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Nocioni explodes in first half as Bulls rout Wizards

Dec 3, 2006 - 4:18 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Andres Nocioni kept the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards going in opposite directions.

Coming off a career game, Nocioni scored 20 of his 24 points in the first half as the Bulls posted a 112-94 thumping of the Wizards, who lost their franchise-record eighth straight road game to open a season.

Ben Gordon scored 28 points and Luol Deng added 18 for the Bulls (7-9), who began their eight-game homestand with a season-high fourth straight win after a six-game skid.

"One of our goals is to have single-digit home losses this year," said Skiles, whose team is 4-1 at home. "This is a good chance for us to make that happen."

In Friday's 111-108 triumph over New Orleans, Nocioni had career highs of 31 points and 13 rebounds. The Argentine forward stayed hot, scoring seven points in the first period as Chicago took a 29-25 lead.

"We are starting to play good as a team," Nocioni said. "People forget that we have a lot of new players this year, so it has taken us some time. But you can see it happening now."

Nocioni staggered Washington with 11 points in the first four minutes of the second quarter as the Bulls built a 42-28 edge. The Wizards did not get within single digits thereafter.

"That's my job, to bring energy to the team, either from the bench or at the start of the game when I am in the lineup," Nocioni said. "We need to play as a team every night with energy and passion."

"I thought the effort was there, especially in the first quarter," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "We did some good things out there and competed hard initially. From the second quarter on they just jumped on us, we didn't play very well after that."

Gordon finished 10-of-21 from the floor, including 5-of-9 from the arc.

"We really shared the ball in the second quarter," Gordon said. "It could have been our best quarter of the year. Guys were knocking down their shots and playing outstanding defense."

The Bulls took a 62-44 lead into halftime and scored the first eight points of the third period - four by Nocioni - to forge a 70-44 lead. They led by as many as 30 points in the second half.

Nocioni was 9-of-15 from the floor, including 4-of-7 3-pointers.

"When he gets in a zone it can last for a while," Skiles said. "He's dialed in right now, you can really tell that. He is looking at the hoop and his feet are set when he takes a shot."

Chicago shot 51 percent (41-of-81) in posting a season high in points for a second straight game.

Washington's Gilbert Arenas continued his road miseries, scoring just 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting. He entered averaging just 18.7 points on 28 percent shooting on the road against 33.1 points and 48 percent shooting at home.

"This is the first time in my career that I felt like I am not doing anything out there on the road," Arenas said. "At home it is good, on the road it is a different story. I don't know what to say about it. I really don't."

Caron Butler scored 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting for the Wizards (6-10), who shot 42.5 percent (31-of-73).

"(The losing streak) is sort of a mystery," Jordan said. "At the same time we have some ideas of why it's happening, and now we are trying to resolve some things. It is a work in progress."

Bulls guard Chris Duhon left in the second quarter after being hit in the head and did not return.

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