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Administrator 12/02--7/07
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http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/beaconnews/sports/2_9_AU20_BULLS_S1.asp

WASHINGTON — Everyone knows about Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler, the Washington trio that combined for 77 points Sunday against Chicago.

What the Wizards would love to have as the postseason approaches is consistent contributions from a fourth source, and Antonio Daniels is stepping into that role.

Daniels, a reserve guard, scored a season-high 21 points on his 31st birthday, and Washington ran out to big lead en route to a 113-104 victory over Chicago in a rematch of a 2005 first-round playoff series.

"It is the time of year for our veterans and guys who have been to the playoffs to step up for us," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "Antonio has done that."

Daniels is averaging 15.5 points the last six games, when Washington has gone 4-2 and moved past Indiana for fifth in the Eastern Conference. A lack of playoff experience was considered a factor in the Wizards' second-round sweep against the Miami Heat last season, and Daniels has played in 59 postseason games, winning an NBA title with San Antonio in 1999.

He signed a $30 million, five-year deal to leave Seattle and join Washington as a free agent in the offseason.

"It takes a while to find your niche. You're pressing. You're trying to live up to this, trying to live up to that," Daniels said. "And when you just kind of calm down and be yourself — it took me a while just to be myself (with a) new coaching staff, new teammates, new organization, new system — once you find a way to blend in without trying to do too much, everything falls into place."

Arenas led the way with 29 points and seven assists, Butler scored 25, and Jamison had 23, giving the Wizards four 20-point scorers in a game for the first time since Nov. 25 at Detroit.

Washington led 60-40 at halftime, was up 27 in the third quarter, and withstood a late comeback bid by the Bulls, led by 20 points from Ben Gordon and 18 apiece from Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni.

"We waited 2½ quarters before we got any energy going," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "Once we did, we were able to chip away at it and give ourselves half a chance."

Washington surpassed its average output of 101.4 points, best in the East, and reached 110 for the seventh time in nine games. The latest effort came against a Chicago team that leads the NBA in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 42.7. The Wizards finished at 47 percent Sunday and won for the first time in three tries this season against the team they eliminated last year.

The Bulls found themselves in plenty of foul trouble, with Tyson Chandler (three points, zero field-goal attempts) and Kirk Hinrich fouling out, and Gordon and Nocioni finishing with five apiece.

"We are going out there sometimes and getting fouls because we are a step behind on some plays," Gordon said.

Chandler went to the sideline after picking up his fifth foul with a little under 2 minutes left in the third quarter. He argued the call from his seat and was whistled for a technical foul. Then the fourth-year center got into a brief exchange with Skiles, who got up and stood over Chandler, yelling, "I'll say whatever I want to say," with a few obscenities sprinkled in.

"I can't allow us to be blaming other factors for the way that we play. There's a very simple thing to do under those situations, and that's play better," Skiles said. "We've done that a little bit too much this year: blame the refs, blame other situations, and that's not a belief system that I can endorse — ever."

The Bulls missed 10 of their first 14 shots.
 

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Administrator 12/02--7/07
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...sgamer,1,6490662.story?coll=chi-sportsnew-hed

WASHINGTON -- Mathematically speaking, the Bulls still have a chance to make the playoffs, but at this rate the season's final 15 games will be slow and painful.

Their demise continued Sunday as they fell 113-104 to the Wizards before 15,319 fans at the Verizon Center. The Bulls trailed by as many as 27 in losing their third straight game.

They trail the 76ers by only 21/2 games for the Eastern Conference's eighth playoff spot, in large part because Philadelphia keeps losing without injured star Allen Iverson.

"It seems like forever now we've been on the outside looking in," Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich said. "We've had our chances and we haven't taken advantage of them."

If the Bulls and 76ers continue to slip, Boston could pass them up for the final playoff berth. The Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating the Pacers on Sunday, and they trail the 76ers by 31/2 games.

The Bulls led for about 90 seconds early. Then Antawn Jamison hit a three-pointer to get the Wizards going on a 22-10 run to close the first quarter.

Gilbert Arenas led the Wizards with 29 points, Caron Butler scored 25 and Jamison added 23.

The Wizards relaxed in the second half, and the Bulls outscored them in the third and fourth quarters. The Bulls won the fourth 32-24, but it meant nothing.

"We waited too long," coach Scott Skiles said.

Ben Gordon overcame early foul trouble to lead the Bulls with 20 points. He and Hinrich, who fouled out, never established a rhythm because of fouls.

"Fouls are usually born from being a half-step slow," Skiles said. "When we've gotten in serious foul trouble, it's because we've been out of position."

Tyson Chandler, who also fouled out, illustrated the team's frustration best in the third quarter. He was called for a foul on a bad screen and Skiles pulled him. Chandler continued to jaw with referee Monty McCutchen until McCutchen hit him with a technical.

Chandler also exchanged words with Skiles, who walked over to Chandler's seat to quiet him down.

"He told me, 'Happy belated St. Patrick's Day,'" Chandler said, his words loaded with sarcasm.


Said Skiles: "I can't allow us to be blaming other factors for the way that we play. There's a very simple thing to do under those situations, and that's play better. Get better.

"We've done that a little too much this year—blame the refs, blame other situations. That's not a belief system I can endorse, ever."
 

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Administrator 12/02--7/07
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
http://www.suntimes.com/output/bulls/cst-spt-bull20.html

WASHINGTON -- If only this chase was as exciting as those televised live from the freeways of Los Angeles.

Safe to say, when it comes to their playoff pursuit, the Bulls have been in the no-passing lane.

A 113-104 loss to the Washington Wizards on Sunday kept the Bulls 2-1/2 games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers were 98-89 losers Sunday at Golden State.

WIZARDS 113
BULLS 104

"We've been in this position it seems like forever now,'' guard Kirk Hinrich said. "We're on the outside looking in. We've had our chances and just haven't been able to take advantage of it.''

In losing their third straight game, the Bulls didn't give themselves much of a chance to win with the way they started.

"We dug a 20-point hole against a good team at home,'' said coach Scott Skiles, whose team trailed by as many as 27 points in the third quarter. "It's very difficult at that point to come back and win.''

Still, Skiles' squad, as it usually does, gave it a go with a late run. The Bulls, who never led after the opening 3-1/2 minutes, cut the Wizards' lead to 93-86 with a 14-4 run in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.

"Even when we got it close, [Antawn] Jamison got away from us,'' Skiles said. "He's been a key guy whenever we play against them. When we've been able to do a good job on him and make him shoot a poor percentage, we've had some success. [Gilbert] Arenas is normally going to have a pretty good game. It's hard to stop him. But Jamison got away from us.''

After Chris Duhon's driving layup with 8:05 to play had closed the gap to 93-86, Jamison turned the tide back the Wizards' way when he scored Washington's next seven points.

Arenas scored a game-high 29 points, with Caron Butler adding 25 and Jamison 23 for Washington, which took advantage of frequent fouls by the Bulls. They were whistled 31 times, resulting in the Wizards' 30-for-35 performance from the free-throw line.

"We've been a fouling team,'' Skiles said. "That's the most consistent thing we've done all year. You never know until you sit down and look at the tape, but I didn't have a lot of complaints tonight.

"Normally, when we're really aggressive, we don't foul. Fouls are usually born from being a half-step slow, not getting help there quick enough, lazily reaching and slapping. Those kinds of things. That's held true for us this year when we've been in serious foul trouble.''


Both Hinrich -- who finished with 17 points and only one assist after nursing a sore right elbow -- and center Tyson Chandler fouled out.

"I just couldn't stay out of foul trouble for whatever reason,'' Hinrich said. "I made some silly plays and got caught in some bad positions. I was in foul trouble all night.

"It gets real frustrating. We played [Saturday], but so what? We still have to show up. It's beyond a little frustrating right now.''


Chandler finished with no field-goal attempts, three points and six rebounds.

"It was key for us to keep Chandler off the boards,'' Arenas said. "Last time, in Chicago, he had 20 rebounds, so it was big for us to keep him off the glass.''

The Bulls, now 2-1 against the Wizards, won that Jan. 27 game 90-79.

"We're playing against a good team and waited 2-1/2 quarters before we got any energy going,'' Skiles said. "Once we did, we were able to chip away at it and give ourselves half a chance. We just waited too long.''

Ben Gordon led the Bulls with 20 points but had five fouls and four turnovers.

"I picked up three fouls in the first half after getting it going early in the first quarter,'' Gordon said. "I just have to be able to play through things like that. We did a good job of coming back in the second half and not lying down. We fought back. We just didn't have enough time, basically.''

And with only 15 games remaining, time is of the essence for the Bulls' playoff pursuit.
 
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