Washington, DC – A physical battle in the post left Carlos Boozer clearly frustrated.
By the end of the game, the Chicago Bulls looked like a team that was playing with fatigue.
Emeka Okafor had 15 points and 16 rebounds as the Washington Wizards upended the Bulls, 86-73, at Verizon Center. Nene totaled 16 points and John Wall contributed 15 points and seven assists in Washington's seventh victory in 10 games.
Kirk Hinrich, who had a season-high 25 points in Chicago's 103-87 home win over Golden State on Friday, was limited to seven points a night later. Joakim Noah barely missed a triple-double, as he finished with nine points, 17 rebounds and tied a career-high with 10 assists for the Bulls, whose three- game winning streak came to an end. Nate Robinson led the way with 19 points in defeat.
Chicago scored 29 points in the second half.
"We had to make a couple of adjustments at halftime to do a couple of things that we really haven't done a lot this year. These guys went out and did it," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
Boozer was hit with a flagrant 1 foul and a technical in a span of 38 seconds in the third quarter. The flagrant came with 6:33 left in the period. Boozer was posting up when he elbowed Okafor in the face. Okafor went 1-of-2 at the charity stripe to expand Washington's lead to 65-51.
Shortly thereafter, Okafor, who was trying to drive to the hoop, crashed into Boozer. The Bulls forward gave Okafor a small shove and a technical foul was called.
Boozer picked up his fourth foul with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third, and he went to the bench.
The Wizards carried a 73-55 lead into the fourth quarter and were ahead by double digits the rest of the way.
Chicago held a 24-23 lead after a tightly contested first quarter. Wall's layup in the dying seconds of the second quarter boosted the Wizards to a 50-44 halftime edge. The Wizards scored 11 in a row during the quarter, wiping out a five-point deficit. Okafor capped the burst with a hook shot with 1:08 left for a 46-40 difference.
The Wizards scored eight straight in the early stages of the third quarter.
"I thought our help was a step slow," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We didn't react, we didn't get in or get out. It's a compilation of things. Other than the first quarter, I didn't think we played up to our capability."
The Wizards have won five in a row at home ... The Bulls won the first meeting, 87-77, on December 29th in Chicago. The two teams will meet again on April 2nd in Washington and April 17th in Chicago. This was Washington's second win in the last 10 meetings.