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Mason helps Wizards rally past Bulls

Mar 1, 2008 - 5:44 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Reserve Roger Mason and tough defense helped the Washington Wizards overcome a huge deficit.

Mason scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half as the Wizards defeated the Chicago Bulls, 97-91, on Friday.

Antawn Jamison had 17 points and 15 rebounds and Andray Blatche added 17 and 10 off the bench for Washington (27-30), which has won three of four to remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

"Andray found me for a bunch of plays and I was able to respond, "Mason said. "This is a big win for us after the tough loss we had the other night in Houston."

The Wizards trailed, 52-34, at halftime before going on a 22-1 run to begin the second half as Chicago began the third going 0-of-9 from the field.

"A run like that is great, especially with our history of not winning here in several games," Jamison said. "The thing about our team is that we stay upbeat. The guys stay positive and tonight we stayed within the team concept."

The Bulls were also done in by 14 of their 20 turnovers after the break.

With Chicago comfortably ahead to start the third, Washington finished a spurt that saw it take a 56-53 lead which was capped by Mason's 22-foot jumper with 5:11 left in the period. Mason, who connected on 6-of-14 from the floor, scored 10 in the burst and 12 for the quarter.

"Coach came in at halftime and talked about how the game was a marathon and was not over," Mason said. "We had some ups and downs in the first half, then we came out and turned it around."

Antonio Daniels, who scored 14 of his 16 in the second half, also had eight in the third for the Wizards, who shot 42 percent (36-of-86) after hitting 28 percent of their shots before intermission.

"After the way we played in Houston the other night, this is a great way to end this road trip," Daniels said. "We showed some character in the third after the first half did not go the way we wanted it to. The whole team really stepped up in the second half."

Washington took a 69-66 lead into the final quarter before two foul shots by rookie Joakim Noah helped Chicago regain the lead at 84-83 with 3:34 left. However, the Bulls made just two 3-pointers and free throws the rest of the way to lose for the first time in seven games here vs. Washington.

"This loss was not due to a lack of chemistry," Bulls interim coach Jim Boylan said. "We simply thought this game was over at halftime."

Reserve Andres Nocioni scored 19 points and Luol Deng had 18 and 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who shot 43 percent (34-of-79), but made just 13 baskets in the second half.

"This game is the story of our season," Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich said. "We play one good game and one bad game, or one good half then a bad one. If we stick together and keep fighting, we can still make the playoffs."

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