The Washington Wizards used balance and ball movement to make up for another injury to a key performer.
John Wall led the way.
The former University of Kentucky star had 17 points and 10 assists, and the banged-up Wizards pulled away from the Chicago Bulls for a 114-100 victory on Monday night.
“I believe in these guys,” Wall said. “I see these guys put in work every day, and I put in the work every day also, and if these guys get open, I believe they’re going to make shots.”
Washington had seven players score in double figures in its second straight win after a stretch of five losses in six games. Ramon Sessions had 16 points, and Garrett Temple, Otto Porter Jr. and Nene scored 14 apiece.
The Wizards led by as many as 18 points while playing without key performers Marcin Gortat, Kris Humphries and Bradley Beal. Gortat was scratched with a sore left knee, Humphries missed his fourth straight game with a sore right knee and Beal remains out due to a stress reaction in his lower right leg.
“We battled tonight,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “We had no size, but when they posted us, we battled them. We just played as a team tonight. I told the guys if we play with this intensity and togetherness, we will win.”
Derrick Rose scored 23 points in the first of four games in five nights for the Bulls. Jimmy Butler had 19 points and seven assists, and Pau Gasol added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
“Defensively, things are not the way things need to be,” Gasol said. “We need to be better. More physicality on the defensive end. Work as a unit.”
Bulls center Joakim Noah had no points and nine rebounds in a little under 19 minutes in his return from a left shoulder sprain. It was Noah’s first game since he got hurt in the third quarter of a 105-102 loss to Brooklyn on Dec. 21.
Noah was blocked from behind by Wall with 2:19 left in the third quarter, and then grabbed his shoulder after he hit the ground. But he stayed in the game.
Doug McDermott’s four-point play got Chicago within four with 9:34 left, but Washington responded with a 13-2 run to put it away. Sessions capped the surge with a layup that made it 102-87 with 5:56 to go.
Gary Neal added 11 points for Washington, and Drew Gooden finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
“Overall, a complete game, and a game that I hope now starts building our confidence going forward,” said Jared Dudley, one of two players with eight points for the Wizards.
CONCERN FOR GORTAT
Gortat said he woke up with a swollen knee after Saturday’s 105-99 victory at Orlando. He had 12 points and 10 rebounds against the Magic and is averaging 13.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 32 games.
“I don’t know if it’s a staph infection. Just a small cut on his knee from diving on the floor, and something got in there,” Wittman said, “and it swelled up and he had a high temperature last night. So we know it’s an infection of some kind, we just got to do the treatment.”
OFFENSE AND DEFENSE
The Bulls have scored 100 or more points for 11 consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 2-23, 1995. But Chicago allowed at least 100 points in seven of those games.
MORE TO COME
It was the first of three meetings between the teams. The Wizards and Bulls split four games last season.