(Reuters) - Washington’s Emeka Okafor dominated inside as the improving Wizards stunned the Chicago Bulls 86-73 to record their fifth straight home win on Saturday.
At 11-31 Washington have the second worst record in the NBA, ahead of only Charlotte (11-32), but turned the tables on joint Central Division leaders Chicago (26-17) behind Okafor’s 15 points and 16 rebounds.
It was the seventh win in 10 games for the Wizards, who started the season 0-12 and lost 28 of their first 32 games.
”We have just gotten better at our new recent style of play,“ Okafor told reporters. ”These last few past games we have been playing extremely good basketball both on the offensive end moving the ball and the defensive end moving around. ...
“We are the team that we thought we were supposed to be.”
Nene added 16 points and John Wall 15 for Washington.
Only reserve Nate Robinson finished in double figures for Chicago, collecting a game high 19 points.
The Wizards went on an 11-0 run late in the second quarter to establish a six-point halftime lead, before a 10-2 spurt to start the third put them firmly in command.
Chicago scored only 11 points in third, their lowest output in any quarter this season, and had more turnovers (six) than field goals (three) in the quarter.
Bulls center Joakim Noah narrowly missed a triple-double, collecting 17 rebounds and 10 assists and nine points.
“We got beat by a team that played harder than us,” Noah said. “They played really well and we played tired basketball. Our offense wasn’t as fluid.”
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford