CHICAGO (AFP) - John Wall tallied 21 points and nine assists as the Washington Wizards won their fifth straight game in the Windy City with a 105-99 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
Paul Pierce finished with 22 points and six rebounds, while Bradley Beal added 17 points, six assists and five boards for the Wizards in the battle between the two Eastern Conference powerhouses. Derrick Rose had 32 points and five assists to lead Chicago, which has dropped four of its last five National Basketball Association games.
Washington gained control of Wednesday's contest by going on a 12-3 surge after a Taj Gibson dunk that capped an 8-2 burst for the Bulls midway through the fourth. That dunk allowed Chicago to get within one point, 83-82. Beal hit a jump shot, Wall made two free throws and Pierce finished off the run with a three-pointer for a 95-85 Washington lead with just over four minutes remaining in front of a crowd of 21,500 at the United Center arena. Chicago never got within fewer than six the rest of the contest.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said they had trouble containing veteran forward Pierce. "He's got great toughness and he's a great pro," Thibodeau said. "When you watch him work, it's pretty impressive. He's a great practice player. Plays big in big games.
"He's had a great career. He's a great leader."
Earlier, the Bulls led 32-26 at the end of the first quarter and 50-44 at halftime. The Wizards began the third with an 11-3 surge to take the lead. Pierce, who had seven points during the swing, concluded it with a three pointer for a 55-53 Washington lead.
Washington extended its lead to 76-69 after three quarters en route to winning their fifth game in their last six.
The Wizards knocked the Bulls out of the playoffs last season in just five games, winning three times at the United Center. On Tuesday, Washington ended a 17-game losing streak to the San Antonio Spurs with a 101-93 home victory.