Wizards pound Bulls, much to chagrin of President ObamaFeb 28, 2009 - 4:37 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- While it appears that President Barack Obama is bringing some serious change to the nation's capital, his team, the Chicago Bulls, are still slumping.
Antawn Jamison scored 27 points to lead eight players in double figures as the lowly Washington Wizards posted a 113-90 victory over Chicago on Friday.
Although it was just a midseason game between a pair of clubs with records under .500, the contest had a buzz as Obama attended an NBA game for the first time since he was sworn in as the nation's 44th president - sitting courtside.
"We wanted to perform well in front of the president," Jamison said. "The most important thing was getting the win. The energy in the building brought back good memories for us. It was important to come out and play well, get a win, and give a good showing in front of the president. It's a pretty cool feeling."
"Clearly having the president here and having the buzz from the crowd all led into a feeling that we fed off of," Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott said.
A native of Chicago, Obama was in attendance to watch his favored Bulls. However, it was a disappointing showing by his team, which lost for the third time in four games.
"We know how big of a basketball fan he is," said Jamison, who also grabbed 11 rebounds. "Definitely, being from Chicago, how big of a Bulls fan he is. So to be able to come out and play well and get the win, most importantly, but to not have a shabby game was important, as well."
Despite a handful of moves at the trade deadline to shake things up, Chicago appeared flat early, scoring 18 points on 7-of-21 shooting in the first half.
"We didn't come out with any urgency or toughness in the beginning of the game," Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We have to get more physical and tough. They killed us on the glass and in many other aspects. They just played better than us."
The Bulls, however, did get back into the game, closing within two points on a number of occasions in the third quarter.
Washington, which had lost its previous two games, later caught fire behind the play of its bench as Andray Blatche and Mike James combined for all of the points on a 13-4 run that gave the Wizards a 75-64 lead with 3:34 to play.
A 3-pointer by Kirk Hinrich closed Chicago within 85-79 with 10:18 left in the fourth, but the Wizards then went on a 7-1 run as Caron Butler had two dunks and five points.
Obama left with more than four minutes remaining, shortly before Washington extended its lead to 20 points at 106-86 on a 3-pointer by Butler.
"We did a good job closing today," Butler said. "It's about consistency. It's good when everybody gets involved. Now we've got to get ready for the game tomorrow against Milwaukee."
Butler finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Washington, which won for just the fourth time in 11 games in February.
James also had 14 points and Blatche, Darius Songaila and Nick Young all chipped in 12 as the Wizards had eight players in double figures for the first time since February 5, 1993.
"When the whole team plays, everybody works hard and we just drive and kick and everybody is unselfish and we usually win," said JaVale McGee, who had 10 points.
Two of McGee's point came on an alley-oop dunk late in the second quarter. The rookie celebrated the play by give Obama a salute.
"I just made that up right before the game," he said. "I didn't even look (for Obama's response) but I heard some people say that he reacted, though."
Recent acquisition John Salmons had 25 points for the Bulls, who have lost four of their last five road games.
"The Wizards came to play tonight," Salmons said. "We can't take any team lightly."
Ben Gordon added 11 points on 3-of-14 shooting and rookie Derrick Rose added 10 on 4-of-10 from the field for Chicago, which finished 39.5 percent (30-of-76) from the floor and 5-of-18 on 3-pointers.
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