for this game

Bulls start fast, cruise by Wizards

Jan 10, 2009 - 5:08 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Ben Gordon scored 22 points and Larry Hughes added 17 as the Chicago Bulls posted a 98-86 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday.

Drew Gooden had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Tyrus Thomas added 16 and 10 for the Bulls, who have won consecutive games for the first time since victories on December 6 and 9.

"It was a good team effort and a good team win for us," first-year Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "I thought Tyrus Thomas did a nice job on Jamison on both ends of the court. We were better defensively tonight than we have been the last few games. But we did have some lazy turnovers."

Chicago led by 14 after the first quarter and pushed the lead to 52-34 at the break.

After Chicago led by 14 after the third, Hughes scored the first seven points to start the fourth, giving the Bulls a 78-57 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.

But the Wizards rallied as Nick Young scored nine points during an 11-2 run that cut the deficit to 89-82 with 2:52 remaining.

"Young is a scorer and he got hot," Del Negro said. "He made some shots and got them back in the game. We had to weather the storm and we got a good win."

That would be as close as Washington could get as Gordon and Gooden each made shots followed by Hughes' 3-pointer to push Chicago lead up to 96-83 with 48 seconds left.

Young scored 18 of his career-high 28 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Wizards, who have lost three straight contests.

"It was a big shot of confidence for me," Young said. "Once I got going, my teammates started getting me the ball. I have been waiting for a game like this; hopefully I can feed off this and keep my confidence up."

Gordon fueled Chicago's fast start, scoring five points during a 13-2 run as the Bulls took a 19-8 lead with 5:16 left in the first quarter.

The Bulls extended the lead to 14 entering the second quarter and took a 50-30 bulge as Andres Nocioni capped a 7-0 spurt on a 3-pointer with 2:12 left in the session. Chicago held a 52-34 lead at the break.

"We got off to a bad start and that is becoming too much of a bad pattern for us this year," Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott said. "I have to give the guys credit for hanging in there; however, falling behind early and working to make it up is a bad pattern. Losing at the end of the game does not cut it."

Washington tried to make a game of it in the third, closing within 59-47 on the heels of an 8-0 run, but Chicago maintained control of the game and took a 71-57 advantage into the fourth. Gordon scored 11 points during the third quarter.

Chicago had 29 assists on 38 baskets and shot 9-of-19 from the arc.

"Spreading the ball out was the key to our success in the first half. It's a good way to play basketball," Hughes said. "Find your open teammate and knock down the open shot."

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