Instant analysis: Wizards 96, Bulls 93

Instant analysis: Wizards 96, Bulls 93
January 17, 2014, 9:15 pm
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Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) dribbles the ball as Chicago Bulls point guard D.J. Augustin (14) defends in the second quarter at Verizon Center.

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

The Wizards dealt with 12 lead changes and 11 ties but the most important statistic for them is being at .500 for the third time this season with Friday's win vs. the Chicago Bulls in front of 17,005 at Verizon Center. 

They beat the Bulls (18-20) for the second time this week and won their third game overall. It also marked the third consecutive time the Wizards have shot 50% or better (40-for-79).

It was a topsy-turvy game that was sealed only when Nene blocked Jimmy Butler's three-point attempt at the buzzer. Unlike earlier in the season when the Wizards were blasted by coach Randy Wittman for not recognizing situations and allowing clean looks from the arc in games they led by three only to lose, not this time. The last two possessions they stuffed the Bulls who made 9 of 24 threes.

The Wizards (19-19) had six players in double figures, led by John Wall's 23 points on 9 of 15 shooting and he also had 11 assists. Bradley Beal and Martell Webster scored 14 each, Marcin Gortat had 13 points, six rebounds and three blocks and Nene  only shot 3-for-15 but had 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks. 

[RELATED: John Wall makes circus lay-up]

Chicago has been one of the NBA's hottest teams, losing only twice in 2014 -- both to Washington. 

Turning point: The Wizards were sluggish in the third quarter as they fell victim to a 20-6 run as the Bulls led 70-62. Then Wall buried a pull-up jump shot, poked the ball away from D.J. Augustin and that led to a miraculous circus shot by Wall, a foul by Mike Dunleavy and a made free throw. Webster's three-pointer then tied to score at 70. 

Key stat: The Wizards only allowed seven offensive rebounds after giving up 14 in the first meeting to Chicago. They actually won that battle with eight. 

Foul trouble: Butler harassed Beal all night and he ended up with four fouls in just 11 minutes. Beal picked up his fourth in the first minute of the third quarter and sat until the fourth when he scored nine points.

Rotation shift: Wittman continues to be unpredictable in how he uses his reserves. Otto Porter and Kevin Seraphin got off the bench early after recently falling out of the rotation. Porter played five minutes in the first half but didn't get up a shot. Seraphin only played 28 seconds to end the half, but his block led to a three-pointer for Wall. 

Bench scoring: They came up big again, with 32 points from Webster (14 points), Trevor Booker (12) and Garrett Temple (six and five assists). 

From the locker room: "It wasn't our most prettiest win but it was a gutty one. I give our guys credit for gutting this one out. I think we got down eight there in the second half and just kept pecking away. We got four stops in a row when they went up eight and we were able to convert at the other end and get the game back to even and then we made some plays down the stretch." -- Wittman

"We made them take tough shots and we came down and took our time and executed our offense and made shots." -- Wall

"That's the kind of things we've been working on in practice. We finally executed what we needed to do to get a win in a tough situation." -- Ariza

"I knew I did not have to come out anymore because I only played (11) minutes, but I was fine. I was going to come out and be aggressive from the start and they gave me a few open looks and I took them." -- Beal on his play in the fourth quarter, after foul trouble had limited him

"When we broke the lineup at the end of the third, I think they went 8-0. Then in the fourth, Beal came back in and he got loose on us. The biggest problem was turnovers. The 15 turnovers turn into 25 points. That's hard to overcome." -- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau

Up next: The Wizards don't practice Saturday because they have a home game vs. the Detroit Pistons (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).

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