "Guys off the bench were terrific."

Jimmy Butler led a balanced Chicago offense with 20 points, and Wade added 19. Rajon Rondo had 10 assists.

The Wizards overcame an early 13-point deficit to post their fourth victory in five games. They are 3-9 on the road.

The Bulls lost for the fourth time in five games to conclude a 1-2 homestand.

Chicago jumped out to a 33-22 lead on the strength of 62.5 percent shooting from the field. Butler and Taj Gibson led the way with nine and eight points, respectively.

In the second quarter, Wall capped a late 9-0 run with a fast-break dunk that gave his team a one-point advantage.

After a timeout, Chicago regrouped to take a 56-55 lead at halftime.

"We allowed them to get the momentum going into the half," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We lost our pace and never regained it."

TIP-INS

Wizards: Wall was whistled for his eighth technical foul, one fewer than Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins, the NBA leader. ... F Otto Porter (back spasms) sat out the second half. ... G-F Danuel House (broken right wrist) remained out.

Bulls: Fell to 5-1 when Rondo has at least 10 assists. He shot 1 for 10 from the field ... G Michael Carter-Williams (sprained left wrist) could resume 2-on-2 drills this week.

SILENT NIGHT

The Bulls have lost five of their last nine at home, where lethargic crowds have been the rule of late. "Fans aren't cheering, but we have to give them a reason to cheer," Gibson said. "We have to play better."

MAHINMI ON THE MEND

Wizards C Ian Mahinmi underwent platelet-rich plasma treatment on both knees. He will be sidelined approximately six weeks.

"(The prognosis) was day-to-day for a lot of the time when he was back the first time," Brooks said. "But now we know he had the procedure done. Everything went well."

After signing a $64 million, four-year contract last summer, Mahinmi has been limited to 14 minutes in the regular season.

UP NEXT

Wizards: Make the 90-mile trip to Milwaukee to play the Bucks on Friday night.

Bulls: At the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

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PAUL LADEWSKI

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